Monica Simpson

Executive Director
SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
Monica Raye Simpson, a queer, black, NC native, has organized extensively against human rights abuse, the prison industry, racism, and systemic violence against Southern black women and LBGTQ people. She is the Executive Director of SisterSong, a Southern based organization that builds a network of individuals and organizations to improve institutional policies that impact the reproductive lives of marginalized communities. In 2014 she was named a New Civil Rights Leader by Essence Magazine. In 2015 was chosen as a panelist for the Women of the World Summit. She is singer and spoken word artist who infuses art into her activism.

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

The Art of the Reproductive Justice Movement

Artistic expression has played a major role in nearly every social movement from the freedom songs of the civil rights movement to the use of graphic art by ACT UP. Art has the power to transform culture, to imagine new possibilities, to reflect our experiences, and to evoke powerful emotions that move people to action. In the reproductive justice movement, the opposition’s grotesque images have dominated the cultural narrative. This workshop will feature the artists working to flip this script through centering the voices, art, and work of women of color. Participants will have the opportunity to explore and create art-- that uplifts the voices of diverse communities, exposing raw, authentic, honest, positive, and even imaginative possibilities of who we are as a movement and where we need to be.

Presenters will describe the various ways activist and artists have integrated plays, songs, design, stand up comedy, photographs and more to build power within communities and transform harmful cultural narratives across movements. They will engage the audience in conversation about the power of art to strengthen all of our movements. Further, they will provide an opportunity for participants to try out their acting chops and get in to character to explore abortion narratives and reproductive justice themes using the play “Out of Silence”, as well as generate their own movement song.

Speakers: Shomya Tripathy, Monica Simpson

Presentations from Facing Race 2016

RJ SQUARED! Exploring the Connections Between Reproductive Justice and Racial Justice

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.

Speakers: Mateo Medina, Monica Simpson, Loretta Ross