Point-for-Point Rebuttal: Scientific American Criticism of No Wedding No Womb

Point-for-Point Rebuttal: Scientific American Criticism of No Wedding No Womb

My definitive position.

Author : Christelyn Karazin

Author's Website | Articles from

Christelyn is married with four children.

First off, I must be clear. I am not a scientist. My mathematical skills are remedial and I think the part of my brain that holds spacial skills is atrophied.  So when I give this rebuttal, it comes not  from a “hard science” position, but from a real, live person, who has gone through the difficulties of raising a child without a partner.

Ms. Danielle Lee wrote two very critical posts in the Scientific American about “No Wedding No Womb,” and I couldn’t help but notice that some people on Twitter were high-fiving the author out of spite against me.

I have a problem with people cutting off their noses and shooting themselves in the feet, so I’m going to offer the answers Ms. Lee posed about NWNW point for point so I am clear, and therefore, my words as the reluctant, default leader. (As an aside, it’s very difficult for me to own that title, and frankly, I don’t want it. When people think you are the leader, then you can’t fail. You can’t be human, you can’t err.)

But I am forced into it, despite my best efforts to make this collaborative, to be the figurehead. But I must warn you, this “figurehead” has warts, blackheads, cellulite,  stinky poop and makes a lot of typos. Take it, or leave it. If you need a messiah, you’ll have longer to wait or you’ve missed your chance, depending on whom you ask.

But for those with legit questions or concerns, let me offer a definitive response. After reading this, I hope you understand the difficulty trying to explain this on Twitter, Ms. Lee. I apologize if you are offended that I shut down the tweets, but I’ve always listed a contact number, and was open to a call, or email, which I never got.

Now to address Ms. Lee’s concerns which she published on September 23, 2011:

1. Message Clarity

The logo:

Clearly, there are two people conjoined, with wedding rings in the center (or the womb), if you will. Look more closely and you might see a smiling baby.

Based on the name and logo, Ms. Lee has forced me to pick a side and go outright as say that I believe marriage is the ideal situation in which to raise children.

There. I said it. And I believe it. That is my position, and I’m sticking to it. And if you want hard data, you only need link here, here, and here. Recent Census data also supports this, and most single parents–both fathers and mothers–are much higher than those parents who are married. Poverty is not an ideal situation for a child, I think we can all agree on that.

I may not be good in math, but even I know that 1+1=2.

Dual incomes, dual responsibilities, dual attention and consideration make for better outcomes for our children, the data support it, and I think further argument of that point is not only futile and moot, but downright disingenuous.

That said, marriage is not going to work for everyone. That’s where we get into a shade of gray: because while marriage is a societal norm, having children is a biological function, and pretty much everyone is capable of contributing to the creation of a fetus, who will one day become a live, human being.

But does that absolve disjointed parents from the responsibility of raising their children in the most optimal environment possible? Absolutely not. Shared responsibility, shared commitment, THUS, the rings. Rings symbolize marriage of course–no one is denying that. But a circle represents infinity–two rings, joined forever, committed.  If not to one another and the child, AT LEAST to the child.  Follow?

Ms. Lee also brings up how many Scandinavian countries are raising children successfully unmarried.  What she doesn’t say is, to have multiple children by multiple people out-of-wedlock is a shameful scandal in Europe, with harsh social consequences. Those parents may not marry, but they stick around to raise their children.  Not just for the first five years, in and out, but for the full stretch. These small, mostly heterogeneous  European countries also has a cradle-to-grave social programs that the U.S. does not have, and will not have any time in the foreseeable  future. Apples to zucchini.  You just can’t compare them.

2. The Question of Depth

Ms. Lee said “I don’t buy your resolution that the high out of wedlock (OOW)  birthrate is necessarily a problem,” and points to the Scandinavian model, which I address in the above paragraph. I think at this point, we should all agree that a 73% out-of-wedlock rate for black people IS NOT HELPFUL NOT CONDUCIVE TO OUR SUCCESS AND FUNCTIONING.

Don’t give me exceptions to the rule.

They only prove the rule.

3. A Question of Breadth

Ms. Lee:

I just don’t see the campaign really addressing the whole range of the issues, at least clearly. What are the expressed objectives? What are the plans or ideas on the table to bring those ideas into fruition?  You/the website don’t really put all possible solutions on the table and treat them equally or prioritize or vet them in any way.

You know what? We DON’T NOR CAN’T ADDRESS A WHOLE RANGE OF ISSUES. Even Washington can’t do that–how would you expect a confederation of stay-at-home and working moms and dads to do all this on their own time, with little-to-no financial resources? We are doing the best we can, on our OWN TIME, because WE CARE.

Our objectives:




and last but not least,


I am not a miracle worker nor do I possess any magic to make this come to be on my own volition. I only have the passion and desire. I have no PhD, no science or sociology degree, to “qualify” myself as an expert. But again, 1+1…

The following is our Strategic Plan, a general overview of our goals and methods, with the exception of the Map Your Future Campaign. If there is a question after reading the plan, I can categorically answer “I don’t know” before anyone every…ehr..EVEN asks.



1)    Preparation for planning - Our plan for strategizing

The advisory board of No Wedding, No Womb!™, will meet once every other month via conference call to discuss the movement, program goals and objectives and progress.   Our board consists of the individuals listed below:

Christelyn Karazin, Founder, Executive Director

Christelyn D. Karazin is the founder and organizer of No Wedding, No Womb!™  (NWNW) an online initiative to address and find solutions for the 72 percent out-of-wedlock birthrate in the African American community. Her campaign to rally 100+ bloggers to speak out in tandem went viral (www.noweddingnowomb.com), and the #NWNW Twitter hashtag is one of the highest trending topics of African American interest, with an astounding 100,000 tweets on the launch date, September 22, 2010. NWNW has been covered on NPR, Essence magazine, the San Francisco Examiner, the Washington Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, Yahoo! News, MSNBC.com, The Root, Clutch magazine, The Huffington Post, ABCnews.com, the Boston Globe, CNBC.com, The Grio, the Michael Eric Dyson Show, the Associated Press, and many other radio, popular blogs, and online and print publications.

Karazin founded No Wedding No Womb!™ to spark and inspire young people into a cultural reversal of the normalcy of out-of-wedlock procreation in the minority community.  This fight for change is also quite personal—her oldest child is a product of an out-of-wedlock situation, and she has seen first hand the negative effects it has had on her daughter.

She is currently under contract with Simon & Schuster for her upcoming book, Swirling: How to Date, Mate & Relate, Mixing Race, Culture and Creed with co-author and journalist, Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn. She also runs a very popular blog, Beyond Black & White created for women who are interested and/or involved in interracial and intercultural relationships.

Karazin has been a health, lifestyle, business and education writer for such high-profile publications as Woman’s Day, Better Homes & Gardens, Ebony/Jet.com, Pregnancy Magazine, Reuters News Service and many more, and is an active member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Prior to magazine writing, she was a public relations professional who specialized in consumer and legal public relations and media relations.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, cum laude, from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.

Lyn Twyman, Strategist and Consultant

Lyn is an activist, the founder of Courage Network, an online community for domestic violence advocacy, and a non-profit consultant.  Lyn grew up watching all forms of abuse in the lives of her parents.  She was victimized as a child by a psychologically abusive father who caused years of separation from her mother, an Asian immigrant who was pressured to marry an African-American that she had never met.  Lyn identified that the number one reason why abuse was the dominating factor in the marriage of her parents, and what later caused her victimization by her father, was caused by the unhealthy relationship of her parents.  Her parents knew little about each other prior to getting married and continued being a part of a relationship with abuse for several years.

Therefore, as the strategist for No Wedding, No Womb!™, she realizes that an emphasis on the meaning of healthy relationships is very important when addressing the cause of out-of-wedlock births (OOW), marriage and child bearing with our young people and families looking to make an impact with their young people.  She has also witnessed many African-American family members and friends bear children, especially teenage and young single parents, with little resources to provide for those children in a nurturing, loving ways.  She has witnessed the generational emotional, physical and financial pain that comes from these kinds of environments for both children and parents.

Lyn has also been a featured guest on several media outlets including WPFW Pacifica Radio, Susan Murphy Milano’s Blog Talk Radio and WNAA FM with Host Busta Brown speaking on domestic violence and how it affects the family.  She is also a regular contributor to the Time’s Up Blogspot and has been the keynote and panel speaker for several events.

Aside from activism, Lyn is a literary consultant and entertainment producer.  She has worked on several independent projects and is currently teamed with two award winning directors producing both a feature film and a civil rights documentary.  Prior to her work as a consultant, she spent several years working in the private sector, State and Federal government.  She resides with her family in Maryland.

Elizabeth Marquardt, NWNW Advisory Board

Elizabeth Marquardt is editor of FamilyScholars.org, where she also blogs. She is vice president for family studies and director of the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values.

Marquardt is the co-investigator most recently of My Daddy’s Name is Donor, which examines the identity and kinship experiences of adults conceived through sperm donation and is based on a new representative sample. The study was the subject of reporting and commentary in the publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Slate, and abroad in outlets including Le Monde and the Irish Times. Marquardt is author of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce (Crown, 2005). Based on the first nationally-representative study of grown children of divorce in the U.S., she argues that while an amicable divorce is better than a bitter one, even amicable divorces profoundly shape the inner lives of children. She is also co-principal investigator of a national study, Hooking Up, Hanging Out, and Hoping for Mr. Right: College Women on Dating and Mating Today.

Marquardt has appeared often on NBC’s Today Show as well as on broadcast news programs on CNN, ABC, FOX, CBS, and PBS and scores of radio programs including BBC World News and national and local NPR stations. Her writings have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Slate, and elsewhere. She is a frequent presenter to academic and professional groups in the U.S. and internationally and her work has been covered widely.

She holds a Master’s in Divinity and an M.A. in international relations from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in history and women’s studies from Wake Forest University.

Lorraine Spencer

Sophia A. Nelson, NWNW Advisory Board

Sophia A. Nelson is an accomplished woman on the move. She is a much sought after speaker, media/political commentator, national columnist and first time author who is “redefining” the rules for 21st  Century living and success.

As one of only a handful of African American female national opinion writers and political/cultural pundits, Sophia contributes to The Washington Post, CNN Opinion, TheGrio.com, TheRoot.com, NPR, and is featured regularly on all of the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) as well as Cable outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and BET.

Sophia speaks on topics ranging from workplace retention and advancement strategies for women of color, to relationships, health & wellness, spirituality, and career transformation. She is a former United States House of Representatives Committee Counsel, and a Defense Industry Lobbyist with the “top 25” nationally ranked law firm of Holland & Knight LLP. She is admitted to practice as an Attorney in New Jersey & Washington, D.C. and before the United States Supreme Court. She began her legal career in 1994 as a State Regulatory Counsel & Business Advisor to New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ).

Prior to establishing SAN Enterprises LLC (a Communications & Lobbying firm), Sophia served in several senior and executive positions within the government and corporate sector. Among her industry accomplishments, Sophia served as a Director of Congressional & Public Affairs at the United States Chamber of Commerce, as an Associate at the law firm of Horn Goldberg Gorny Daniels Plackter & Weiss, and as President & CEO of ALN Consulting, Inc. which she merged into a new practice group at Holland & Knight LLP focused on developing MBEs, WBEs and Emerging Market IT & Defense companies.

Finally, Sophia is the founder and current Chairman of the Board of iask, Inc. (formerly I Am My Sister’s Keeper, Inc.) an organization dedicated to the relational, emotional, spiritual, career, and health of professional black women. Sophia is considered an “up and coming person to watch” in media and is a featured speaker with Leading Authorities Speaking Bureau and Society of Industry Leaders. Sophia earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science (Minor in Africana Studies) from San Diego State University (the largest campus of the California State University system) in 1990. She earned her Juris Doctorate Degree from American University-Washington College of Law (after transferring from Washington & Lee University-Law School in 1992) in 1994.

Sophia is single & resides in Loudoun County Virginia. Her first book Black Woman Redefined examines the inner lives of accomplished black women and will be published in 2011. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Xi Omega Graduate Chapter).

Speech Thomas, Lead Singer, Arrested Development

Speech was born Todd Thomas in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The youngest of parents Robert & Patricia Thomas. He grew up on two sides of life: the ghetto of Milwaukee (one of the nations roughest cities for African Americans) and (Wauwatosa) Milwaukee’s suburbia. Speech learned how to draw from the pains and beauty of both. He would absorb the plights of his people and yet the retreat of middle class blacks to primarily white neighborhoods. Speech experienced hardcore racism as a young boy. He also lost his grandmother to a heart attack and his older brother, Terrence Thomas to an Asthma attack all within the same week. Through God’s help, he ultimately learned how to recalibrate his inner anger to constructive and dynamic music. To celebrate the lives of those he lost. Speech wrote “Tennessee” as a dedication to his family. He and his mother also started the Terrence Thomas Scholarship dedicated to his brother, that even today is helping many young black students further their educations.

With this background, Speech started the music group, Arrested Development. The group is based in Georgia, from humble and rural beginnings; they became a pioneering force in the music world. Arrested Development won two Grammy Awards (Best new artists & Best rap single 1993) with songs that Speech wrote and produced from the album, 3 years, 5 months and 2 days in the life of…” They released a second, “Zingalamaduni” which was met with critical acclaim and was nominated for another Grammy award. After some internal strife, the group went on hiatus in 1995.

Immediately after that, Speech shed the group atmosphere & buried himself in experimental sounds. His first single “Like Marvin Gaye Said” was #1 on the Japanese Tokio 100 charts for 7 weeks straight! That was the true beginning of Speech as a solo artist.

Speech toured with Vice President Al Gore and Hillary Clinton during the Clinton re-election campaign, plus tours with Hootie & the Blowfish, Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan, Youssou N’dour, James Brown, Parliament – Funkadelic, Jason Mraz, and The Roots.

The musical side of Speech kept him producing and writing songs for progressive artists like Zap Mama, (Spike Lee’s) Malcolm X soundtrack, Paramount pictures -  Boomerang starring Eddie Murphy, other movies like Bebe’s Kids, Warriors of Virtue, “Whipped” and Michael Jordan’s “to the Max” (An IMAX production).

Speech has released 5 solo albums since 1996 all of which have spawned Top 10 hit singles. His album “Spiritual People” released in 2000 was certified Gold 3 months of its release. It was also awarded the Best black music album of the year 2000 by ADLIB magazine. Speech supported each album with sold out tours and intense promotional schedules.

In 2006 Speech toured the U.S. with Tre’ Hardson (Pharcyde), and released “The Vagabond” (Bluhammock records). That album won Best Hip Hop album of 2006. Speech says, “I don’t really yearn for fame, as much as for artistic integrity. I want someone to relate to me and me to them. I want my music to bring me intimate moments with those that can relate to where I’m at in life.”

His present home is in Georgia where Speech owns Vagabond Records & Tapes which released “Since The Last Time” (Arrested Development’s first U.S. album in 12 years) and “The Grown Folks Table” the newest Speech solo album. Speech says, “The Grown Folks Table is a radical stylistic departure from my past albums. It shows more a street side and it’s as honest and clever as anything I’ve ever done to date. It’s hip hop, that has elements of what Jesus, the streets, and what my own experiences have taught me.”

Speech continues to do side projects like 3 FOOT ICON (with Kyle Hollingsworth from String Cheese Incident, Chief Xcel of Blackalicious. On occasion Speech has even been the DJ for legendary bass player, Victor Wooten.

Look for new collaborations of Speech co-writing with (UK Hip Hop legend) Ty, (UK world music masters) 1 Giant Leap, (Portland hip hop maestro) Braille, (Japan success) Steph Pockets, (Japanese MC’s) WISE & Jamil, (World music) Ulali from India, (European legend) Nenah Cherry, (Japanese) Cradle Orchestra and many others.

Speech became an ordained minister with the Churches of Christ in 2005. He temporarily stepped down in 2009 to work on his personal life. Speech says, “My most proud achievement is my marriage to Yolanda, (we’ve been together over 17 years), our two children Jahi, Zoe Thomas and my faith in Jesus, which is my biggest strength & guidance.”


Dr. Linda Malone-Colón, NWNW Advisory Board


Dr. Linda Malone-Colón is a clinical and personality psychologist, researcher, consultant and administrator.  She is Chair of the Psychology Department at Hampton University, and the former Executive Director of the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center. Dr. Malone-Colón also designed and teaches a premier course on Black marriages for college students that has been featured at national conferences and in Essence magazine. She is also a noted scholar, national speaker, and consultant and has authored several important publications on African American marriage and families. Dr. Malone-Colon is also a professional development and diversity consultant and presents workshops, management training and retreats for private industry and state and local government agencies.


Also, she is the founder of a new National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting. The Center brings together Black Churches and Black Institutions of Higher Education to help strengthen marriage, parenting and families in African American communities. Additionally, Dr. Malone-Colon is currently engaged in research and scholarship aimed at identifying protective and risk factors for African Americans in developing satisfying and stable marital relationships.

Dr. Malone-Colon has also been a professor at Foothill Community College in California and Dillard University in New Orleans and has taught in Medford and Boston, Massachusetts public schools. She has also conducted clinical assessments and counseling for children in the Child Development Center at Howard University and counseled public school teachers as a Co-Director of professional development program for the State of South Carolina.


In addition, she founded and developed the University Counseling Center at Hampton University and was the Executive Director of the Center for eight years. In this capacity she also counseled students, faculty and staff with psychosocial concerns and provided psycho-educational workshops on and off campus.


Most importantly, she is a loving mother, daughter and sister. She has two sons, Adimu Colon, a radio personality and producer in Washington, DC and New York and Jabari Colon, Assistant Director of Admissions at Cheyney University in Pennsylvania. She is also the proud grandmother of Ayana Colon. Her parents, Fred and Maggie Malone have been married for 65 years. Her two sisters and closest friends are Barbara Halsey and Jacqui Malone.


2) Our Vision


No Wedding, No Womb!™ is a non-partisan movement, not discriminating on the basis of religion, gender or sexual  orientation, to help reduce the estimated 72% of out-of-wedlock births in the African American community and to offer solutions that appeal to children, teens and young adults to have healthy relationships and develop families that raise children in two parent homes.


Understanding the family is the cornerstone of society, and understanding the devastating socio-economic effects that often ensue from children raised in single parent homes, No Wedding, No Womb believes through developing educational and leadership programs for young adult women and men, we will impact our society to take control of their destinies.  The young women and men of today will become equipped with valuable tools through information, conference participation and media outreach, to help restore hope to the African American community, and eventually other communities, that all of us can have children who grow up in healthy two parent homes and receive the love, nurture and support that is crucial to living wholesome and fulfilling lives in today’s society.


3) SWOT analysis (Elaborate more as paragraphs.  Please list all that you can think of ladies)


  • Strengths

Advisory board consists of recognized experts and professionals in their perspective fields and especially experts in family, marriage and birth.   They have several years combined experience in activism, social causes and entertainment which carries much needed weight for garnering positive support for the movement.

NWNW has a massive online presence and following that will be utilized to garner additional support programs, donations and events.

NWNW has great marketing appeal and exposure from primary and secondary media outlets.

NWNW is committed to providing non-partisan platform to educate about a subject that is often viewed as a moral, religious and socio-economic issue. Our number one goal is to address the high rate of OOW births in the African-American community without promoting anyone religion, political party nor excluding those that may fit into certain socio-economic molds.

  • Weaknesses

As a new, all volunteer organization, we are running with zero budget.   Therefore, we must move quickly to network and obtain all the funds that we need in order to become sustainably successful and move from an online movement into a true grassroots movement.

  • Opportunities

Our movement is backed by a massive community of pro-family supporters who can help us to further mobilize and organize.  It will take us just some initial seed money to host our first event.  With this will come the community, experts, celebrities and politicians to lend their voice and offer awareness to help the next generation be smarter with their relationships.

  • Threats

Being a young organization dealing with a controversial topic and given the nature of the African-American culture and the feminist movement, we have received unprofessional and brash criticism from opponents.  These opponents cannot offer firm statistics and spread unfounded and untrue criticism of the movement.  Therefore, it is in our best interest to create a non-profit movement geared at focusing on young women and young men first in order to save the next generation from unwanted births.


4) Context/Needs Assessment/Demographic Profile


No Wedding, No Womb exists to improve the lives primarily of young people first who are facing pressures everyday to engage in sexual behavior that could lead to the fathering and bearing of children before they are capable, ready and equipped.  No Wedding, No Womb also exists to support single parents who may be facing challenges as well in their relationships and need support as single parents.


We are a U.S. national movement focusing on the African-American community who makes up the highest percentage of OOW births in the country.  Starting as an online movement on September 22, 2010 with approximately 100 bloggers, we are expanding our service into the local communities with our network to organize, educate and empower our young women and men in the importance of healthy relationships and marriage as the catalyst for raising children in safe environments.


We have data from nationally recognized agencies such as the U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Bureau of the Census Center for Disease Control, the U.S. Dept of Justice and most recently from The Future of Children which is a collaboration of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution, http://www.brookings.edu/events/2010/1027_fragile_families.aspx, http://www.futureofchildren.org/.


Statistics about fatherless homes list some from Brookings. (we need to decide, is our speak the lack of fathers in the home or the lack of two parent homes.  I believe we should keep the speech about two parent homes and have a separate section for same sex.  The two should be separated as far as our goals and objectives.

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. [U. S. D.H.H.S. Bureau of the Census]
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
  • 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. [Center for Disease Control]
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes. [Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 14 p. 403-26]
  • 70% of juveniles in state operated institutions come from fatherless homes [U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept., 1988]
  • 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.


From the data that is currently available about OOW births in just the African-American community alone, we have identified the following needs:


LIST: Here we need to analyze the data and identify from the data what are the needs that our movement can address or what we would like to find out more.  No fluffy words here, must be very specific in our verbiage.


5) Our mission


The mission of No Wedding, No Womb is to promote healthy relationships in an effort to reduce the number of out-of-wedlock births and stem the socio-economic issues that arise from out-of-wedlock births of the African-American community.


6) Problem Statement


8) Goals & Objectives


1.     Goal:  Help young women and men take control of their futures by taking responsibility of their relationships.

Objective:  Teach healthy relationships and personal health (the changing body and sexuality, sex education)

Measurement:  Downloadable resources from website.  Measure the amount of information that is downloaded on demand and obtained by distribution to schools, organizations and support groups


2.     Goal:  Promote a sense of self esteem and self worth in young women

Objective:  Create empowering



3.     Goal:  Support single parents as they raise children

Objective:  Because single parents come from many circumstances, we want them to know that our movement is a safe place for them to share and exchange resources and information.




  • Website

-Provide information about healthy relationships, self esteem, sexuality,

birth control, marriage and single parents.

  • Empowerment and self esteem programs for adolescent girls

-Book clubs and recommended reading lists


-Annual conference

-Annual NWNW blog-a-thon every September 22 with a goal to increase the number of participants each year, associated with an online fundraising drive

  • Personal Health

-The changing body and sexuality

-Sex education

-Downloadable curriculum for teachers in elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as syllabus material for college professors of sociology, psychology and public health

-Effects of child birth and how to have positive reproductive outcomes

  • Documentary
  • Webinars
  • Annual conference
  • Parenting Classes
    •    Media Initiatives, including active media outreach, and online radio shows    hosted by NWNW participants


After becoming its own foundation, No Wedding, No Womb Foundation will issue grants for the following activities:


  • Certificates for first time single mothers to purchase baby supplies
  • Starter grants for first time college students from single parent homes
  • Assistance for continuation of education for single parents.
  • Grants for young adult women, especially from HBCU’s, to attend our conferences.

11) Evaluation

  • Cost and efficiency
  • Outcome or impact (i.e., what it has actually achieved)
  • Implemented (i.e., is it being implemented according to plan?)
  • Design and logic/theory
  • Need for the program





No Wedding, No Womb Bill of Rights for Young Girls and Women


All young girls and women have the right…

to be loved unconditionally and know they are needed.


All young girls and women have the right…

to be emotionally healthy and to have healthy relationships.


All young girls and women have the right…

to have their bodies treated with respect and dignity


All young girls and women have the right…

to be educated about their femininity, their changing bodies and the sacredness of their bodies


All young girls and women have the right…

to receive an education


All young girls and women have the right…

to live in loving, nurturing homes, free of abuse and full of support


All women have the right

        to be good mothers.



No Wedding, No Womb Bill of Rights for Young Boys and Men


All young boys and men have the right…

to be loved unconditionally and know they are needed.


All young boys and men have the right…

to be emotionally healthy and have healthy relationships.


All young boys and men have the right…

to have their bodies treated with respect and dignity


All young boys and men have the right…

to be educated about their masculinity, their changing bodies and the sacredness of

their bodies


All young boys and men have the right…

to receive an education


All young boys and men have the right…

to live in loving, nurturing homes, free of abuse and full of support


All young men have the right…

to be good fathers.




Potential Sponsors

Wedding planners

Issues Our Movement Will Address

Out of Wedlock Births


Birth Control


Same Sex Couples

Single parenthood

Teen pregnancy

Couples empowerment




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User Comments

  1. Betty Boo
    September 24, 2011

    My goodness does this woman have nothing better to do than give Christelyn a hard time??I have two things to say about this. Taking from one of my favorite movies “The Matrix” Morpheus upon offering Neo the red and blue pill said to him “all I am is offering you is the truth nothing more.” All you can offer is the truth people who don’t really want the truth are going to always find a way to fight against it no matter how well laid out your information is.

    Second I use a biblical principle (and I know there are some who do not share my faith and I respect that so please NO DEBATES you do not have to accept it) In the bible Yahushua (Jesus) shared a parable about the sower. Some fell on hard ground, some fell among rocks, some fell among thorns,and some fell on good ground. So of the 100% effort the sower of seeds gives, on 25% hit good ground and bore fruit. So of all the effort you make on 25% are going to hear your message and let it change their lives as for the other 75%

    25% – Their hearts are hard and not receptive to the message

    25%- They will get excited at your message at first, but when the challenges of what you say comes to the forefront, they will split

    25%- are so caught up with daily life and responsibilities, they dong have the time to invest in it.

    So Take heart Chris, you are in good company. Thank you for your hard work in promoting this!! Keep it up 25% of us are listening!


  2. Alisha
    September 24, 2011


    You have many supporters out here who will not sit aside and let these detractors attack without holding them accountable!!

    So, ladies…Danielle N. Lee is an Outreach Scientist who studies animal behavior and behavioral ecology. She is described in this fashion “A hip hop maven blogs on urban ecology, evolutionary biology & diversity in the sciences”

    Her email listed at Scientific American Blogger is:



  3. Nita Johnson
    September 24, 2011

    If you never speak out, then no one will ever know! Speak up for what you’re passionate about, even if no one listens. One day you will hear a voice like yours, and then another – and when there are enough voices, you will be able to make progress.
    I posted this status yesterday on my Facebook. I did it because of all the people who think you shouldn’t point out something that’s bothering you. If everybody stuck their head in the sand and pretended that things we KNOW to be bad (not on the whole, but as it affects our future) weren’t bad or so bad, then we’d destroy ourselves. There’s always going to be haters out there trying to muffle your voice. My issue with that is, what are they actually trying to gain here? I wonder if all the people who applauded these articles know what their motives are: to destroy our communities.
    By promoting a culture of single parents with no help, you’re promoting the destruction of the unity that we SHOULD have in our communities. If you can’t get along for the sake of a child you share, then how can you get along with someone you don’t know? The rest of the world is leaving us behind in the unity department, and it’s preparing them for the globalization that’s already taken place.
    … So we should just be fine with the status quo and not even attempt to move forward while the rest of the world is?


  4. Renita Rhodes
    September 24, 2011

    I truly do not see that your argument addressed Soror Danielle Lee’s argument. I too like Danielle grew up in a single parent home. Poverty-stricken? NO! My sisters and I college and graduate school graduates? YES! Successfully and gainfully employed? YES Yes, there is a segment of our community that does deal with the poverty while being a part of a single parent home; however, THAT IS NOT THE MAJORTIY! Yes being a single parent is hard but there are NUMEROUS kids who turn out just fine (some more successful than anyone in this blog). You can OVER generalize the situation, as it seems you have. The BIGGEST factor with the poverty and single parent relationship is EDUCATION!!! It is the education level that determines the financial outcome of any home – single parent, two parent, etc. So again, like my soror Danielle and numerous others, I, too am an Extraordinary Bastard in your eyes! Therefore, your statement “It’s Great that you turned out OK, but the fact that plenty of kids born OOW turn out fine is debateable.” is CRAPPY and APPALLING!


    Renita Rhodes


  5. DNLee
    September 24, 2011

    This is an amazing response. Thank you!

    I don’t agree with some of your points (but only a little).
    1st: “notice that some people on Twitter were high-fiving the author out of spite against me”
    I had some people co-signing my points and that they thought my critiques were rational or valid; but I saw no one giving me props out of disdain for you. At least not in threads or tweets I was tagged in. I didn’t see a mention of anyone saying anything negative about you or the campaign. If people were using my critiques to ‘get your goat’ then they really missed my message.

    But it leads to something I am becoming more curious about. More than anything this NWNW ‘kerfuffle’ has it made it a clear to me that folks think that criticism is negative, personal even.
    I was getting all kinds of questions like:
    “What’s your problem with Christelyn?” “Why do you hate NWNW? “Oh, you must want black people to be set back?” or even as Betty Boo asked, “do I have better things to do?”

    I have no problem with Christelyn. I don’t hate NWNW The only problem I have with NWNW, I state in my first post is that I think it (unintentionally) polarizing – sets folks up in an Us/Them arena and comes across as judgemental. No, I don’t want black people to be set back/unprosperous, etc.
    Actually, I am in absoltute agreement with NWNW that this OOW needs to come down (to what? IDK, that can be figured out later).
    I am in absolute agreement that I think it would be lovely for more (black) folks should be in healthy marriages.
    Finally, why is my use of time somehow less valuable because I don’t patently agree?

    And, to Christelyn, your credentials or lack thereof don’t matter. First of all, it doesn’t matter what degrees you have or don’t have. You care about this. And if you don’t know something you have the ability/capacity to get the answer. You care and you dared to do something, that’s right enough to be heard. Second, never begin a presentation with a pre-emptive apology. One thing I tell students, particularly when I mentor kids from inner-city schools (some who come from or are OOW parents) when they begin a presentation is NEVER apologize for a shortcoming. Never say I’m sorry I don’t have X or Y didn’t show up. Putting your shortcoming front and center tunes the audience’s attention to look for something missing/faulty. Never ever frame yourself in a negative light. I beleive what you speak and beleive about unconsciously focuses your attention on those things.

    Now, to my reactions to your responses…
    In this response, you address it soundly — for example, explaining your logo and reconciling it to goal to be inclusive of Everyone single parents, gays, co-habitating, AND foremost MARRIAGE. But I am still concerned that the 5 nanoseconds people take to make their mind up about something still doesn’t lead some people to select/ self-select themselves AWAY from your very important, worthwhile mission “to help reduce the estimated 72% of out-of-wedlock births in the African American community and to offer solutions that appeal to children, teens and young adults to have healthy relationships and develop families that raise children in two parent homes.” I’m not recommending you change anything, just wanted to let you know there are people (ME) who are completing DOWN with this mission, but the labeling is a turn off. That is all.

    I think the advisory board has the right stuff to address the issue/offer solutions sounds like a good team. Play your big joker first, girl. Put THIS on the Website tabs, front and center.

    My primary disagreement is your response to point number 2 – Depth. You came hard responding to Clarity and Breadth.
    With the comment that the Exception proves the rule..No, I disagree. (Plus, I think you can come harder than that. You got it in you).

    The reason why I disagree is that an accumulation to ‘exceptions’ if you will — indicate there’s more than meets the eye. The exception could be a blip, a mistake, (we call in skew in science & economics), but that doesn’t mean the info/data/result is *necessarily* invalid. At the very least this ‘exception’ is a signal to take a closer look. Which is what I am imploring you to do. Just take another look at this scenario: OOW and social ills.
    What if (the big what if, I know it cane seem frustration and ridiculous but it’s not to frustrate you on purpose or out of spite – it’s to help you see this issue from every angle possible).
    What if the parameters of health and success of parents & children from unmarried families is about the same as that of folks from married families?

    The explanation would be that the marital state doesn’t make a significant difference. This would NOT negate the truths we know about marriage positively influences children and parents — so it still makes getting OOW down worthwhile. I’m just saying perhaps, just perhaps successful families start with happy adults who know themselves, deliberately make some good decisions & throw in some good luck, too. IF those characteristics of the adults/community around children is what makes things turn out right, then perhaps one strategy could include focusing on cultivating those skills/personalities…Marriage can/should be promoted (Afterall 2 is better, no doubt)…but just acknowledging, eh 1 aint all that bad either.

    Regarding THREATS…The status quo is changing. Marriage and nuclear familes are not the norm. Feminism is at the heart of it. But I don’t think Feminsim is an enemy to your ideas, they may be a very important ally. Afterall, your Bill of Rights is steeped in feminist philosphy. Will Feminists challenge NWNW – hard! Indeed, this one did. But please don’t see it as a threat to dismantle the Movement.

    Me and (any) status quo – have never been friends (joke). I’ve always been a system bucker, which is probably why I’m good at what I do – being discerning, designing experiments, anaylzing data, revising ideas, communicating complex information to non-expert audiences= teaching science, revising ideas, etc = Scientist. Even as a child, I never did arbitrary. I don’t go along just because (not that NWNW is a go along). But I have always demanded to understand, really understand why do we do what we do? Why do we value or hold some things/people in high-esteem automatically? It’s not that I don’t come around to occupy the status quo – sometimes, I do – but it’s gotta make sense to me…not just emotionally, but logically too. It’s about striking that balance and in doing so you gain followers/momentum. Hence, why I caution against polarizing.

    In my opinion, passion without substance is aimless. And Substance without passion is impotent. We need both if we ever want to Get Anywhere and Make a Difference.


    • Anton
      September 24, 2011

      Awesome critique & encouragement, DN Lee.
      As a male I often underestimate the sensitivity & variety of mate/motherhood perceptions vs. generic ideals on marriage/family unions in my conversations. It is frustrating to be verbally assailed by someone who reads their personal relationship legacy into a simple profession of desires or hopes.

      Too bad we frequently can’t hear out sober challenges to preconceived notions of built-in failure.

      Very difficult to interact within a society that presses its people to factionalize or choose sides, like a neverending sports team toss-up. In conversations of ideas, frequently only 2 or 3 choice words that arouse emotional sensitivities are absorbed, versus a cohesive sentence or explanation. Polar stances are assumed and familiar friends escalate in voice volume rather than reflection; until someone backs down in silence, angers or cries.

      What men want to navigate a minefield of paradigms when looking for a partner? What women would seek male companionship if it entailed committment/fealty to some fraternity of his friends? Personality differences & preferences alone are thorny enough in forming relationships.


      • DNLee
        September 24, 2011

        Thanks Anton,
        And in case you didn’t realize it..I’m the Twit on Twitter you were referencing in your comment below. LOL


  6. ana
    September 24, 2011

    What this person is forgetting is the cultural differences and the values therein. Marriage precludes commitment and personal responsibility in Scandinavian men (in general), whereas marriage (read: legal connotations, contractual obligations) is required for men in black cultures to be responsible (in general).


  7. Anton
    September 24, 2011

    Thank you for your well thought out, patient response to some specious ‘Twit’ on Twitter. I admit, I don’t use Twitter at all; the very concept of a further truncated/’sound-bite’-esque communication outlet for our attention span-challenged society is anathema to me. But, alas, I know I’m potentialy losing out in some manner of enlightenment.
    I am a lifelong student of the sciences and a career lab technician; NEVER let the claims of science based proponents intimidate you- – just put their evidences in context and ask of them to be circumspect and consistent, as science is multidisciplinary. Enthusiastes & professionals in each ‘camp’ regularly belittle each others fields, in hypocritical & egotistically ingenuine fashion; look at the climate change debates!
    Your points to this person quoting Scandinavian demographics were highly accurate; reflecting a TRUE scientist’s awarenes of the weakness of basing argument upon small, unvaried samples of data. Well done, Professor!!!!

    Importantly, for you and your readers here, understand clearly: SCIENCE is not a belief or an answer for everything- – it is a TOOL & METHOD of problem solving. EVERY one of us use its methods & processes when we choose food at the supermarket, decide on the best route to drive home along during rush hour and discriminately shop for clothing & other household goods. It is the basis of comparative decision making, nothing more. It also is NOT in conflict with faith & religious belief!

    I draw a great deal of encouragement from this site and its letters. I have been engaged twice and married once; all disasters and much to my fault. But, I hope for a wonderful, giving & nurturing partnership someday and particularly being a ‘dad’, even to children not of my blood. I’ve worked with. lived with & known too many women who’s lives are nothing but a derailed, dissillusioned legacy of broken trust and shattered dreams. They usually struggle to provide a fighting chance to their children, frequently seeing only perpetuated misery.

    I’ve not produced children because of this and having been a single parent/’out-of-wedlock’ child myself and a one time step-dad.
    NW-NW is gathering critical mass[science term!] and is an important player in the future of many lives, as it has already proven to be. God bless your motivations, integrity and family!


  8. Eugenia
    September 25, 2011

    Christelyn that was good rebuttal and really at this point no matter how many times you rebut someone, it’s just going to turn into a circular argument. We’ve seen it happen again and again especially with NWNW it happened last year, this is the same thing just new packaging. You shouldn’t have to go and jump through hoops of fire to make one or two people or even hundreds believe what you’re saying. You’ve said it, that’s it. You are not going to convince everyone, that is impossible to do as a human being. Jesus couldn’t convince everyone to follow him and nothing personal Chris I love ya but you ain’t Jesus. LOL. Not everyone’s opinion deserves to be acknowledged not everyone deserves to be responded to. As Deborrah Cooper said you are one person, you don’t have the time nor should you try to make to respond to every critique or even every supportive thing. I’m going to say this, the one thing I really like about our President and you can take this or not is that he doesn’t respond to every critique and everything that is said about him. He ignores much of it because he has an important job to do and you could take all your time up trying to respond to critics and miss your opportunity to do the important work. That’s a good lesson I’ve taken from him and use in my own life. I know in this world of internet narcissism everyone seems to think that they deserve to be engaged with no matter what they say but no one has the right to your attention, no one. This was great but important things await, discretion with your time and who you spend it on is always a good thing.


  9. Penny
    September 25, 2011

    Excellent rebuttal and let me say a few things.

    (1) Everyone can be a critic, very few have the chutzpah to actually get up and address a problem. Let us remember that there were black folks who disagreed with Martin Luther King when he did his marches, strikes and agitating for change. They’d rather live with the evil they know than upset an apple cart even though it means they’d eventually benefit from it.

    (2) Scientific American needs to stick to scientific issues and stay the heck out of societal and moral issues. I am sick of these so called “scientific” magazines that entertain articles that do nothing to address issues of black folks but are happy to publish something that criticizes, think “Psychology Today” with that bull about Black women being less physically attractive.

    As it was mentioned above, at some point you just need to ignore the naysayers and focus on your goal. Whether the criticism is from someone educated or an ignorant person, don’t even bother to reply to them. In the corporate world, we usually live by the motto, don’t bring a problem unless you have a suggestion on how to fix it. These people have a comment to make about your solution and I promise you they had nothing to say about the problem. They were fine with the apple cart even if the apples were rotting.


    • Shun Jackson
      September 30, 2011

      “These people have a comment to make about your solution and I promise you they had nothing to say about the problem. They were fine with the apple cart even if the apples were rotting.”

      I couldn’t said it better myself. These naysayers spend more time trying to tear down Chris’ way of trying to resolve this problem then actually bringing about a solution themselves. I’m with you, the science needs to stay out of this. I know what I see with my eyes everyday with my own circumstances as well as other black women. I don’t know how many times I’ve taken my kids out to eat and I am one of many other black women that are eating alone with our kids while you see the white women and mexican/hispanic women with their children and husband or boyfriend.


  10. Sisterlocgirl
    September 30, 2011

    I must say that all of the people who are taking issue with the various points of NWNW are missing the forest for the trees.The fact of the matter is we are watching the destruction of the African American collective before our very eyes, and people want to intellectualize/analyze/nit-pick over what is clearly a major failure. Comparing African American realities to Scandinavian countries is akin to comparing the oranges to steak. There are ENORMOUS differences between these 2 communities. The ” they do it too ” argument is simply insufficient. It didn’t work on my parents when I wanted to follow the crowd and it doesn’t work here. Our children are less educated now than during the 50s and 60s with all the blatant racism and every other “ism” placed in our way as roadblocks. THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS ON FIRE PEOPLE! Mrs. Karazin and all the people who are active in this arena are trying to put out the fire. The illiteracy rate, high school dropout rate, OOW pregnancies, high levels of poverty in our communities are all INTERCONNECTED. Things do NOT have to be this way. I applaud NWNW contributors and the efforts being made to help black girls make better choices. If you haven’t noticed the Government programs that sustained this madness are drying up faster than a puddle of water in Death Valley. In Michigan effective October 1st if you are on welfare your check/Bridge cards/rent subsidies will not be coming as this is NOT in the budget. So now your ” right ” to drop babies with no education/skills/job prospects has now landed you in TRUE poverty, not our American system of poverty where you can still get by without hitting a lick at a snake. Do you REALLY want to encourage children to lives of abject poverty with babies they can’t take care of in tow because you have some philosophical problem with a logo/advancement of marriage/promoting birth control if one is to be sexually active? The Republicrats in Washington have decreed that poor people ( that is women and children ) are not worth the money it takes to sustain them and they are being cut loose to fend for themselves.
    Mrs. Karazin you are doing something to help change the future for as many young black girls and their future children as you can. As many others have said here, you keep doing what you’re doing. Some will hear your message and make better decisions for themselves because the knowledge was there to be used. I was fortunate enough to have parents who provided me with this information throughout my life. For those young ladies who don’t your site and this work may very well save them from lives of abject poverty, struggle and strife.


    • Christelyn Karazin
      October 1, 2011

      True words never spoken. Thanks so much for your support.


    • Renita Rhodes
      October 12, 2011

      Actually that didn’t happen in Michigan. The governor TRIED but it was against the LAW!!! Look it up!!!!


  11. shun Jackson
    September 30, 2011



  12. Masha Dowell
    October 20, 2011

    We should respect each others views on this matter. I was born within a marriage, to parents to divorced. I also believe in NWNW. Its my opinion.

    Thanks for the great message.

    This is my favorite part of this post:

    “… because while marriage is a societal norm, having children is a biological function, and pretty much everyone is capable of contributing to the creation of a fetus, who will one day become a live, human being”.

    - Masha Dowell


  13. Steve Jones
    November 5, 2011

    What’s unsettling for me is the over emphasis on weddings, as oppose to marriage. weddings aren’t cheap and i’ve watched too many of my friends get into bigger debt over a wedding and all that they really wanted to do was get married. there are cheaper alternatives to getting married and i think that’s where the emphasis should be. our young brothers and sister get themselves into debt before they even start their lives together and that put a strain on the marriage from the get go. chances are, they’ll divorce due to financial pressures and unrealistic fairy tale expectations they’ve set for themselves and this does not help the situation one bit.