The conversation on reproductive rights often begins and ends with a woman’s right to choose – focusing primarily on cis-women and their ability to safely access abortion. While this has been a pivotal topic since Roe v Wade, a local grassroots movement is working to further expand the working definition. On October 16, 2019, Our Repro Rights Community will host a panel to illuminate the vast, lesser known inequities in current reproductive health systems.
Adversity often precedes inspiration, and Our Repro Rights is certainly no exception. The Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh ignited the fire for Bushwick-based friends Jennifer Reres and Sam Jacobson to take action. After volunteering for a year with the Ms. Foundation for Women, the two decided to launch their own organization.
When crafting the group’s mission, Reres explains that specificity and inclusivity are key to lasting change. “We want to bust the myth that reproductive health only pertains to abortion. We also want to move away from the cis, hetero-normative definition of repro justice.” Reres elaborates, “Repro justice is connected to gender, race, class, dis/ability, and many other identities.”
In the fight toward reproductive rights, it’s woefully common for the majority to push aside the needs and voices of underrepresented communities, including LGBTQ+, women of color, immigrant, dis/abled, and indigenous peoples. This is where intersectionality in social activism is paramount. Reres and Jacobson don’t take their privilege lightly, which is evident in the panel’s line up.
“As cis white women leading a repro rights volunteer group, we know how important is to acknowledge the privilege we have that makes everything easier for us. Education is such a big part of being a good ally.” Jacobson continues, “You have to do the work and not put the burden on the folks that are dealing with lack of care and access every day. We learn, make mistakes, correct them, and ensure we are fighting for repro access for everybody.”
Our Repro Rights Community is founded on the pillars of education, action, and community. Wednesday’s panel – moderated by journalist Lauren Duca, and featuring guests Katharine Bodde, Elizabeth Estrada, Elder Antionettea Etienne, Tiffany Hyeon Rogers, and Symone New – is designed to inform the greater Brooklyn community.
“Our main goal is to educate on the different barriers to repro health and provide straight forward action to help support access.” Jacobson gets real about the movement, “As much as we would like, these issues cannot be tied up nicely with a bow following one panel, but we can ensure that we provide our attendees with the tools to make a difference.”
Panel Discussion will take place on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at The Yard Co-Working Space, 33 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn 11222.
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