I’m the reproductive justice-HIV law and policy fellow at Positive Women’s Network (PWN) in Oakland, CA. PWN is a national membership body of women living with HIV, inclusive of people of trans experience. My fellowship is sponsored by If/When/How, a national network of attorney and law students dedicated to advancing the right of all people to decide if, when, and how to parent. My area of interest is LGBT rights and so I am particularly interested in the intersection of queer liberation and reproductive justice. I’m currently working on supporting PWN’s ongoing HIV criminalization reform and doing capacity building with PWN’s own cohort of policy fellows.
Take Root: What are some of the challenges of red state reproductive justice activism?
The main challenge is how difficult it can be to find sympathetic legislators to advance reproductive justice-based initiatives. Legislators who might be good advocates do not have the power to move legislation and legislators who do have power are likely not interested in being repro justice advocates.
Take Root: What are the most pressing RJ issues, currently, or on the horizon?
With the administration continuing to attack the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, people of trans experience, and contraception/abortion access, just the general accessibility of competent and affirming care in the future is the most pressing RJ issue I see.
Take Root: Have you been to Take Root before? How many times? Why do you come? Why is a conference like this important?
This will be my first time at Take Root. I think it’s important to recognize and address the unique barriers that exist when it comes to advancing repro justice in red states. Take Root is incredibly important since it gathers advocates and activists together both to exchange information and support each other in the work that we do.
Take Root: What are some ways to get young people involved in RJ?
Young people need to be fully heard and seen and brought to the table in RJ discussions. They should not be sidelined in advocacy because of their age or perceived inexperience. The reality is a lot of young people are already leaders in RJ advocacy whether they think of it as RJ work or not, and they have valuable insight and knowledge arising out of that work.