Organizations collaborate for first Reproductive Justice Week

Three organizations have partnered together to host Macalester’s first Reproductive Justice Week, which begins this Monday.

The newly-renamed Mac Activists for Reproductive Justice, Proud Indigenous People for Education (PIPE) and Black Liberation Affairs Committee (BLAC) are jointly hosting a series of events next week designed to raise awareness for reproductive justice at Macalester and start a conversation on campus about related issues.

Mac Activists for Reproductive Justice co-chair Chris DiCesare ’15 said he hopes this week will spur a discussion about reproductive justice.

According to DiCesare, reproductive justice emerged as a term in 1994 and developed at the intersection of reproductive rights and social justice. SisterSong, a reproductive justice collective for women of color, defines reproductive justice as “the right to have children, not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments.”

The week will begin on Monday with a dinner panel of students discussing what reproductive justice is and how it relates to their lives.

“We have some great student panelists that we can hope start a conversation about how we as students define reproductive justice and how we see it in our lives,” DiCesare said.

On Tuesday, there will be a screening of the film “Young Lakota” in JBD at 7 p.m. The documentary explores reproductive justice playing out in the Oglala Sioux tribe. Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female President of the Oglala Sioux tribe, challenged a strong anti-abortion law passed by South Dakota, and the film explores how that challenge played out.

According to PIPE co-chair Abaki Beck ’15, Mac Activists for Reproductive Justice reached out to PIPE about co-sponsoring the film. Beck is excited for how the film can introduce the topic of reproductive justice on campus among different groups.

“Hopefully it will be educational not only in terms of reproductive justice, but also about American Indians, since we’re a group that is so often overlooked on campus and in discussions of reproductive justice in general,” Beck said.

Beck continued to say that “[reproductive justice] impacts so much of how we [as] a society function; how we define family, what impact female-bodied individuals have over their own bodies, et cetera. But I think that discussions on reproductive justice are often from an upper-class/white perspective, so I’m really glad that Mactivists are collaborating with us and BLAC to expand that discussion and be more inclusive.”

On Wednesday, the groups will host a wheel-spinning event in the Campus Center, with the chance to earn a prize.

Thursday will feature the week’s keynote performance by Colored Girls Hustle at 7 p.m. in Kagin. The group will perform from their mixtape and then host a discussion about how reproductive justice is integrated in their artistic work.

Friday will feature transportation to a performance of the one-woman show “On the way to Timbuktu” at the Penumbra Theater. As a result of Mac Activists for Reproductive Justice’s collaboration with BLAC, the organizations will be offering free tickets and busing to the show.

The organizers of the week are excited for the reflection they hope this event will incur.

“We hope that Reproductive Justice Week will be a great opportunity for us to learn with the entire campus about what reproductive justice means and how it looks in our lives, both at Mac and off-campus,” DiCesare said.