(From The Campus Lantern – February 27, 2014)
As I stated last in last semester’s installments of “Campus Action Corner,” I am currently taking part in an internship called Campus Action through Planned Parenthood of Southern New England with another Eastern student, Deanna Jimenez. As interns, our jobs are to be voices for reproductive justice on Eastern’s campus. Reproductive justice mixes reproductive rights with social justice – we advocate for freedom in reproduction and reproductive health for every social class, gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religion, etc.
There are a few dates in March to keep in mind that pertain to reproductive justice. First off, March is National Women’s History Month. The National Women’s History Project (NWHP) states that the purpose of National Women’s History Month is to recognize “the achievements of women in all facets of life – science, community, government, literature, art, sports, [and] medicine.” Many women, especially multicultural women, are overlooked in mainstream American history, so National Women’s History Month aims to write these women back into history (www.nwhp.org). Deanna and I are planning on holding an event commemorating women in history; we’ve yet to pick a definite date for the event, but we will keep you posted.
March is also National Endometriosis Awareness Month. According to the Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMA) website, endometriosis is “a disorder in which the endometrial tissue, or the inner lining of the uterus, migrates to areas outside of the uterus, most commonly the ovaries and Fallopian tubes.” Endometriosis can be a painful, fatal disease so it is important to spread awareness to support those who suffer from it.
March 8th is International Women’s Day. According to the official International Women’s Day website, the holiday has been observed since the early 1900s. Traditionally, men honored the women in their lives by giving them flowers and small gifts. The deeper meaning of the holiday is to commemorate the achievements that women have made in history, including greater legislative rights, rights to attend university, and overall more visible public women role models for young folks. In the United States, however, women still do not have pay equality with men and women are not present in politics or business professions as much as men. Furthermore, globally and nationally, “women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men” (www.internationalwomensday.com). International Women’s Day honors women – all that they have overcome, and all that they are still fighting for.
March 10th is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. According to the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) website, the purpose of this day is “to offer support and hope, reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS, and empower women and girls to embrace the theme ‘Share Knowledge. Take Action.’” There are a few actions that can be taken in order to embrace the theme: Get tested and know your status; educate your peers; seek care and treatment if you are HIV-positive; prevent new infections; host and participate in meet-ups across the country; and invite others to participate in National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (www.womenshealth.gov).
In addition, March 10th is also National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. According to Planned Parenthood’s website, the tradition started in 1997. March 10th is the “anniversary of the assassination of Dr. David Gunn, the first abortion provider murdered.” The purpose of the day is to “show your support for safe and legal abortion services and the heroes who provide them” (www.plannedparenthood.org). The day is an important one, in order to honor not only Dr. David Gunn, but every individual who provides abortions to folks. Deanna and I are planning on tabling in the Student Center on this day. We will have a card for folks to sign to show their gratitude for abortion providers.
Finally, March 28th is Back Up Your Birth Control Day. According to the official website, “Back Up Your Birth Control” is a national campaign to expand access to emergency contraception (EC) by increasing public education and awareness.” The day has been observed since the early 2000s, and the campaign is a project of the National Institute for Reproductive Health.
Deanna and I will be on campus this year putting on different events centered on reproductive justice. For each event, we are going to be collaborating with a student club on campus, the National Organization for Women (NOW). NOW meetings are Mondays at 6PM in the Student Center in room 107. We’re excited to work together with everyone on campus again this semester, and we look forward to hopefully seeing you at NOW meetings and Campus Action events! Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.