People have a right to make decisions about their own lives. That should be obvious, but time and again we’ve seen efforts to mandate what people can and can’t do with their bodies. Some conservative legislators, for example, want to enforce a genital-centric view of gender that totally erases trans, intersex, and gender nonconforming Americans. Efforts to limit or even eliminate access to sex education, contraception, and abortion services are on the rise across the country, too.
Folks who believe in reproductive freedom and the right of people to have their identities respected are standing against these efforts. In this week’s forecast, we’re offering some ways to get informed and involved in defending people’s rights to just live their lives.
If there’s something on the horizon in your area that you’d like to see featured in the MTV News Social Justice Forecast, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
All Month Long:
Everywhere: Support Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood provides indispensable health services, including STD testing, prenatal care, contraception, and abortion. This weekend, a group called Protest Planned Parenthood (real original, y’all) is holding their first annual nationwide demonstration against the organization. On the fourth Saturday of April from here on out, they plan to protest at PP offices all over the country.
Losing Planned Parenthood would affect millions of people’s access to vital medical resources. You can push against this tide of opposition to reproductive rights by donating to Planned Parenthood, declaring #IStandWithPP on social media, and keeping up with campaigns to protect the organization. You can find your local chapter on PP’s website or call 1-800-230-PLAN. Even though there may be some stormy weather on Saturday for reproductive rights, we can rise above to where the sun is always shining.
We've got a thunderstorm of support for trans folks heading for Columbus, Ohio, and strong winds of change are making things a little greener in Jersey City. Across the country, expect hurricanes of reproductive justice and extended periods of black sunshine over several metropolitan areas.
Saturday, April 23
Jersey City, New Jersey: Support a local revolution through food and community building at the 4th Annual Sustainable Living and Empowerment Conference.
1 p.m. — 5 p.m.
2641 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Jersey City, NJ 07306
A bunch of organizations, from local businesses to advocacy groups for sustainable food and environmental justice, are converging for this one-day conference. Headed by Newark Science and Sustainability Inc., this is a chance for folks to participate in community-led roundtable discussions and find other opportunities to help build a green and sustainable future — the kind that benefits everyone. Registration is free but required since space is limited. Food is included with registration. The winds of change are blowing for a greener tomorrow in New Jersey!
Monday, April 25
Gary, Indiana: Learn about the importance of direct action at the Direct Political Action Teach-In.
6 p.m. — 8 p.m.
Gary, IN 46408
Direct action through protest and civic engagement is critical for lasting social change. Black Lives Matter Gary is hosting an evening intended to educate folks about the history and realities of political engagement beyond electoral politics. Find out what it means to be engaged in direct action, how effective it is, and how you can make a difference. The event is open to the public. Nothing promises clearer skies quite like knowledge and solidarity, so go get some of that sunshine for your mind!
Thursday, April 28
Chicago, Illinois: Get informed about intersectionality at Reproductive Rights: the politics of race, class and gender.
5:30 p.m. — 7 p.m.
300 West Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60654
This panel discussion will be taking a look at how religion and right-wing ideology are used against women and LGBT people of color. Panelists include Camilla Taylor of Lambda Legal, Illinois State Senator Toi Hutchinson, and Ramon Gardenhire of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, addressing how race, class, and gender intersect on the issue of reproductive rights. Registration is free, but you should sign up ahead of time to make sure you get a seat.
Portland, Oregon: Be BRAVE with Leaders for Reproductive Justice.
5:30 p.m. — 7 p.m.
Women's Resource Center
1802 SW 10th Avenue
Portland, OR 97201
Building Reproductive Autonomy and Voices for Equity, or BRAVE, is a cooperative effort to address reproductive justice for women, trans people, and people of color through the leadership of those most affected by the issue. The organization will be holding a panel discussion as part of the Culture and Conversation series hosted by The School of Social Work at Portland State University. Attendees will learn more about the work BRAVE does, and how they build strategies for inclusive work for social change. Seating is limited, so register to attend!
Saturday, April 30
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Embrace the power of young black women at the Young Women's Issues Forum: An African American Perspective
10 a.m. — 3 p.m.
1501 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403
This conference is intended to educate and empower black women and girls ages 12-to-18 by teaching leadership and important life skills. The event includes sessions on activism in art, financial literacy, health, and much more, and will open with an introduction from acclaimed author Duchess Harris. Registration is free and includes lunch for those who attend. The deadline to register is Saturday, April 23.
Friday, May 13 - Sunday, May 15
Columbus, Ohio: Sign up to attend the 8th Annual TransOhio Trans and Ally Symposium.
Meet and Greet at Club Diversity
863 S High Street
Columbus, OH 43206
Saturday 9 a.m. - Sunday 4:45 p.m.
1739 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43210
This annual symposium hosted by TransOhio covers a range of topics, from advocating for trans youth to healthy relationships for trans folk and their partners. Cost of registration varies from $20 for Sunday, $30 for Saturday, $45 for Saturday and Sunday, and $90 for the full symposium. For trans youth under 18, registration is free, and parents can register for $20 to accompany their child! Registration includes an invite to the Friday meet and greet and meals. This is a great way to be a part of the storm of support for trans folks!
The noise of folks opposing justice and equality is only empty thunder roaring, because lightning strikes of change have electrified the air. And whether it’s bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you.