Hi everyone and thanks to the AARCC staff for letting me guest blog today. I’m Joy Messinger, a proud alum of UIC’s Jane Addams College of Social Work. I work in the sexual health field and am part of the Chicago Chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, otherwise known as NAPAWF-Chicago.
This past Thursday, March 1st, AARCChat hosted a Reproductive Justice Community Conversation with NAPAWF-Chicago and the UIC Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Asian Americans. If you missed the event or weren’t able to come because you had class, keep reading to learn how your voice can be heard and included!
The Reproductive Justice Community Conversation at AARCC was part of a yearlong project funded by Chicago Foundation for Women’s Silk Fund to explore the needs & priorities of AAPI women and girls in the Chicago area. With this project, NAPAWF-Chicago also hopes to gather information about how AAPI women and their allies define reproductive justice and view its importance in their lives.
Thursday’s event was well attended by a diverse group of undergraduate students, graduate students, and staff from UIC’s various schools and departments. Most attendees were interested in learning about reproductive justice (RJ) but were not very familiar with the concept, something that I found exciting. For someone like me, who is surrounded by RJ at work and in my community activism, it was a great reminder of why NAPAWF-Chicago is doing this project: to not only increase awareness of RJ but to also consider the many ways that it might not be a familiar term.
During the discussion, attendees shared what reproductive justice meant to them. Answers ranged from abortion rights to negative media portrayals, from questioning gender roles to justice during the birthing experience, from recognizing same-sex relationships and LGBTQ identity to building solidarity with other women of color. For a group who admitted to not knowing a lot about RJ before Thursday’s event, I thought they were particularly insightful when talking about concepts that are part of the RJ core. It was also great to have everyone’s input about the important needs and priorities of Chicago’s API women and girls, including culturally relevant domestic violence services, immigration equality, and legal assistance.
As I said earlier, just because you weren’t able to attend doesn’t mean your voice can’t still be heard! The NAPAWF-Chicago Reproductive Justice Project continues through May and we have an online survey you can participate in too. Even better, everyone who takes the online survey will be entered in a drawing to win a gift card or fun NAPAWF swag!
If you have any questions about NAPAWF-Chicago’s Reproductive Justice Project or want to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.