Reproductive Justice Conference 2011!

Tomorrow kicks off the 30th Anniversary Reproductive Justice Conference, From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom!

PopDev workshops include Progressive Visions for Immigrant Rights, Environmental Justice: Toxic Legacies & Transformative Change, Reproductive Technology & the New Eugenics, The Center of Somewhere: Marginalized Issues in Global Reproductive Health, Indigenous People Organize, Politics of Population Control, and many more.

Want to meet a few of the awesome people presenting?

Mari Villaluna is race, poverty, and indigenous scholar for POOR Magazine,  a poor-people/indigenous people-led non-profit, founded in 1996 by an indigenous mother and daughter who struggled with extreme poverty, incarceration, and criminalization. The organization is grassroots-based, and focuses on providing revolutionary media access, arts, education, and solutions from peoples living in poverty. Mari is a spoken word artist as well as an activist and community organizer, and has worked with the San Francisco Youth Commission as well as POOR Magazine’s Indigenous Peoples Media Project. Mari’s speaking at Making Waves, Breaking News: Media Voices Beyond the Mainstream this Saturday, among other workshops.
Nia Robinson, the conference’s resident climate justice goddess, will be speaking at both the Climate Justice Roundtable and Environmental Justice: Toxic Legacies & Transformative Change. Growing up in Detroit, she discovered that a toxic power plant was making her friend sick, and connected the dots between astronomical asthma rates in her community and environmental factors. Among other epiphanies, she knew she had found her calling. Nia delivered the closing address at this year’s Northwestern University Summit on Sustainability, and has worked with the Service Employees’ International Union, and with community members fighting for environmental justice in her hometown. She is one of eight leaders featured in a new book by Courtney E. Martin entitled Do It Anyway: A New Generation of Activists, which examines the lives of a diverse range of community and political activists.

Christine Harley is a community organizer from Los Angeles, and longtime advocate for labor, civil, and immigrant rights through her work with the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Asian Americans with Disabilities Initiative. She’s also Policy & Programs Director at the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and a critical organizer of the new National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights. Christine will be speaking on the current political attacks on immigrant families and immigrant women’s reproductive freedom in Progressive Visions for Immigrant Rights!

Verónica Bayetti-Flores, senior policy analyst for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, will be speaking on The Environment and Reproductive Health — and a LOT of other panels. At NLIRH, Verónica conducts research and analysis of national policy affecting the sexual and reproductive health and rights of Latinas, and she also writes and speaks about these issues. She began her work in sexual health as an HIV and sexual health counselor at a community clinic, and has since worked to increase access to contraception, fought for paid sick leave, demanded access to safe public space for queer youth of color, and organized in social justice efforts in Wisconsin and New York City. She’s on the boards of the National Coalition for LGBT Health and the National Network of Abortion Funds, and blogs about poverty, wealth, race, gender, and exploitation at Justice con Platanos. Recently, writing for Latinovations, Verónica said, “The truth is that immigration and reproductive justice are inextricably tied, and the health and struggles of immigrant detainees is an area that is particularly ripe for action. Though we envision a world without immigration detention, the reality is that people go through this system daily, and many of them are Latinas.”
Minh Nguyen is the founder and executive director of the Vietnamese Young Leaders Association of New Orleans (VAYLA – NO), a “youth-led, youth organizing and development, community-based organization dedicated to empowering Vietnamese American and underrepresented youth through services, cultural enrichment and positive social change.” Nguyen’s long-term advocacy and organizing efforts have invigorated the political energy of Vietnamese youth in New Orleans to unite, fight, and protect their communities from government-inflicted environmental injustices, such as negligible flood protections planning, water contamination, and the conversion of their largely African American and Vietnamese American community into a toxic dumpsite. Minh’s speaking at Environmental Justice: Toxic Legacies & Transformative Change!

… And that’s just a glimpse of the more than 180 speakers who are headed toward Hampshire College right now, ready to present on more than 70 panels over the next three days. We hope you’re coming, too!

Senti Sojwal works with PopDev as a research and writing assistant… as well as with the student conference organizing volunteer group! She’s a second year student at Hampshire College where she is concentrating on creative writing and race and gender studies. A native New Yorker, Senti is a voracious lover of literature and hopes to someday travel the world in search of light and laughter.



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