Renee Bracey Sherman is the Beyoncé of Abortion Storytelling. She’s a Chicago-born, midwest-raised activist, writer and reproductive justice activist committed to the visibility and representation of people who have had abortions in media and pop culture. She is among the most vital voices in the United States elevating the conversation about abortion experiences, and using creative and innovative strategies to shift the conversation centering people of color and other marginalized identities. Her work is so influential that the right wing website Twitchy recognizes her as “the queen of all abortions”.
She has trained hundreds of abortion storytellers in the United States and around the world, including elected officials. Their voices have been featured in articles, interviews, books, media, comics, events, and legislative testimony. Renee developed and designed a curriculum for storyteller support and training based on her extensive interviews with abortion storytellers. In 2014, she published the results and recommendations from these interviews in two 20-page guides, Saying Abortion Aloud, which are used and referenced across the reproductive health, rights, and justice field. In 2015, Renee partnered with media critic and author Anita Sarkeesian and anti-rape activist and author Jaclyn Friedman to co-author Speak Up & Stay Safe(r), a multilingual digital guide on handling online harassment.
Renee has written over one hundred articles for the New York Times, the Guardian, EBONY Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Salon, Broadly, Rewire.News, Huffington Post, Bustle, Glamour, and more. Her work has been cited in The Washington Post, The Nation, The Atlantic, and she is a go-to voice for comment by editors and journalists on race, gender, and health care. Her analyses of pop culture representations of abortion have been featured in Bitch, Al Jazeera America, and more.
Currently, Renee serves as the Senior Public Affairs Manager at the National Network of Abortion Funds where is the creator of We Testify, the only national and intersectional leadership program for people who’ve had abortions in the United States, created by and for people who’ve had abortions, centering race, class, and gender identity. There, she has mentored 45 We Testify storytellers through a year-long fellowship and their work has been featured in publications from The New York Times and CNN to NBC News and Teen Vogue.
Previously, Renee worked at the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that runs Wikipedia, and Gay-Straight Alliance Network. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and sociology from Northeastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in public administration from Cornell University, where she served as the communications chair of Women in Public Policy and the digital editor of the Cornell Policy Review.
Renee has received several awards for her work, including:
- Unstoppable Advocate Award, Planned Parenthood Metropolitan Washington, 2019
- Salute to Excellence Award by the National Association of Black Journalists, 2017
- National Women’s Health Network’s Activist Award, 2017
- Texas Equal Access Fund’s Spirit of Reproductive Justice Award, 2017
- Planned Parenthood’s 99 DreamKeepers, 2016
- Colorlines’ 16 Women of Color Who Made History, 2016
- Practical Support Volunteer of the Year by ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, 2014