If you are committed to reproductive rights and social justice, this is THE place to be. On April 7-9, 2006, people will be gathering at Hampshire College [in Amherst, Massachusetts] to unite for reproductive justice. For this 20th annual reproductive rights conference, we are expecting hundreds of participants from the US and abroad and are offering more than 30 workshops and trainings. Conference speakers address reproductive freedom as it relates to a broad range of social justice initiatives including economic justice, healthcare reform, racial equality, peace, freedom from violence, youth liberation, civil liberties, and LGBTQ rights.
Over the weekend, you will learn about and share organizing experiences and strategies, broaden your understanding of reproductive rights, and make connections with other related movements and issues.
The conference is free and open to everyone. Whether you have been working on reproductive rights for decades or are new to the movement, you belong here! The conference is a forum for learning and networking for people of all ages and from a diversity of backgrounds.
This may be the best annual student activist conference in the U.S. It is also a rare opportunity to learn about and discuss the religious right. The conference is a model for how other organizations could and should include such information and analyses in their conferences. The organizers believe that it is necessary to have a clear grasp of the opposition in order to better defend and advance reproductive rights and related concerns. While expertise about opponents of reproductive rights is woven into a number of sessions, two put a particular spotlight on the role of the right.
Resisting the Right
This workshop explains the relationship between the anti-abortion movement in the U.S. and the broader right-wing movement. Speakers will give an overview of the right and address a range of issues including the following: African Americans and women in the anti-abortion movement, efforts to find “common ground” between abortion rights supporters and their opponents, conservative attacks on LGBTQ communities, and the movement for abstinence-only sex education.
On Sunday there will also be an overview of How the Right took Power presented by Pam Chamberlain of Political Research Associates.
Conference organizer Marlene Gerber Fried told me for an article I wrote about the conference a few years ago:
There are very few places where a young person might get a broad vision of reproductive rights,” Fried explains. “If you just focus on abortion, it not only seems so beleaguered, but it is so separated, that you feel you will never win.”
Fried says that one of the conference goals is that participants come away “feeling inspired by understanding the need for allies and to create a movement that is capable of winning and expanding women’s rights.”
From Abortion Rights to Social Justice:
Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom
April 7-9, 2006