The Emerging Roles of Collective Care for Global Feminist Movements: What You Need To Know About the Urgent Action Funds New Report

The Urgent Action Funds, a consortium of four autonomous feminist funds (Urgent Action Fund-Africa, Urgent Action Fund Asia and Pacific, Urgent Action Fund Latin America and the Caribbean, and Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights), launched a report that provides insights on prioritizing collective care to mitigate risks and promote the well-being and sustainability of feminist movements.

“How Can We Ground Ourselves in Care and Dance Our Revolution?” contains interviews with 141 activists in 63 countries speaking on how they integrate care into their activism and work. The report also calls on funders to provide more resources to fund collective care practices among feminist movements, directly providing recommendations, and next steps from activists on the frontlines. The perspectives shared in our report offer a unique and diverse understanding of collective care, highlighting the experiences of women, trans, and non-binary feminist activists who have been historically marginalized within social justice movements worldwide.

We’ve asked those who compiled the research to provide a deeper understanding of the importance of collective care in the feminist space. 

Q: What was the impetus for creating this publication?

A: Luz Stella Ospina, Co-Executive Director of Strategic Finances and Institutional Strengthening
     Terry de Vries, Co-Executive Director for Resource Mobilization and Strategic Communications
     Urgent Action Fund Latin America and the Caribbean

This being a global investigation, “How Can We Ground Ourselves in Care and Dance Our Revolution” is the first collective investigation produced by the consortium of Urgent Action Sister Funds. 10 years after the publication of “What is the Point of Revolution if We Can’t Dance?”, this new research on care echoed to us. 

Our dear departed sister Tatiana Cordero Velázquez, the previous Executive Director of Urgent Action Fund Latin America and Caribbean, was the motivation for this report. With Tati’s guidance we created this report to explore- going beyond delivering funds to feminist activists through our rapid response grants, our political ethical commitment to care, the sustainability of activism through care, sharing daily care practices, the vulnerability and risk activists and movements face, and how we can advance collective care.

Q:What is the importance of collective care for activists mitigating and navigating risk in their work?

A: Jebli Shrestha, Enabling Defenders Facilitator
     Urgent Action Fund Asia & Pacific

“When an activist is attacked, finds themselves at risk, it is not just them who is at risk. What happens to them impacts their family, their community and everyone in the movement.”

The protection of activists means the collective protection of their community, without which there are no safe spaces for their activism to continue and survive. While a temporary protection mechanism can provide individualized support, survival of movements depends on collective safety and care. The culture of activism in our regions still does not prioritize self-care – there is an immense sense of guilt for taking care of yourself that comes from a celebrated heroism that is attributed to self-sacrifice.

Collectivizing caring of each of the members of the movement and the eco-system politicize “care” as an integral part of movements, helping shed away the associated guilt. This also creates spaces for conversation on what constitutes risk and its mitigation – protecting a person while defending their rights, their autonomy and agency. Civic spaces and safer spaces for defenders are rapidly decreasing in many countries in our regions. So it is critical to better resource and ensure the safety of activists as a collective act, fueled by collective care.

Q: What can donors and philanthropy do to continue funding collective care work?

A: Somer Nowak, Collective Care Officer
     Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights 

Not only are resources for feminist activists too scarce and difficult to access, but resources to fund care as a part of that activism is almost non-existent. Burnout is real, especially for those who are at risk, under threat, and working on life-threatening issues. Care, rest, promoting well-being is essential to sustaining activists and the movements.

In order to better support women, trans and non-binary activists to integrate care into their work, funders must:

  • Trust that grassroots feminist organizations know their local contexts best and how best to manage resources and achieve the best outcomes for their communities.
  • Continue to listen to movements with empathy, trust grantees’ expertise, and liberate resources toward what movements are asking for in their specific contexts rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach to collective care.
  • Provide flexible, core and multi-year support not only for movements to sustain their work long-term, but also to give feminist organizations the freedom and autonomy to center care, safety and wellbeing in their organizational culture, practices and policies, and as integral to their organizing and activism.
  • Continue to evaluate their own practices and funding mechanisms and consider how they might pose undue burden and stress on grantees.

By investing in these areas, donors and philanthropy can help to create a more sustainable and inclusive movement that is responsive to the needs of its members and is better equipped to bring about lasting social change.

Q:  What do the sister funds see as the future of collective care regarding our work and grantmaking?

A: Masa Amir, Knowledge Leadership Manager
     Urgent Action Fund-Africa

This complex work needs better-resourced movements with space to imagine necessary transformation and change. To the Urgent Action Sister Funds, the future of collective care in our work and grantmaking means rooting protection and care as well-being in action and centering care as a critical resource that addresses activists collective physical, mental, and emotional care needs. This is an enormous task, as it necessarily means creating a culture of trust that enables us to speak about what we are all bringing into our activism.

We know that isolated, burnt-out, sick activists whose collective experiences in activism spaces are characterized by conflict rarely implement measures that keep them secure.Centering collective care as a tool that addresses activists’ collective healing needs and support spaces where activists interrogate the collective traumas that are brought into activism spaces and what healing these wounds would look like.

The launch of this collective care research is an important milestone for feminist activism and social justice movements worldwide. Speaking about the importance of care practices in activism is relatively new, and we hope will be adopted by even more funders, activists and partners in the space as a result of this publication.

Download and share the full version of “How Can We Ground Ourselves in Care and Dance Our Revolution?”

Urgent Action: Supporting the Victims of Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

On February 6, 2023, a series of violent earthquakes struck southern and central Turkey and northern and western Syria. At the time of writing, more than 36,000 people have died, and over 3,000 buildings have collapsed. It’s hard to estimate how many more people are buried underneath the rubble. 

Here at UAF we stand in solidarity with all those affected by the earthquakes and call for conscious and equitable funding without bias or discrimination. In Turkey, LGBTQ folks are scared to go to general shelters in fear of being harassed. Syrians and Kurds are also being thrown out of camps solely because of their nationalities or identities. In Syria, international rescue teams and aid have been blocked as a result of sanctions and the Syrian government’s inhumane decisions, leaving only local civilian-led initiatives leading rescue groups or providing shelter and basic needs for victims. Women and LGBTQ+ needs have also been deprioritized in the face of the general humanitarian needs, rendering access to reproductive health services or specific support to women and LGBTQ communities extremely low. 

Urgent Action Fund has been working with our networks in the region to quickly get resources to those in need. Below are a few of the grants we’ve made in recent days to support those on the ground. 

Support for the LGBTQI+ Community

The earthquakes in Turkey and Syria particularly affected regions inhabited by millions of minority groups, including LGBTQI+ communities, and government rescue and aid has been sparse and delayed. So far, we have supported at least four organizations that work with LGBTQI+ communities in the affected regions who are still awaiting rescue or cannot easily access medical care or family support because of LGBTQI+ phobia. Funds will be used to support affected LGBTQI+ activists with relocation, housing, medical treatments, and psychosocial support.

Emergency Support for Feminist Media Advocates

We have also been able to support an organization that utilizes media as a tool for feminist social change and supports women human rights defenders and journalists within the media sector. After the earthquake disaster in Turkey and Syria, their community and team in northwest Syria and southern Turkey are in urgent need of emergency support. Funds will be used for housing, clothing, food, and medical support.

We are in touch with many more groups who are on the margins and who are still requiring support. 

For those who would like to make a donation to help those impacted by the earthquakes, please consider checking out this list, and/or giving to the following campaigns:



If you would like to support UAF’s ability to respond to crises, such as this one in Turkey and Syria, please consider making a donation to our Crisis Response Fund. This Fund allows us to provide flexible grants to activists to meet humanitarian, collective care, or survival needs outside of our traditional Rapid Response Grants model. It also enables us to provide peer and network funding support to in-country and regional hubs that can further support feminist activists groups, particularly those from and advocating for marginalized communities.

Why We’re Acting Now to Support Feminist Activism and Grassroots Organizing in the United States

Since 2016, the political conditions in the United States have become overwhelmingly violent and oppressive. The altrightwing and fascism has become increasingly organized and emboldened. The need for rapid-response grantmaking to support and protect feminist activists who are fighting for radical systems change continues to grow, and Urgent Action Fund (UAF) is stepping up to listen and support our grantee partners across the country.

From 2019 on, UAF’s grantmaking in the US has increased exponentially. As we continue to follow the leadership of our grantee partners and national network of feminist movement advisors, UAF understands that movements are at a critical juncture in the US and are reaching a tipping point in their fight to wield people power. 

Across the country, people are experiencing the effects of climate change and relevant consequences, threats to democracy, and violations of basic human rights. Black and LGBTQI activists are under constant threat to their safety because of their activism. Historically marginalized Indigenous activists are tirelessly advocating to protect their land from climate change and heal from intergenerational trauma. The erosion of democracy is stripping away bodily autonomy, the right to an abortion, the right to privacy, and feminist activists fear that access to contraception, marriage equality and many others rights will be challenged next.

Our vision is for feminist leadership and activism to be at the forefront of this moment, leading the charge around finding and implementing effective solutions, and also for women, trans, and gender expansive activists to be protected, sustained, and amplified in their transformative organizing. 

UAF is continuing to mobilize even more resources to grassroots, frontline feminist movements that are not only advocating for strategic, holistic solutions, but are deepening the infrastructure for a more just world in which both people and the planet can thrive. 

With our investment in feminist movements in the US, our grantees can:

  • Protect democracy: Movements and grassroots activists are fighting violent and organized efforts to pull back the freedoms and rights that are claimed as the bedrock of the United States. Women, trans, and gender expansive organizers and activists are leaders best positioned to develop alternative participatory governance models and apply their lived experiences to not only resist and protect democratic institutions, but also to guide communities towards self-determination, collective care infrastructures, and localized policies that restore and invest in people and planet rather than profit and bureaucracy.
  • Strengthen Ecosystems of Care: Feminist activists are strengthening movement resilience by creating ecosystems of care, healing, and interdependent communities to protect and sustain each other and our planet. Their activism is ushering us into imaginative and promising possibilities around how we build containers for healing, community & collective care practices, shift where power lies, and develop mechanisms to comprehensively and systemically address climate change for the future of our planet.
  • Amplify and Sustain Black and Indigenous Leadership: Indigenous sovereignty and Black liberation is central and foundational to our collective freedom. Across the US, Black & Indigenous women, trans, and gender expansive-led movement organizations and activists are fighting shoulder to shoulder against white supremacy, racial capitalism, and settler colonialism. Through their leadership, Black and Indigenous leaders are mobilizing resources from oppressive systems and also redistributing wealth as a vehicle for reparations and restorative justice. 

We have hope for a brighter future, one in which the rights of all are honored, and respected, and where the United States as a whole is more equal and just. Grassroots movements have the power to drive change from the bottom up, and here at UAF, we believe in investing in these instrumental solutions.

Support our work funding feminist movements in the US. 

Three Ways Funders Can Act Today to Protect Reproductive Rights

Today, the United States Supreme Court reversed Roe v Wade, a decision that protected the right of millions of people across the country to an abortion without government interference. Today’s decision changes that, and now people across the country find their reproductive rights further restricted and access to abortions considerably limited.

This decision has serious consequences for reproductive rights and women’s human rights, as well as potential repercussions for precedents and ongoing legal battles concerning marriage equality, birth control access, transgender rights, and other civil rights in the United States.

Activists across the country have long been doing the work to protect reproductive freedom for communities, including, but not limited to, abortion care. Now they continue to step up, ready to support abortion funds and fight for reproductive justice. But sustainable, ongoing help is needed, especially from philanthropists. 

More funding is needed to support those on the front lines, help people get abortions, and sustain the battles within states, at the local level (cities and counties), and at the federal level to reinstate and protect pro-choice abortion laws.

At Urgent Action Fund, we’ll be continuing our work providing grants to abortion funds and organizations focused on mobilizing activists, helping people get the support and abortion care they need safely, and pursue legal action. 

Here are three ways other funders can step up now for a pro-choice future:

  1. Increase funding for direct action and power building on the ground. More money is needed for efforts focused on reproductive rights. Abortion funds will need long-term financial support to ensure their ability to help those in need access safe abortion care. There is also the need for resources given to pro-choice people in political leadership as well as resourcing activists fighting for legislative change within states. More money will help people control their reproductive futures and fight for the justice they deserve.
  2. Move quickly in terms of getting resources into the right hands. The time to get money into the hands of reproductive justice activists is now. Traditional philanthropy is a time-consuming process, filled with bureaucracy and red tape. Now is the time for funders to practice a trust-based approach, moving money more quickly to those in need. At Urgent Action Fund (UAF), our rapid response grantmaking approach is essential in moments such as this one, getting funds to feminist organizations quickly, while allowing for the flexibility and urgency needed in crucial moments.
  3. Listen to the needs of the activists and provide no-strings attached support. The time is now for a trust-based approach. Funders need to trust grantees, recognizing that the activists themselves are working in real time and need the trust from funders to implement the best possible solutions to the issues at hand. Pro-choice activists and abortion funds are operating in a time of risk, and something we at UAF have learned in our 25 years of work is that risk and trust go hand and hand. To respond and take necessary risks during a time of urgency, funders need to trust their grantees, and provide unrestricted funding, giving grassroots organizations the autonomy to pivot and move as they need in response to what will likely be a lengthy fight.

This summer and for the foreseeable future, we at UAF will be making opportunity grants to help organizations mobilize to fight for new legislation to replace Roe, as well as supporting reproductive justice organizations to provide necessary abortion care safely to those in need. We invite other funders to join us, providing essential resources quickly and with few strings attached, getting funding to those seeking reproductive rights and justice for millions.

The Potential Consequences of Overturning Roe v Wade

And How to Act Now to Protect Reproductive Rights

It’s May 2022, almost 50 years after the landmark Roe v Wade decision went into effect. This landmark decision was made to protect a person’s right to an abortion without government restriction or interference.

And now that right to choose is under threat. This summer, the United States Supreme Court is set to make a new decision on whether to overturn Roe v Wade. If the decision is overturned, millions of women, trans men, and non-binary persons in more than half of the US states will lose the right to an abortion or have that access majorly rolled back. The change will have ripple effects for reproductive rights across the globe. 

Here at Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, we protect, strengthen, and sustain women and transgender human rights defenders at critical moments. We intervene quickly when activists are poised to make great gains or face serious threats to their lives and work. And right now, we’re paying attention.

If Roe v Wade is overturned, 26 states have laws indicating that they intend to ban abortion and 13 more states have trigger bans, meaning that abortion will immediately be illegal if Roe is no longer in effect. 

Beyond the threat to abortion rights, the overturning of Roe v Wade has serious implications and potential consequences for other feminist causes, including birth control, gay marriage, transgender rights, and the safety and security of LGBTQ and feminist activists. These are rights that we aim to protect through our rapid response grantmaking at UAF, in the US and worldwide. This pending decision has the potential to make our work more urgent and necessary than ever before.

Today, Roe v Wade has yet to be overturned, meaning that there is still time to act. 

At UAF, we fund and support many reproductive justice organizations, the organizations that help abortion seekers in times of need, raise awareness around legal policies, and mobilize women, trans men, and non-binary persons to protect their reproductive rights. We will continue to support these abortion funds and reproductive justice organizations today – and when and if Roe is overturned. We ask for you to join us, as the time is now to help these organizations build out their infrastructure and prepare for the worst.

Looking to help? Here’s where to make a donation:

  • Donate and volunteer with local abortion funds who will continue to provide practical and logistical support to folks seeking abortion care:
  • Donate to independent abortion providers who are continuing to provide abortion services in the most restrictive states and regions throughout the country:
  • The consequences of this SCOTUS decision will have the most devastating impact on Black women, indigenous women, transgender men, and gender-expansive folks based in the US South and Midwest. Here’s where to give to support those in these regions: 
  1. Access Reproductive Care Southeast: 
  2. Yellowhammer Fund: (previous grantee partner) 
  3. Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund: (previous grantee partner) 
  4. Texas Equal Access Fund: (previous grantee partner) 
  5. West Fund: 
  6. Indigenous Women Rising:
  7. New Orleans Abortion Fund: (previous grantee partner) 
  8. Midwest Access Coalition: 

Over $3 Million Awarded to Feminist Activists in Ukraine

Since the war broke out in Ukraine in February 2022, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights has quickly responded, awarding rapid response grants to feminist activists in need. We have awarded over $3 million in urgent response funding, and made over 130 grants in 15 countries. 

These grants, while serving as just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the help and support needed in Ukraine, have made a difference in the lives of thousands living through a devastating and overwhelming period of conflict. 

Read on for a small sampling of the grants we’ve made to organizations acting now. 

Providing Emergency Shelter

Using a $12,000 grant an organization will set up an emergency shelter for Ukrainian refugees. Since the Russian invasion much of the country has been internally and externally displaced. More and more refugees come to border towns to seek refuge. The group plans to purchase and run an emergency shelter to house incoming women and children. The funds will cover the purchase of the shelter, transportation and renovation costs, as well as furniture purchases.

Evacuation and Relocation

With $8,000 an organization will help a group of refugees with disabilities evacuate and relocate to Germany. The organization plans to support them with evacuation, relocation set up in Germany, and temporary living assistance. The funds will cover transportation, living accommodations and budgetary gaps in the group’s efforts to settle the refugees in Germany.

Addressing Sexual Violence and Abuse

$10,000 was awarded to an organization working with victims of sexual abuse by Russian soldiers. Since the cases of rape grow daily, additional funding is necessary to bring in psychologists and arrange accommodations for clients with special needs. The funds will cover psychological rehabilitation, relocation, and travel expenses.

Keeping Media and Businesses Afloat

A Ukrainian feminist media outlet will use $9,000 to continue its work. Due to the Russian invasion, the outlet, which was dependent on the sale of advertisements for income, lost reliable revenue. The funds will cover operational costs, living expenses, mental counseling, and safety planning.

Humanitarian Aid

A grant of $3,000 will support an organization to provide humanitarian aid to Ukrainian women and children displaced by the war, as well as those who don’t have access to food, medicine, and basic necessities. The funds will cover expenses for psychosocial support, medical kits, hygiene care, food, and other basic needs.

As the war continues, our grantmaking will as well. Here’s a list of frequently asked questions and answers for those seeking a grant during these trying times. Our grantmaking strategy will also continue beyond the current moment, offering ongoing support to help feminist activists in Ukraine respond, rebuild, and reimagine throughout and after this war. To make a donation and support our ongoing efforts, click here.

The Feminist Innovation Fund: Resourcing Climate Justice through a Feminist Lens

In 2021, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights piloted a new funding initiative, the Feminist Innovation Fund. This past year, the Fund’s main focus was to resource feminist movements across regions to pilot intersectional projects highlighting gender and climate justice, focusing on the growing of feminist movements and bringing marginalized voices (including women, LGBTQI communities, persons with disabilities) into the climate conversation.

The impetus for this funding was the fact that resources and support for women-led climate work has historically been very siloed, with funders supporting women’s rights work and climate work separately, but with very little money going to the intersection of those two issues. In general, funders haven’t seen climate as a feminist issue, when in reality, women are uniquely impacted by climate change and are essential in identifying and implementing solutions that benefit all people on earth.

In the first year of the Feminist Innovation Fund, we received 100 applications, and made 24 grants, awarding $448,000 in 17 countries. 14 of the grants were awarded to groups who had never before received a grant from UAF, while 10 went to repeat partners. 16 of the organizations were less than 5 years old, and 15 of the organizations had budgets below $50,000. The majority of grants supported Indigenous women, girls, and rural women, helping with movement building, convenings and trainings, and activism around natural disasters, land grabbing, and challenging government policies. 

Notably, the grants were made with an intersectional approach, connecting the rights of sex workers, persons with disabilities, Indigenous communities, and feminist movements with climate justice. 

Below are two examples of grants made through the Feminist Innovation Fund:

Spreading Seeds for Growth in Palestine

The Palestine Heirloom Seed Library used a grant from UAF to purchase land in Palestine and plant heirloom and traditional seeds, keeping the crops safe from occupation. Part of the Fertile Crescent, Palestine has been considered one of the world’s centers of diversity, particularly for wheat and barley. This biodiversity is being threatened by policies that target farmers and force them to give up their heirloom seeds and adopt new varieties. The group seeks to preserve and promote heritage and threatened seed varieties, traditional Palestinian farming practices, and the cultural stories and identities associated with them

Reimagining the Medical Industrial Complex on Behalf of Climate

Grantee partner Health Justice Commons used a grant from UAF to run a political education series exposing the connection between the medical industrial complex and corporate polluters. The current medical industrial complex profits from widespread disease, environmental destruction, and racism, as many areas seriously affected by pollution directly impact communities of color. Health Justice Commons works at the intersections of disability, racial, gender, and climate aiming to re-imagine and redesign the medical industrial complex in the United States. 

UAF will be doing another round of grantmaking through the Feminist Innovation Fund. Stay tuned for updates!

Urgent Action: Our Response to Support Feminist Activists in Ukraine

When Russia invaded Ukraine just a few weeks ago – on February 24, 2022 – it was the start of a war with serious implications for Ukraine, women and gender rights activists, and the world as a whole. 

Since the invasion, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights (UAF) has received an outpouring of support for our Urgent Response Fund to help get resources into the hands of women and LGBTQI activists in Ukraine. As of April 12, we’ve already made 30 rapid response grants to organizations in Ukraine, with numerous more grants in the pipeline. We anticipate that we’ll receive 200 requests for assistance in the next 2-3 months, and more as the war continues on. 

Our model of rapid response funding was built for moments like this, where quick infusions of funding can help address immediate and urgent needs. UAF is committed to flexibility and responsiveness in this moment, listening to and learning from all of our partners and advisors in Ukraine and the surrounding areas in Eastern Europe. 

The situation in Ukraine changes day to day, especially for women and those in the LGBTQI community. Men have been forbidden to leave Ukraine, and many women are having to make the extremely difficult decision of evacuating the country or keeping their families together. Today, the majority of refugees are women and children. Transgender people are being turned away from shelters in other countries, and those in the LGBTQI community face new risks and challenges because of the conflict.

The current situation is an extension of a long history of conflict in the region which has limited the ability of feminist activists in Ukraine to have their voices heard for years. Now with the crisis of the Russian invasion of Ukraine – the safety and security of our advisors, activists, and organizational partners are under dire and critical threats. 

Women, trans, and nonbinary activists are at the forefront of community care and engagement. In times of war, women especially bear the responsibility of maintaining collective safety for their families and communities. UAF is committed to keeping frontline feminist activists safe, centered, and resourced to lead movements. In this moment, that means providing them with resources that provide for their holistic wellbeing and survival. 

As the conflict expands, all activists in Ukraine are at risk of acts of intimidation and reprisals by law enforcement and military forces from both Russian and Ukrainian authorities. In all cases, we recognize that incidences of gender-based violence escalate in periods of conflict. We know that the war will cast a long shadow and that post-war recovery will be difficult and long. We commit to meeting the current and immediate needs of activists now, while also supporting mechanisms to ensure that women, trans, and nonbinary activists will be centered during future peacebuilding and rebuilding efforts. 

We are gravely concerned about the current situation that is endangering the safety of all Ukrainians and particularly the rights of women, girls, gender nonconforming, and LGBTQI people, Roma communities, migrants, Black and other people of color, people with disabilities, people living with HIV, people dependent on harm reduction services, and other structurally marginalized groups facing heightened discrimination in this crisis.

We are seeking to meet the escalating needs of evacuations and are looking toward the next phase of response – partnering and working with activists in bordering countries as activists seek refuge and position themselves within those countries. 

UAF is committed to responding to requests and providing assistance around the following:

  • Support with emergency evacuations and relocations
  • Legal, financial, and medical training
  • Security and disaster survival training
  • Increasing shelter capacities for children, women, and all other civilians
  • Access to alternative communication channels, mobile internet, power banks, VPNs, proxy, spare phones, and tablets

Please continue to stand with us and with those in Ukraine. Donations can be made here.

Urgent Action Alert: Kazakhstan

As many in our community may have seen across several news & media reports – the situation in Kazakhstan has escalated to a deeply concerning level of violence. Stun grenades, water cannons, and tear gas have been deployed against protestors – killing dozens and severely injuring thousands. We are actively monitoring and wholly reject the use of misinformation and propaganda attempting to create false narratives about the necessity of these actions by Kazakh authorities supported by a Russia-led military alliance of so-called “peacekeepers.”

UAF is committed to amplifying the voices of our feminist movement partners in Kazakhstan – human rights defenders, journalists, and feminist activists who continue fighting for their basic human rights, engaging in peaceful protests, supporting vulnerable communities that are being harmed by state violence, and documenting these violations under threat of persecution and harm.

Our partners in the region have reported the following disturbing developments:

  • Unwarranted killing of civilians
  • Targeted attacks of activists (the majority of which are engaging in peaceful protests)
  • Mass arbitrary arrests to deter further demonstrations
  • Periodically shutting down access to the internet and messaging platforms – in an attempt to control the information that the people of Kazakhstan receive and send

We must hold to account the longstanding repression of basic human rights by the Kazak government and authoritarian policies and political system of the state – including its intolerance of dissent, repression on media freedoms, and persecution of activists and human rights defenders and proponents. Endemic corruption and years of increasing economic inequities remain at the root of what activists and human rights defenders are fighting against – and the government’s narratives that try to cast blame otherwise should be fully rejected.

On our part, UAF will continue to provide flexible and rapid resources and facilitate advocacy actions. More than that – we will continue to listen to our partners in the region in trust and partnership.

In the coming days, it is crucial for the international community and philanthropic institutions to act in solidarity with the people of Kazakhstan and frontline activists demanding change, seeking accountability of their government, and fighting for their stories and voices to not be shut down. We ask that you join us in amplifying their stories and sharing them across your networks. Do not let their stories be censored by regimes that continue to violate the basic human rights deserved by all people.

Supporting Reproductive Freedom Post-SB8 in Texas

The passage of Senate Bill 8 (SB8) in Texas went into effect on September 1 and is one of the most restrictive laws at the state level to chip away at Roe vs. Wade. SB8 makes it illegal to have an abortion after six weeks, a period where most individuals who are pregnant may not know they are expecting a child. This law does not allow exemptions in circumstances involving rape, sexual abuse, incest, or a high-risk birth defect. It further criminalizes anyone who performs, assists, aid, or abets in abortion and abortion care and support. SB8 also allows private citizens to report and get a reward for turning in those who do seek an abortion.

Women-led organizations have been leading efforts to oppose anti-abortion bills and any policy efforts introduced in the state legislature as well as in municipalities that curtail access to abortion care. Abortion funds, abortion providers, and grassroots-led organizations are working both in and out-of-state to ensure that women, girls, trans, and gender non-conforming individuals have access to safe abortion care and support.

UAF quickly responded to several women-led organizations in the face of SB8 through rapid response grants like:

  • The Texas Equal Access Fund (TEA Fund) is strategizing ways to combat these new measures with their allies, supporters, and partners both in and out-of-state through in-person testimonies and call-ins via phone.
  • Deeds Not Words, a group led by young women and women of color, is working to increase their online advocacy and campaign efforts to ensure that young people’s testimonies are recorded and sent to legislators so they have these testimonies to inform their decision-making.
  • Jane’s Due Process, is engaging youth who are impacted by the SB8 law along with raising awareness and shifting public and policymaker’s sentiments around the impacts of the Texas six-week abortion ban.

Through our rapid response grants, UAF supported these and other organizations to conduct advocacy, public campaigns, increase youth engagement, shift narratives, coordinate efforts across states to ensure access to safe abortions, challenge the constitutionality of SB8, and educate the public about the negative effects of this law. The grants also helped to support activists’ safety and security needs, as they are now vulnerable to criminalization under SB8.

Not only does SB8 endanger women and girls’ reproductive health and freedom in Texas, but it has already been replicated in Florida, and ten other states plan to introduce similar bills, including “Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America. (CNN)” These are blatant attempts at the state level to curtail the iconic Roe vs. Wade precedent-setting decision.

While the Supreme Court upheld this law, the Department of Justice stepped in to sue Texas over SB8 stating that it overstepped the Roe vs. Wade legal decision to protect an individual’s decision to seek and have abortions prior to viability, which is commonly around 24 weeks. It also challenges SB8 of evading judicial review and allowing private citizens to report those who aid in abortion access.

Women-led reproductive rights organizations have tirelessly defended and upheld abortion access in a state that introduced seven anti-abortion bills in the first quarter of 2021. UAF’s rapid response grants enabled reproductive justice and freedom grassroots movement to respond to this critical period to educate the public, defend reproductive justice and rights, and loudly oppose SB8.

Media and celebrity attention to SB8, one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the US, has further raised awareness and shifted public attention around the need to support. But, attention to the ill-impacts of this bill should be contributed to the work of women’s organizations and movement leaders who have played a key role to help highlight and shift this attention to center on the needs, voices, stories, and experiences of women and girls who are directly impacted by SB8.