This past October, we made our way to Atlanta to attend SisterSong’s Let’s Talk About Sex! conference, the biggest reproductive justice conference in the country.
SisterSong was started in 1997 by 16 women of color-led organizations that “recognized that we have the right and responsibility to represent ourselves and our communities, and the equally compelling need to advance the perspectives and needs of women of color.” The organization fights for reproductive justice, which is defined 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. For more than 20 years, SisterSong has been working to educate people about reproductive justice and ensure people of color have the full array of resources to raise healthy families (if having families is what they want for themselves).
This year’s theme was Accountability, Transcendence, and Liberation, and participants came together to learn how to advance reproductive health, rights, and justice in their communities. Throughout the conference, organizers made connections and improved our collective ability to advance reproductive justice together.
There was a particular quote by Stacey Abrams during her keynote speech that really resonated with us: “Health care is a RIGHT. Not a privilege. People don’t deserve to die because they were born poor.” We #Fight4HER because we know that the most vulnerable communities (low income, rural, and LGTBQI+) are the ones that are hit hardest and fastest by policies like Trump’s Global Gag Rule. Up to 31,000 women die every year from complications of unsafe abortion. The Global Gag Rule is causing clinics to close, contraceptive supplies to dwindle, mobile health deliveries to end, costs to patients to rise, and an increase in rates of unsafe abortion and maternal mortality. Everyone, everywhere deserves access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare.
Being in a space where they majority of attendees were women of color who cared deeply about reproductive health, rights, and justice was incredible. Artist Staceyann Chin summed up the power in the room perfectly during a reading of her poetry: “I’m in this room with firestarters.”
We have both been organizers on the #Fight4HER campaign for almost two years. We have been organizing volunteers in our communities, leading activist trainings, lobbying elected officials, working with coalition partners, and building the people power to ensure access to reproductive health care for everyone. We can’t wait to take all we learned at Let’s Talk About Sex! back into our communities to help end Trump’s Global Gag Rule once and for all.