From the May-June 2016 issue of News & Letters
In April in New York, N.Y., an intergenerational coalition of nonprofits and university institutes specializing in social justice for women and girls of color held the first national Black Girl Movement Conference. Its purpose was to ensure that Black girls, whose needs and social contributions are often ignored, are not left out of the current focus on racial social justice. Bringing together artists, activists, educators, policy makers, and Black girl leaders, the conference addressed the barriers they face in education, economic and political equality, and the social biases they face. Workshops included the arts, performance and media as both personal and political expression.
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In Warsaw, Poland, in April, thousands of feminist activists demonstrated at the parliament building against plans by the ruling conservative party to completely ban abortion in order to bring the country’s law into line with Catholic Church law. They also set up a facebook page encouraging women to call, email, or use social media to contact Prime Minister Beata Szydlo about the status of their menstrual periods. They were inspired by Periods for Pence, a feminist group in Indiana sending similar messages to Republican Gov. Mike Pence, who had just signed especially invasive anti-abortion legislation. These laws require women who abort or miscarry to pay for a fetus funeral, allow women to be prosecuted for feticide if they self-abort, and forbid abortion of fetuses with severe abnormalities.
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The student government at the University of California, Berkeley unanimously passed a bill proposing that medical abortions become available on campus through the University Health Services. The bill states that women attending the university may find an abortion to be necessary for them to continue their education. While the university’s director of communications and media relations claimed there was a network of abortion providers in the area, the bill stated that students face time, financial, and travel restrictions in attempting to access this service.