Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Movers and Shakers: building this movement.

I'm from a southern town where french heritage lingers in our language mixed with some West African, Native American, and Haitian languages, and Spanish. All my life words that are unique to this region have formed my speech patterns and some might say my thought patterns as well. Since returning here I have come across many people sporting a bumper sticker that reads "Preaux Life". Apparently this sticker is a campaign for the Louisiana Right to Life Federation.

While I rarely do things like visit anti websites, I wanted to check out what the bumper stickers are funding. So they charge $1-$2 for a bumper stickers and I'm guessing the proceeds go to help them develop their "cause". I didn't see any links to the fund where they help mothers with their babies' needs...but I suppose the site made me feel so nauseous that I didn't look hard enough. However, there is a link to a camp, "Camp Joshua," where they train young antis to speak out against abortion and learn how to be anti-choice advocates. This particular camp happens every summer and is funded by the Knights Of Columbus, a group of Catholic Christians that formed based on the ideals of Christopher Columbus and now funds many anti-choice campaigns. Colonialism, racism, sexism, and women's rights is such a labyrinth of history, oppression, and struggle.

I really try not think about antis, even though every time someone wants to know my professional background I have to think about who that person is, and whether I am willing to risk enduring their BS response if they are against abortion. I watched the trailer for the camp and it was hundreds of white kids being taught to "educate people" and bring light to this issue from an anti's perspective. Quite sickening if you ask me.

So I'm thinking, where is our pro-choice camp where we teach young people to empower women to make choices that are conducive to enhancing their lives? My first thoughts are that we just have too much going on in our lives. Survival tends to sap the energy of people who are pro-choice activists and women who know they deserve choice. We are so busy trying to figure out the day-to-day necessities of accessing health care that we do not proactively train young folks to join our movement. Now, my second thought is there are so many forums in which this is possible. I used to teach a comprehensive sex education program, and there are liberal groups of youth involved in organizing movements across the nation.

I want to create a camp N'Zinga, where young people come to learn about how to advocate for women, abortion, justice, and health! A really wonderful woman, who was actually against abortion, said she believes part of the problem women face is that we do not envision ourselves in positions or power or authority. We do not know how to envision ourselves accomplishing goals that might seem out of reach. I am envisioning a place where dynamic young people come together and learn about sexual health, advocacy, or how to start and run an abortion fund, a baby sitting club, a writing group, or a book club. A place to learn activism that is guided by social justice principles that support women's rights and challenge racist, sexist, and classist systems, especially those pertaining to health care.

This is for my grrrls all around the world!


  1. Oh my god, I love this idea! YES PLEASE - I will do it with you. Let me know when you want to start!

  2. PS - I want to share this with everyone but don't know where else to put it:

  3. Choice USA does lots of trainings similar to what you envision. As it often is, it's a matter of money and priorities for major funders, and until they take young people and young women seriously, not to mention women in general, and fund groups like Choice USA, we're going to get the same old same old from the establishment groups. I was very involved with them during college and for several years out of school, and we could definitely use more of them on a national level. Check out Choice USA's trainings at http://www.choiceusa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=84&Itemid=26


This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.