Students Lead Reproductive Justice Symposium March 10-11

March 9, 2023

Amanda Nagy

Three people stand in front of a screen with a projected image. The text reads "Reproductive Justice, Looking Forward, Learning from the Past."
The Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies department is hosting a reproductive justice symposium March 10-11.
Photo credit: Alice Koeninger

Visiting scholars and Oberlin student researchers will generate discussions on reproductive health and justice in the post-Roe era during a symposium hosted by the Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (GSFS) Department on March 10 and 11. 

The symposium follows GSFS programming that has included two course modules exploring the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade. The campus community has an opportunity to attend a series of workshops led by invited experts whose work addresses sexual and reproductive health and justice from a variety of multidisciplinary perspectives. 

On Friday, March 10, students will present individual and group research projects from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Center for Engaged Liberal Arts (A-level of Mudd Center). The exhibits will highlight research and creative work that centers on reproductive justice. From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., symposium experts will participate in a roundtable discussion in Craig Lecture Hall. 

On Saturday, March 11, students can choose from seven different pop-up classes that cover a range of topics. Based on seating and demand, participants may sign up for more than one class. The deadline to sign up is March 10. All classes will be held in CELA.

Beginning at 10 a.m., Ash Williams will lead “Increasing Abortion Access 101.” A reproductive justice organizer, Williams advocates for abortion access by funding abortions and training abortion doulas.

Three concurrent workshops will be offered at 11 a.m.:

  • Chris Barcelos will lead “Mobilizing Coalitional Politics to Fight Back Against Banning Abortion, Criminalizing Trans Healthcare, and Maintaining White Supremacy.” The workshop will help participants to make connections between the Dobbs decision, anti-trans legislation, and bans on critical race theory in schools. Barcelos is Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the author of Distributing Condoms and Hope: The Racialized Politics of Sexual Health.
  • Tory Sparks ’17 will ask “What is the role of sex education post-Dobbs?” and will cover the basics of the career path to becoming a professional sex educator. Sparks is a Michigan-based independent sex educator, facilitator, consultant, and trainer, and a student at Widener University in the dual degree MSW/ MEd in Human Sexuality Program.
  • From the Multicultural Resource Commons, staff members Katie Graham and NiK Peavy will teach “Parenting with Pride: An Unconventional Guide to Having Children.” The workshop will explore the ways in which different family structures can be formed, such as queer or otherwise “unconventional” ways to become parents, the inequities that may come with the process, and how to navigate them. 

Three workshops will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m.:

  • “So you want to be an advocate?” Led by Jordyn Close and Anastasia (Ana) Martinez, the class will cover different kinds of advocacy. Close is deputy director with Ohio Women's Alliance (OWA) and board president of Abortion Fund Of Ohio, Ohio’s only statewide abortion fund, providing practical support across the Midwest. Martinez is senior campaign manager for OWA.
  • Oberlin Doula Collective and the Reproductive Justice Alliance present “Understanding Abortion Doula Work: History and Reproductive Justice.” The Oberlin Doula Collective is a student, community, and volunteer-run organization based in Oberlin (not affiliated with Oberlin College). The group is dedicated to providing free and compassionate support to people who are terminating their pregnancies.
  • Margaret Velto ’22, an outreach coordinator for the Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, will lead “Not All Religions: An Interfaith Lens on Reproductive Justice.” Velto will discuss how different faith traditions, including Christianity, protect and support access to choice and freedom of decisions.

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