Feminist Camp Day 4: Reproductive Justice

dipeeka4

Dipeeka is a 2010 LEADer who recently participated in Feminist Camp. Feminist Camp includes five immersive days of meetings and workshops across New York City highlighting diverse forms of feminism in action. Each day centers around a theme. Her blog posts about her time there originally appeared on the Soapbox Blog.

For the first session, we were divided into different groups, each of which would visit an organization that works towards reproductive justice. Our group went to Inwood House, the only organization in New York City focused primarily on comprehensively serving the needs of pregnant and parenting teens. We talked to three members in their staff, and they told us about challenges to fundraising as a non-profit organization, as well as their competing stakeholders’ interest between government and private donors. They talked about vocational and educational training given to the pregnant mothers for a financially sustainable future. Another of their impressive programs is focused on school students by providing afterschool tutoring and leadership development. We also had a mini discussion on cost of living in NYC, and how people manage their standard of living in such an expensive city!

We then went to Judson Memorial Church for a few more sessions; the church itself was an interesting place of convergence of religion, art and activism. We had Lauren Mitchell talk about how she formed the Doula Project, an organization offering holistic support to pregnant women by pairing them with trained doulas for support and help during a woman’s abortion or birth experience. Then Melissa Madera talked about her Abortion Project, where she compiles audio recording of stories of individuals who have had abortions in the past. Her aim is to humanize the politically charged topic of abortion, and encourage sharing as well as healing.

For the most awaited part of the day, we went to the Brooklyn Museum of Art to attend the 2014 Sackler Center First Award. At the event, we got a chance to meet with Gloria Steinem, hear her as well as Elizabeth Sackler speak.  We also saw Anita Hill being honored with the 2014 Sackler Center First Award for her stance and work against sexual assault in the workplace. The award was preceded by a documentary Speaking Truth to Power (Anita Hill), which showed how she was a pioneer in fighting against workplace sexual harassment when she spoke against her supervisor the ‘Injustice’ Clarence Thomas. We then toured the Brooklyn Museum quickly, and Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party stood out the most to me. Amidst the interesting sessions and Sackler Awards, the brief meeting with Gloria Steinem definitely stole the show!

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