On Feb. 24, 2011, the Women of Color Policy Network at NYU Wagner wrote a letter to Peter Costanza, Vice President and General Manager of Lamar Advertising New York, requesting removal of a SoHo billboard that the organization, and many others, found offensive. Mr. Costanza responded in an e-mail that the billboard would be taken down today. The Women of Color Policy Network at NYU Wagner (the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University) is one of several organizations that expressed concern about the billboard (at Sixth Avenue and Watts Street, lower Manhattan), which depicts an African-American girl with the tagline “The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in the Womb.” The sponsor of the ad is Life Always, a national pro-life organization.
"From welfare reform to single motherhood, images of Black women and girls have often been used to promote agendas and public policies that run counter to their agency and autonomy," said C. Nicole Mason, executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network, a research and policy institute. "We are pleased that Lamar Advertising responded to our letter and has confirmed that they will be removing the billboard today. The billboard is only one of the many attacks on reproductive freedom and services for low-income women across the country."
In the view of the Women of Color Policy Network, threats to access to the full range of reproductive health services for low-income women and communities are widespread, particularly in light of the proposed social spending cuts included in both the House and Presidential budget proposals. The Women of Color Policy Network has issued a policy brief about the potentially detrimental impact of the proposed social spending cuts. The institute has emphasized the need to invest in the economic security of women of color and their families, especially in times of economic distress. The brief can be accessed here.
The Women of Color Policy Network at NYU Wagner conducts original research and collects data on women and communities of color. Research generated at the Network is used to create informed public policies at local, state and national levels.