by Gina Gordon, Bloomington Talkline Radvocate
I didn’t know exactly what to expect when K.C. and I began our journey down to Oklahoma for Take Root 2014. I think that some part of me expected that it would function a bit like a support group.
I envisioned small groups of feminists huddled together and discussing money troubles, political problems, and the generally grim state of reproductive rights in red states. I believe in Backline’s mission, and I am committed to reproductive justice, but sometimes the news makes me discouraged and doubtful that others will eventually see the light.
I didn’t know that a few days with a mix of the most incredible people that the fly-over states had to offer was just what I needed to renew my optimism. Whether I was chatting with workers from the South Wind Women’s Center in Wichita or listening to Deon Haywood speak about protecting the rights of sex workers in New Orleans, I was humbled to be in the presence of people who don’t quietly complain about injustice but who simply speak louder.
Presentations by individuals from a huge range of backgrounds and experiences challenged me to consider the role of reproductive justice for groups who may feel marginalized within our movement, such as undocumented workers, the queer community, and incarcerated women. The experience simultaneously expanded my view of reproductive justice while also encouraging me to focus inward on the needs of the reproductive justice community right here in Bloomington.
As we drove back to Indiana, I renewed my commitment to putting my energy towards providing the support that our town desperately needs and ruminating less on the actions of those who disagree. Besides, when the protestors are getting me down, I have some new friends in Louisville who would be happy to walk me straight through.