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A Recap of the Be Bold, Be BRAVE: Reproductive Justice Summit, August 5th and 6th, 2016

Posted by Jamee Greer at Sep 29, 2016 03:35 PM |

Western States Center created the Reproductive Justice Summit to expand the conversation on reproductive health, rights and access in Oregon. Rooted in workshops created by participants in the We are BRAVE program over the last 18 months, 137 participants representing 54 organizations, and including many non-affiliated community members, came to share their knowledge on reproductive justice and strategize with others. Together participants worked to deepen our collective vision for creating communities where everyone can make the health care choices that meet their own needs, without shame or stigma. More importantly, strengthen solidarity for Reproductive Justice across communities, movements and decision makers.

A Recap of the Be Bold, Be BRAVE: Reproductive Justice Summit, August 5th and 6th, 2016

Participants from the 2016 Be Bold, Be BRAVE Reproductive Justice Summit meet in Portland, Oregon.

 

“I’m connecting messages I’ve received about reproduction and sexuality to my Latina heritage and understanding my family and my identity further.”

“We are BRAVE” is a project of Western States Center, and is built and led by women of color. The program builds the visibility and public profile of women of color leaders and organizations to be public advocates for accessible, affordable abortion as a part of needed reproductive health services.

Western States Center created the Reproductive Justice Summit to expand the conversation on reproductive health, rights and access in Oregon. Rooted in workshops created by participants in the We are BRAVE program over the last 18 months, a committee of BRAVE leaders honed the Summit’s agenda and its goals. 137 participants representing 54 organizations, and including many non-affiliated community members, came to share their knowledge on reproductive justice and strategize with others. Together participants worked to deepen our collective vision for creating communities where everyone can make the health care choices that meet their own needs, without shame or stigma. More importantly, strengthen solidarity for Reproductive Justice across communities, movements and decision makers.

Leaders in We are BRAVE built curriculums and facilitated 21 workshops, offering participants a chance to learn from their peers and elevating topics like Climate Justice to advancing breastfeeding to prison reform. Participants engaged in community-specific conversations (also known as plácticas or caucuses). Committed to uplift the intersectionality of our complex identities and issue areas, all workshops were led by people of color.


“The workshops were so helpful and uplifting. They really opened up my thoughts on ways to promote Reproductive Justice within my own organization.”

Participants engaged in community dialogue during morning plenaries that increased awareness and understanding of reproductive justice through full-group sessions. Friday morning featured an intergenerational fishbowl focused on how experiences with reproductive health shift over time and in context of family and friends. The plenary sessions afforded a place for participants to reflect on the large political challenges of the day and the responses to them – such as the Movement for Black Lives Platform. Reproductive Justice is about the many intersections in our lives, and plenaries allowed some opportunity to give voice to our hopes and strategies to tackle the injustices many participants experience on a daily basis.

In addition to community workshops, an invite-only policy session brought together 25 decision makers, advocates and community members to hear stories that deepen understanding of the challenges facing reproductive health equity in Oregon and identified advocacy opportunities for leadership. This session was essential in helping to lay groundwork for the reproductive health policy proposal moving forward in the 2017 Legislative Session.

“Such powerful stories, I cried. Really helped me to understand connection between immigration and reproductive justice.”

A special reception gave participants time to meet, chat and share food together—while including leadership in the community who were unable to attend the day-long trainings. The evening featured a special premier of a performance piece based on the stories collected through the We are BRAVE program that explore the reasons why reproductive justice is needed. Portland artists and professors, Dr. Roberta Hunte and Kate Duffly, worked with six We are BRAVE participants-turned-performers to bring to life the emotional, financial, and human costs that form the obstacles to our pursuit of justice.

Staff from organizations in Nevada, Colorado, Utah and Washington came together for an all-day workshop for leaders that Transgender Law Center and Western States Center have talked with over the last year about the intersections of reproductive, transgender and immigrant justice. In the afternoon, we also explored the new tactics of the religious right using “Religious Refusals” to halt essential services for these communities lifting up the recent Political Research Associates Report, “When Exemption is the Rule.” It was an engaging day and strong interest among those present to continue the conversation to build better partnerships between the organizations working among these communities. Transgender Law Center and Western States continue to explore funding opportunities for this program. 

We are BRAVE participating Organizations are APANO, CAPACES Leadership Institute, International Center for Traditional Childbearing, Oregon Latino Health Coalition, Mano a Mano Family Center, and Momentum Alliance.

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