“Let’s Talk About Sex!”, Intersectional Feminism, and Centering Women of Color in Reproductive Justice

groupphotoIn celebration of their twentieth anniversary, the national, Southern-based, and women of color focused organization SisterSong will host their third annual Let’s Talk About Sex! Conference at the Hyatt Regency Center in New Orleans, Louisiana from October 5th to October 8th. 

SisterSong: The National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective began in 1997 as a coalition of sixteen organizations involving women of color from Native American, African-American, Latina, and Asian-American communities. These individuals and organizations recognized a need to center the voices of women of color in reproductive justice work and to ground their activism and advocacy in other social justice movements, intersectionality theory, and the principles of the United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Taken from Jessica Xiao’s article “The White Feminism of the Women’s March is Still on My Mind”, ExtraNewsfeed

image from Jessica Xiao’s article “The White Feminism of the Women’s March is Still on My Mind”, ExtraNewsfeed

First hosted in 2007 in Chicago, Illinois, the Let’s Talk About Sex! Conference proudly serves as the largest reproductive justice conference with numerous speakers, activists, and leaders hosting a variety of panels, workshops, and sessions surrounding reproductive justice, reproductive healthcare access, reproductive rights, and effective movement-building. As SisterSong notes on its website, the 2017 conference focuses on how “we must resist the systems of oppressions that plague our daily lives, reclaim our human right to bodily autonomy, and redefine our futures”, with the conference aptly titled “Resist. Reclaim. Redefine.”
This conference theme proves highly relevant and insightful to both the history of the reproductive justice movement and the current nature of reproductive justice work. Although the movement originated with the work of women of color and transgender folks, the dominant narrative surrounding reproductive rights and healthcare access proves heavily white-centered and cis-focused. From ‘pussy hats’ to the treatment of protesters at the Women’s March on Washington as compared to any Black Lives Matter march, (white) feminism and the fight for reproductive rights possesses a long and firm history of exclusion, erasure, and marginalization.
As this conference and SisterSong as an organization highlights, reproductive rights advocates and activists must operate from an intersectional framework to effectively dismantle systems of oppression and provide individuals with the reproductive rights that we need and we deserve. A failure to recognize all those who exist at the margins and the intersections of oppression will only further perpetuate reproductive oppression.

For more information about the conference, SisterSong as an organization, or to donate to their work, please visit http://www.sistersong.net.

by Amber Thorpe

Amber is a senior at Tulane University studying Anthropology & Political Science.

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