Oct 062010
Authors: Emily Johnson

Mia Mingus is a self-proclaimed liberation worker.

She brings attention to disability justice, race, reproductive justice, gender, queer liberation, transformative justice, transracial and transnational adoption, multiple oppressed identities and multi-issue politics though her writing and speaking engagements around the country.

And on Wednesday, Mingus addressed the Woman At Noon audience on the topic of reproductive justice.

She presented “Growing a Reproductive Justice Movement in Georgia,” a project she worked on as former co-director of Atlanta-based SPARK Reproductive Justice Now in Atlanta.

“I could talk non-stop about reproductive justice for a month straight and still not be done,” Mingus said. “It’s so incredibly complex.”

Instead, she presented an hour-long overview of the evolution of reproductive health, beginning with the fight for choice, privacy and advocacy.

“It’s not just about abortion anymore,” Mingus said. “Fighting for the right to choose what we do with our bodies was a start.”

Movements centered on reproductive rights transitioned into campaigns for more access to education about reproductive issues and body health.

“Rights and education seemed to be available to upper class white women,” Mingus said. “Women of color were being ignored.”

Now, Mingus recognizes the urgency and barriers for oppressed communities to work together and build alliances to improve the quality of reproductive health.

“We need to find the causes of inequality,” she said. “Why don’t’ rape victims have access to contraception? For example, justice means seeing the connections between things that happen and why they happen.”

Mingus paused midway through her presentation and asked, “are we doing OK, this can get pretty heavy?” She then went on to stress that changes can’t be counted on to happen at the policy level.

“It’s not that government involvement isn’t good, that’s great,” Mingus said. “It’s just that most people don’t have access to that, and if you are working in policy, you’re probably not talking to those working in the clinics.”

Reproductive justice involves everything from women’s rights to not give birth or their right to bear children, to raise children and to choose what kind of children they want to bear. It involves child welfare services, health awareness, access to resources and services, policy and general quality of life.

“If you live in a hostile environment, your health may be your last concern,” Mingus said. “And what good is a clinic if you can’t access it because you’re working or don’t have transportation.”

She explained that there are many communities within one community that are marginalized and face control and discrimination which affect the overall reproductive health of the community.

“We need to be able to understand the complexity of all this and collaborate in the same way,” Mingus said.

Sexual Assault Education Coordinator Monica Collins, from the Office of Women’s Programs and Studies, was thrilled to have Mingus as a speaker in this week’s series.

“This is a really important topic,” Collins said. “All the sessions are really great though.”

“These wouldn’t happen without the input of the community,” she said. “Give us your suggestions for topics you’d like to learn about. This is for you.”

The Women At Noon series is sponsored by the Office of Women’s Programs and Studies at CSU. It takes place every Wednesday at noon, free of charge and open to the public.

Staff writer Emily Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Upcoming Women at Noon events

Oct. 13: “Women and Attention Deficits,” LSC Rm. 208
Oct. 20: “Say Yes to Life,” understanding inner wisdom, LSC Rm. 220-22
Oct 27: “Keepin’ It Reel,” race and gender in mainstream media, LSC Rm. 220-22
Nov. 3: Native Women’s Circle
Nov. 10: Intersex and Transgender Panel, LSC Rm. 220-22
Nov. 17: “Domestic Violence in America,” LSC Rm. 220-22

 Posted by at 5:40 pm

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