2016 Program: Gender and Sexuality
This session asks participants to go into the intersection of race, geography, gender, and incarceration to explore the unique ways it impacts our communities. This interactive session will allow attendees to reflect upon the centrality of the penal state in producing/enforcing structures of gender, reproductive, and sexual injustice, as well as explore and build upon the strategies that formerly-incarcerated cis and trans* women are using to change policy, decarcerate their communities, and pave the way for others coming home. Session is hosted by the staff and volunteers of Women With A Vision, Inc. (WWAV), New Orleans’ only Queer, Black-women-led organization doing grassroots and policy level work at this intersection. Through our work, WWAV argues that “my existence is political,” using public health, human rights, and Black feminist frameworks, alongside the liberation histories of the Deep South, to craft new visions for change.
Reproductive Justice uses a human rights framework to radically re-envision reproductive politics. Coined in 1994 by a group of African American women, the term Reproductive Justice describes an intersectional framework that examines the social and structural conditions that impact our ability to form the families we choose. The Reproductive Justice movement has since transformed and challenged the pro-choice movement singularly focused on abortion, which has been reluctant to incorporate analyses of imperialism, white supremacy, and population control into its narrow “choice” focused framework. How can a reproductive justice framework deepen our understanding of racism and racial justice? Why is challenging white supremacy, population control, and mass incarceration central to both racial justice and Reproductive Justice work? And what is at stake for our racial justice work when it is not rooted in dismantling gender oppression? This session will introduce participants to the Reproductive Justice framework and its three core tenets. Through the creation of an interactive timeline, participants will be invited to explore concrete connections between racism and reproductive oppression in the past and present, and identify avenues for incorporating Reproductive Justice into our racial justice work.
Black Trans people have been the targets of intimate partner, stranger-based, and state violence for a long time. There has been recent heightened exposure of this violence, as highlighted through the expansiveness of Black Lives Matter! Movements, through national trans liberation days, and even through mainstream media. The conversation however, rarely includes the resiliency of Black Trans people. The wealth of resilience strategies and healing tools of Black Trans people will be the focus of this session. Participants will leave with a "medicine bag" of tools. The workshop will include making a collective altar and tribute to our trancestors, a self-love selfies photo booth where people can post their pics on an Instagram account that we create, a short presentation about Atlanta's Pre-Arrest Diversion program, and creating a "medicine bag" of healing tools and resilience strategies that will be collected and emailed out later.
This workshop will pull from lesson plans and activities from our new curriculum “What’s the REAL DEAL about Love and Solidarity?” which is a call to action and centers young Black femmes. Engaging, interactive, and rooted in social-emotional learning and youth facilitated discussion, this workshop will provide an opportunity for LGBTQ youth, POC, and those who work and support them, to discuss consent as it impacts them with educators. The workshop will begin with introductions, viewing of the youth-written Hollywood directed short film, “Veracity,” about two young Black queer femmes in high school, a discussion of the topics of consent that are represented in the film, and a variety of small group activities discussing consent. Participants will gain an understanding of what LGBTQ youth (especially BIPOC youth) wish to discuss around consent, resources regarding consent when engaging in various forms of activities, activities and lesson plans for continuing these conversations outside our space together, and understand how media literacy and media justice connect to the topic of consent for LGBTQ youth. Learning objectives include: Participants will be able to discuss various definitions for consent, both practical and legal; identify resources regarding consent specifically for LGBTQ youth esp. BIPOC youth; guide discussions with youth on how to identify the difference between asking for consent and being manipulative; give two examples of activities to implement with youth regarding consent.
Black women have strong, powerful voices, however our experiences are often shoved to the margins in favor of the ‘movement’ — but where does this leave us? Like our ancestors before us, we will break bread and deliberate on the State of the Black Woman in the United States. We will lift up our movement successes and create a plan to overcome our challenges. We will hold one another’s truths, while speaking our own. Participants will leave the room with an analysis of challenges we must overcome, a strategy for building opportunities for sisterhood across the nation, and reinvigorated to achieve the tasks ahead. The words of Black women change the world each and every day, but often they are silenced by the mainstream.
During this panel, attendees will hear from the Black women writers of Echoing Ida, a project of Forward Together that amplifies the voices of Black women, developing generations of thought leaders and skilled communicators in the social justice movement. The panelists will share their experiences using their personal stories and writing to achieve advocacy and political change. The panel will also discuss their experiences of their collective model, how to get published, partnering with organizations to elevate their work, and the benefits of the Black writer sisterhood. Participants will learn how to identify issues within their own lives and how to frame their stories, as well as have a deeper understanding of the publishing and writing world.
As the visibility of queer & trans people of color in mainstream media becomes more common, it is crucial that we look critically at the ideological messages they contain. In this interactive queer & trans youth of color focused workshop, we’ll analyze historic and recent examples of how queer & trans people of color have been represented in mainstream/dominant media and discuss the impact this media has on us as individuals and our communities. When we work together to create our own media, we build our analysis, relationships, and vision through the creative process, and we strengthen the impact of our voices. Using the FYRE Media Justice Camp model, participants will learn media literacy skills that we can use to reframe reproductive, gender, and racial justice issues based on our analysis and lived experiences to create our own community-centered media. We’ll showcase examples of previously created media and lead participants on a journey of what it means to create larger narratives that speak to what queer & trans people of color need for our lives and communities to get better, to feel safer, to love freely and openly, to be liberated.