We need the audacity of our ancestors now. We have too much knowledge and too many resources to continue to have the narrative reshaped and our realities ignored before our eyes. The black community has historically supported bodily autonomy and access to safe and legal abortion. Our history proves that we have led the way in the abortion and reproductive justice movement, and we are influential in policy now. It’s high time we ensure that our influence is accurately reflected and that we celebrate it. This Black History Month, while right-wing pundits will undoubtedly try to co-opt our legacy in service of their agenda, I plan to read up on my history and share those stories from the rooftops. I refuse to allow my ancestors to be silenced and erased, or my own reality and contributions to be ignored, because as Zora Neale Hurston told us, “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”
Read the full article at Salon.com
“You’ll never know how many of the one in three women who’ve had abortions are in your family or circle of friends unless you open the space for conversation and show that you can Stop, Drop, and Listen. You’ll be surprised at what you hear. One story isn’t every story. And we all deserve to be heard in our own words. Take a moment to truly listen.”
October is LGBT History Month – a month dedicated to highlighting and celebrating the history and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movements, historical figures, and legislative accomplishments. Across the United States, communities will be remembering the contributions of Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major, John Maynard Keynes, and Langston Hughes to the impacts of the Stonewall Riots. Last Thursday, the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs (CIPA) held a colloquium with speaker Mario Guerrero, a CIPA ‘09 alum and current Legislative Affairs Director of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1000 in California. Mr. Guerrero spoke about his experience as Government Affairs Director at Equality California, legislating for LGBT issues in the state, particularly, in support of youth empowerment and autonomy in schools.
Mr. Guerrero spoke about his proudest achievement, passing the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, a law that requires California public schools to teach the accomplishments of LGBT individuals and movements and people with disabilities alongside the Civil Rights Movement, women’s liberation, Latin American history, and other under represented communities. Mr. Guerrero also highlighted other laws passed during the same legislative session that increased student protections around gender identity and expression such as the Gender Nondiscrimination Act and access to anti-bullying support through Seth’s Law.
When it came time for questions, one audience member noted that during her time as a teacher in Tennessee, she didn’t know what to do for students looking for LGBT resources due to the state’s attempts at passing bills that bar schools from offering support to LGBT students and most recently, attempts at requiring teachers, nurses, counselors, and other school officials to report students, who asked about such issues, to their parents.
Read the full article at the Cornell Policy Review.
On Sunday, September 29, 2013, I was awarded the Justice Award for Practical Support by ACCESS Women’s Health Justice in Oakland, California, for my service providing housing, rides, and meals to clients and their families traveling 4-5 hours to the San Francisco Bay Area for an abortion appointment. I am deeply honored to have received this award and, more importantly, had the opportunity to serve the ACCESS community and make a difference in someone’s life. Below is video of the award ceremony.
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