Friday, December 5, 2008

An Extemely Overdue Recap...Sex, Activism, and Shelby Knox!

So this recap is long overdue, as the event I'm about to share with you happened on September 27th. Yes, I know, it is clear that I am just trying to fill space and time, as Cara, our usual blogger goddess, is taking a break for a bit. But stay with me here! I did mean to post about this way back then. The event I'm referring to is the Stronger. Together. Conference, a regional conference we hosted to bring advocates from across Western, Central, and South Central NYS together to learn and share organizing skills and gear up for a really exciting fall! It was actually the same weekend that Cara went out in the field in South Dakota. So she was "boots on the ground" there and we were back home rallying our own troops for reproductive justice. The conference was co-sponsored with PP, PP-Southern Finger Lakes, PP-Mohawk Hudson, PP-Western NY, and Family Planning Advocates of NYS. Talk about community organizing!

Eighty people showed up for a jam-packed schedule including workshops with titles like “Lobbying your Legislators 101,” “The Personal is Political,” and “Religion, Morality & Reproductive Choice.” Guest presenters included the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, Empire State Pride Agenda, Genesee Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, Family Planning Advocates of NYS, and speakers from all co-sponsoring Planned Parenthood affiliates.

One of the favorites from the first breakout session was “Talk Back,” an interactive messaging training that taught how to respond to tough questions in conversation with family, friends, colleagues, and peers. “Rallies, Protests, Rights, and Responsibilities” in the second breakout gave useful advice when attending or organizing a public visibility event about legalities and rights of advocates in public space. The third breakout was my favorite--the "Reproductive Justice for All" workshops. The three sessions offered adddressed the histroy of religion and choice, the connection between LGBT rights and reproductive rights, and the social implications of advanced reprogenetic technologies.

The highlight of the day for me, anyway, was our keynote speaker, Shelby Knox. You probably know Shelby from the documentary about her advocacy work in high school for comprehensive sex ed and LGBT rights, The Education of Shelby Knox. Shelby is older now and just as outspoken, smart, and cool. She travels the country as a nationally-known youth organizer and educatory, feminist activist, and blogger. Shelby spoke enthusiastically about the reproductive justice movement, her personal journey in becoming a feminist and an activist, and the vital role young adults have in building the reproductive justice movement.
As we now know, the Stronger. Together. Conference kicked off a very busy and extremely emotional fall for community organizers and advocates of reproductive justice. Many of the us took the skills we learned and used them to organize on college campuses and in our communities. Plans are already on the table to hold a similar event next year. If you weren't there this year, I really hope you'll join us in 2009.

1 comment:

Alisa said...

OMG, that event was so awesome! I was there. Thank you for putting on such a great event!