Shifting the Future of Reproductive Justice

Something revolutionary is happening in Providence and black women, indigenous women, women of color and trans people are at the center of it, where we belong.  

On March 9th, a large group of people from all backgrounds came together at First Unitarian Church of Providence on a Friday night.  They came not to worship, but to listen and learn about this thing called reproductive justice or RJ for short, as told by the leader of SisterSongMonica Simpson.

Monica is a lovely, welcoming, queer black woman who sung her way into my heart the moment she opened what I thought would be a lecture, but ended up being a come-to-Jesus epiphanic moment, with a song that gave me chills.  From there, Monica launched into her stories and how important it is for us all to acknowledge that every one of us has a story to tell and experiences that have shaped who and what we are. The mission of SisterSong is to connect the dots for people on how and why we must dismantle white supremacy in order for all people to be able to live our best lives using intersectional black feminism and reproductive justice as the lens.

So what is Reproductive Justice?

“SisterSong defines Reproductive Justice as the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” We live multi-issue lives, so the fight for reproductive rights can not and should not stop at abortion rights.  As black, brown, indigenous and trans folx, just by living in our bodies we face different challenges and are afforded or shut out of different opportunities. We left Friday night activated and ready to take a deeper dive into how to utilize this new understanding in our activism and advocacy work.

On Saturday morning, a smaller group of fifty made up of Leaders of Color and Allies in Solidarity Organizing reconvened for an all-day training, Reproductive Justice 101, with Monica Simpsonfacilitating again.  RJ has been developed from the works of black feminists past and present from Loretta RossAudre Lorde and the Combahee River Collective to Kimberle Crenshaw. For all the newfound focus on intersectionality or intersectional feminism,  we so often get it wrong. It has been co-opted into a catch-all phrase akin to inclusion or diversity. We forget the term was coined by a black feminist, Kimberle Crenshaw, to address the levels of oppression that are distinct to black women for being both black and women.  Watch her amazing TedTalk here:

Understanding reproductive justice was a game changer for so many of us who attended. RJ, allows for those intersecting identities and human rights to be acknowledged and fought for in a holistic way.  Through a reproductive justice lens, we are able to make the connections necessary to advocate for all people, especially the most marginalized by the systems of cis-hetero normative white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism.  Radical relationships must be cultivated between people of color and white allies in solidarity organizing. However, the most marginalized shall lead, which means people will be called in to check their privilege and continually center black and indigenous and trans people.  Those who have levels of privilege that blind them to the struggles of others, should not and will not lead the way for long lasting change to free us all. Understanding white supremacy and power dynamics is key in this work and everyone will be called to shift and dismantle them both.

We all have the inalienable human right to freedom and control over our own bodies.  This means it is our human right to decide for ourselves if or when we choose to become parents.   If we are parents, it is our human right to parent our children as we wish and be free from the oppressive conditions that white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism foster that endanger black and brown children daily.  Reproductive rights, historically, have focused on the cis-hetero white women’s right to choose and have a safe abortion. Reproductive Justice incorporates that fight but opens it up and exposes all the ways that black and indigenous people have had to  fight for bodily autonomy against a government that seeks to deny people of color access to their rights. Unequal access to equitable employment and wages means too many women lack the funds necessary to obtain, and often travel for, an abortion. The “choice” promised by Roe v Wade is no choice at all for the most marginalized women.

Freedom from Violence

is

Reproductive Justice

Freedom from all forms of violence and oppression are encompassed in the fight for reproductive justice. Freedom from domestic violence, economic violence, racial violence, environmental racism and violence, gun violence, and state sanctioned police violence are all fundamental human rights that reproductive justice extends to include.  Two days with Monica Simpson, SisterSong and reproductive justice had the attendees ready to integrate RJ into our work and recognize how present it already is in our daily lives. So what’s next?

Next Steps

As we went around the room, we shared what came up for us in this transformative experience.   We made commitments to ourselves and each other to bring RJ into our activism, our advocacy work and into our  respective communities. We acknowledged that we are in a moment of shifting culture and that we can play a role in making that shift focus on those of us with the least access and privilege.  We pledged to seek out and cultivate radical relationships that centered the most marginalized. We exchanged cards and phone numbers. We talked about the future we were living into and creating together.  This future is black and brown and indigenous and trans and gender non-conforming. This future is intersectional and uplifts the voices and experiences of the most marginalized. This future is free of violence and grounded in reproductive justice and human rights, for all.


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KILLING GEORGINA IS CREATING POETRY AND PROSE TO HEAL AND ACHIEVE METAPHYSICAL LIBERATION.

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PushBlack Takes You to School…

from your Messenger app.  Opera Snapshot_2018-03-20_112022_www.messenger.com.png

I believe I have shared about this before, but here goes, again. This time in a more official capacity.

Sign Up for PushBlack on Facebook today.  You will get history lessons sent directly to your messenger inbox regularly.  But not just any history lessons.  Take this entry on Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, Did you Know That FDR’s New Deal Was Racist?

PushBlack contextualizes the racist policies inherent in The New Deal. FDR and The New Deal are typically praised for pulling America out of the Great Depression, however, that was not true for black people.  Roosevelt’s New Deal actively hurt black people by allowing employers to pay blacks less and kept black people from homeownership.

These are the true legacy of FDR’s New Deal that black people are still fighting.  When we talk about dismantling white supremacy, this is what we are talking about.  Truth is power and power is liberation.  Know your truth and don’t be afraid to stand in it and for it, daily.


 

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KILLING GEORGINA is creating poetry and prose to heal and achieve metaphysical liberation. 


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Gratitude is good, gratuity is better. If you appreciate the content, the emotional labor, the value added by holding space for and amplifying the lives and experiences of women and femmes of color, hit me up here.

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#PoetsOfInstagram

[Image description: screenshot of the Instagram profile page of {Nha Nomi} https://www.instagram.com/killing.georgina/.]


I’ve joined the ranks of amazing writers like nayyirah.waheed using #poetsofinstagram, #spilledink, #blackpoets and numerous other hashtags of which I am quickly becoming acquainted. I have even created my own #eggshellfreepoetry and #killinggeorgina.

I am posting image versions of my shorter poetic pieces along side reposts to amplify other artists, writers and marginalized voices.

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Join me @killing.georgina and follow the hashtags:

#eggshellfreepoetry, #blackpoets, #blackpoetry, #blackart, #poetsofinstagram, #spilledink, #wordporn, #blm, #blacklivesmatter, #unapologeticallyblack, #blackwomen, #personalispolitical

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www.killing-georgina.org/shop

Killing Georgina is creating poetry and prose to heal and achieve metaphysical liberation.

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Gratitude is good, gratuity is better. If you appreciate the content, the emotional labor, the value added by holding space for and amplifying the lives and experiences of women and femmes of color, hit me up here.


 

 

 

#BuyfromBlackWomen #SupportBlackArt

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Gratitude is good, gratuity is better. If you appreciate the content, the emotional labor, the value added by holding space for and amplifying the lives and experiences of women and femmes of color, hit me up here.


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Change the Page

timeforchange.jpeg

I am not your pusher

I am not your whore

I will not stand aside and hold the door

while you climb

and push me to the margins

skip my footnote

ignore my humanity

take the credit and more

I will not sit back and hide my pain

while you continue to

slander my name,

steal my flame

A desire for

equality, equity, fairness

you fake.

My fire, my heart

Our creations, our art

You take.

 

 

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Self Care: Sing Until the Burning Stops

Originally posted on Patreon.com/KillingGeorgina on August 14, 2017


photo via Playstation.com

Not much personal writing has been happening on my end. Scheduling, agendas, emails, notes, to do lists, social media blurbs; that’s about all I have been able to tap out these days. I’m organizing a sister march to the March 4 Racial Justice in DC on 09/30/17 to happen here in the capital city of little Rhody. This requires amounts of socializing that are draining me to my limits. In a way, I think organizing suits me. I can put my all into planning and executing in a deeply focused strategic way as long as there is a clear end goal in sight. Small signposts of tasks completed that may help to push the larger goal of liberation from white supremacy. This march is one of the sign posts. I’m pushing through and we are going to make it happen in solidarity in RI and DC and NY and NJ and OK and wherever else…not sure of all the sister city/states participating yet. This morning, I felt like putting down some thoughts, all stream-of-consciousness-like.

My house is a mess and my kids are watching WAY TOO MUCH TV! But it’s summertime so *shrugs in melanin*. I do make sure Big is reading and Little is STILL potty training. But housework is down to the bare necessities as the moment, which means living amongst clutter and more dust than is probably healthy. Summer is hard already since we have to recreate a routine for our days that don’t revolve around school drop off and pick up. Mommy gets to switch hats and play cruise director for two instead of chauffeur and household manager. Interwoven between my meeting needs and endless conference calls, I am bringing the kids to parks and playgrounds and splash pads and pools and other fun summer stuff. Needless to say, both Big and Little are a little out of sorts from being dragged around to meetings or dropped off at my parents’ so I can go alone. They seem less bothered by staying home with daddy for nighttime meetings, except for the one time that Little stood at the door and cried. For the most part, their bedtime route is maintained on those nights and they only miss mommy a bit. Daddy/Hubby has been amazing and supportive and loving.

I am tapped out and in need of self care that I can’t afford. So instead I have decided my refuge will be to sing on the top of my lungs as long and as often as I possibly can to clear my throat chakras (whatever those are). I even got the husband to drag out the old Wii American Idol Karaoke game so I can sing my heart out to “canned” applause and “I’m feelin’ you dawg” responses from animatronic Randy. Singing helps to shake free all the hurt and anger and fear and sadness that sits in the back of my throat burning like a fireball. Plus, singing is $FREE.99 and I don’t need to make an appointment or carve out time to do it. I just try to restrain myself in more public places than the inside of my moving car. Maybe I’ll even sing today while I do some much needed vacuuming and dusting around my house between answering emails and instant messages, posting updates and calls to action on FB and Twitter for M4RJ, M4RJRI, RO, KG (and my own page and other groups I admin), meals and other necessities for the kids and hubby, plan and organize and delegate and outreach and learn and grow and drink enough water.

photo via playstation.com

I’m vacillating between Joe Crocker’s version of With a Little Help From My Friends and Adele power ballads playing in my head…”lending me your ear. I’ll try not to sing out of key.” I can be “a little pitchy dawg”…again, more *shrugs in melanin*. But I digress.

Fuck Nazis. Fuck white supremacists. Fuck apathy. Fuck complacency. If the devil is going to take me out, I will not be easily erased. I will go out fighting and singing on the top of my lungs. Both resistance and self care all wrapped up into one solitary action. I’ve been known to make anything into a song with my children. This may end up being my new hook since it keeps running through my head:

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.

It is our duty to win.

We must love each other and support each other.

We have nothing to lose but our chains.” — Assata Shakur


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Gratitude is good, gratuity is better. If you appreciate the content, the emotional labor, the value added by holding space for and amplifying the lives and experiences of women and femmes of color, hit me up here.

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