2016 Program: Reproductive Justice
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.