Someone call Yelp! Planned Parenthood employees accuse organization of ‘racial harm’

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An internal investigation by Planned Parenthood officials discovered that the abortion provider’s black employees believe they are treated differently than white counterparts and say they have experienced racism and discriminatory practices.

The results of the internal probe were presented during a video conference of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s employee resource organization Network of Black Associates last week, Buzzfeed News reported Friday.

The findings were based on interviews with 64 current and 12 former black employees, the outlet reported.

Specifically, the employees told a contracted organization, the Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance (AORTA), that the way they believe they are treated does not align with Planned Parenthood’s stated mission of pursuing social justice.

The black employees told the group they frequently experienced incidents of racism and ‘anti-blackness’ from white counterparts, but when they reported them to human resources, there was “no meaningful consequence or accountability for racial harm,” according to one slide in last week’s presentation, Buzzfeed News added.

The employees also said they had been experiencing race-related problems for years but did not believe the abortion provider had done much to improve the situation.

“The urgency of this moment, the urgency of the reckoning that we’ve all known was coming … the deep urgency of what we need to do inside of [Planned Parenthood], stepping into leadership in this moment, I have never felt more urgent, and I’ve never actually felt more free,” said Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson, who is black, as the video meeting opened.

“And I want that feeling of freedom to give us all the covers to do the work that we need to do,” Johnson, who has only been in her position for four months, added.

The findings by AORTA align with a previous investigation Buzzfeed News published in August detailing racism and discrimination allegations at state affiliate chapters of Planned Parenthood. Such allegations have also been raised at NARAL Pro-Choice America, another pro-abortion group.

“Twenty-six sources at both organizations told BuzzFeed News at the time that they regularly faced racism at work and were belittled by their bosses, while their non-black colleagues were not, and felt they often had nowhere to turn for help with these issues,” the outlet reported.

Planned Parenthood provided Buzzfeed with “extensive information” regarding efforts to shore up pay equity and be more transparent, which included a number of internal audits and reviews to determine pay by race and gender.

Also, PPFA highlighted its recognition of staff unions in Miami and Washington, D.C., while referring the news outlet to information provided in August detailing a great deal of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” work the group has conducted in recent years.

“Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s leadership is committed to confronting the organization’s legacy of white supremacy head on, and the cultural assessment conducted by AORTA is an important component of the comprehensive and meaningful work we are undertaking to create belonging and equity,” wrote Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood’s head of communications and culture, in an email to the outlet.

“Leaking the cultural assessment findings is a breach of trust and of the intended safe space for black colleagues to be seen, heard, and understood. Holding leadership accountable publicly is welcome; but abusing the trust of colleagues is harmful to the culture change work that is underway,” she added.

The report on Planned Parenthood’s internal racism comes on the heels of an announcement by San Francisco-based Yelp, the popular app featuring crowd-sourced reviews of businesses, that the platform was adding a “racist behavior alert” to advise users of race-based complaints involving particular companies.

Several social media users tagged Yelp online and urged the platform to add the new alert to reviews of Planned Parenthood.

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Jon Dougherty

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