29 Messages Of Resistance And Resilience For 2019
We begin each year with an assessment and re-commitment to our values.
As a physical manifestation of that commitment, we host our annual State of the Uterus* (SOTU) fundraiser party every January to raise money for nonprofits invested in reproductive justice, menstrual health and community health, while dancing our butts off and learning about local initiatives.
And at SOTU, we stand to dismantle the stigma that prevents all genders and sexes from receiving appropriate reproductive care and health services. We stand to acknowledge and fight against the intersectional issues that affect the health of women and nonbinary people, like access to resources that cover basic needs, systemic racism, transphobia, abuse and violence, sexual miseducation and more. We stand to create spaces that prioritize individual agency and the communication of truthful, responsible information. We stand to decriminalize abortion. We stand for ourselves.
This year, as we prepare for the party, we’ve been asking SOTU 2019’s collaborators what keeps them resilient and what motivates them to resist. Here are the 29 things that inspire them to show up.
1.) “I work at a nonprofit, I sit on two boards, I am a host on a local radio show. I know people are seeing me use my voice and platform to change the world.” — Briona Jenkins (LGBTQIA+ activist and SOTU 2019 speaker)
2.) “I am a woman, I am black, and I am queer. Not only am I having to defeat oppression in many facets, but I also am overcoming my own fertility challenges. Reproductive justice and human rights mean freedom, equality, and respect—three things the government lacks. I have to participate in organizations like #bossbabesATX, because I refuse to complain and not make moves to help.” — Nina Rose Bailey (activist, writer and #BBATX committee member)
3.) ”Don't be afraid to ask. The Universe is crammed full of Yes. It really is.” — Kym Whitehead (organizer of Austin Women’s Rights Rally and SOTU 2019 speaker)
4.) “Think about pads and tampons. We get our periods each month and for most of us, it's quick to pass by a store and grab a box. We forget our privilege. How many women live without access to something as simple as a tampon or pad for their MONTHLY period? How often do we spend time thinking about what others live without that we have easy access to? Why not help others have access to our small luxuries?” — Kristina Gonzalez (#BBATX committee member)
5.) “I only started making political art this year, and it has been an incredible journey. The one thing I've learned is that no one's experience is solitary—there will always be someone somewhere who connects with your experiences and goes through the same journey as you.” — Divya Seshadri (illustrator and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
6.) “Don't be afraid to ask friends and colleagues to help out. Activism is hard work, and it's seldom a one person job. It's better to ask for help early than to risk burnout in the name of ‘not burdening the community.’ It's a much greater burden to the community if you're lost as an activist altogether! Most of the time people will be willing to invest some time and energy to make sure that doesn't happen.” — Andrea Hughes (Austin-based activist and community organizer)
7.) “Saying 'no' to some things is necessary for personal and professional growth—and it’s better for your mental health!” — Akki Brathwaite (artist and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
8.) ”I value reproductive justice because there’s no other option. Every woman and those who defy the binary are unique in their own right and they deserve quality health care and support. Affirming folks and showing up in all realms is how I show up for those I believe in. Allow those who are from marginalized demographics the opportunity to speak for themselves and create platforms that allow them to advocate for themselves.” — Sam Davis (trans activist and SOTU 2019 speaker)
9.) “My grandmother and mother who have both surpassed challenges I can only imagine. My grandmother survived an abusive relationship, almost drowning when she was crossing the river into the Rio Grande Valley and being poor. My mother also survived poverty. She got pregnant with me when she was 18, lived in shelters, left to the Army and is now a police officer. When I’m going through a tough time, I think of their struggles and the opportunities they’ve granted me due to their struggles. I’ve learned, through both of them, to create my own opportunities and mold my doubt into motivation.” — Leslie Barrientos (artist and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
10.) “The Island of Self (mindfulness, stability, calmness ), my community, well-being, my ancestors and fellow chingonas make me resilient.” — Shavone A. Otero (artist and SOTU 2019 DJ)
11.) “Everyone has the right to be who they are as long as they are not harming anyone by their expression. I support patients holistically as they are in clinic, help them feel supported and that I am a safe person to be with.” — Marcy Keefe (clinician at KIND Clinic and SOTU 2019 speaker)
12.) “I’ve learned to drastically redefine what success means to me. I used to have a narrow and conventional vision of success. Once I gave myself permission to pursue the kind of success that felt most authentic to me, my life changed. I no longer feel the need to climb any ladder other than my own.” — Bre (creative founder of Radical Girl Gang and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
13.) “Every person has an inherent right to autonomy over their mind, body, and spirit. It is foundational to the essence of freedom and equality.” — Kristin Marie (tarot artist and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
14.) “I have seen and experienced firsthand, how women, children and marginalized people have been hurt, killed, criminalized, manipulated and denied basic rights including reproductive rights, right here in Texas! These abuses continue to plague the our country and the world, which is the main reason I am committed to providing support, resources and information in my own space and at venues statewide. I wish I was able to travel and do to more! Also, I feel it is important to speak up in private situations to combat injustice and hopefully educate.” — Susan Post (owner of feminist bookstore, Bookwoman, and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
15.) “As a woman of color, I value reproductive justice and human rights because it's evident more every day that we live in a society that doesn't do the same. Reproductive justice to me means not only having adequate resources available to decide whether or not to start a family, but also having societal conditions that create a healthy, happy, thriving environment for all those who decide to build families and others. The fight for reproductive justice and human rights doesn't stop at healthcare. I like to believe that I show people that I believe in reproductive justice and human rights by using the few opportunities I have to spotlight those doing reproductive justice work. My volunteer work thus far has focused mostly on reproductive healthcare but I like to remind people that things like environment justice are reproductive justice, addressing inequities in education is reproductive justice, immigration rights is reproductive justice, and so many other things. It's important to fight for things beyond those that directly affect you.” — Ashley Deno (Planned Parenthood volunteer and SOTU 2019 speaker)
16.) “I do not believe that people should have control over a woman's body. It's simply logic. I also believe that sex workers deserve equal rights.” — Raquel Pena (entrepreneur and SOTU 2019 DJ)
17.) “Motherhood makes me resilient, even on days where I don't necessarily want to be, days where I would like to bury my head in the sand and disappear from the world’s needs. Being able to overcome adversity and statistics as a college-educated African-American young mother has been the epitome of my pride. I've always called myself a phoenix because I somehow always rise from the ashes.” — Jasmine Robinson (founder of Collegiate Mom Coalition and SOTU 2019 speaker)
18.) “I'm learning to be kind to myself. I felt defeated so many times this year. I realized that feeling defeated means I'm going beyond my comfort zone. So, it turns out I'm brave. I thought being brave meant that you confidently dive into things. I still think that. But I also think that being brave means feeling scared and doing it anyway. I’m going into 2019 reminding myself of that.” — Cristina Flores (education rights activist and #BBATX committee member)
19.) “I value reproductive justice and human rights because, duh? Reproductive justice is crucial to a society on a socio-economic level, as well as on an empathetic level. Reproductive justice is one of the basic foundations of human rights. What kind of world is this if we're not striving to support and take care of each other?” — Kelly Dugan (founder of Peach Fuzz magazine and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
20.) “I maintain resilience by reminding myself to just enjoy where I am. I remind myself that whatever I’m going through is a stepping stone for greater things. I try to remain hopeful and happy for the future. I repeat to myself that I am strong, I am fighting, and that I will win. I repeat it until I believe it.” — Juanita Segovia (artist and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
21.) “Reproductive justice means so much more than just being pro-choice! It’s a holistic approach to care that includes things like support for people who want to raise kids (prenatal care, paid parental leave, quality daycare and education for kids, access to healthy food, etc.), pregnancy prevention and queer/trans inclusive healthcare.” — Anne-lise Emig (artist)
22.) “As people we should be able to claim ownership of our bodies. Reproductive justice is a human rights issue. I work in resistance art and outspoken about my beliefs to make sure everyone knows it loud and clear.” — Yocelyn Riojas (voter activist and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
23.) “For me, reproductive justice and human rights are synonymous—especially when we're talking about trans rights. Trans rights are human rights and reproductive justice is owed to trans people just as much as to cis people. Talking about that fact is me showing up for the belief.” — Ezra Edwards (trans rights activist and SOTU 2019 DJ)
24.) “A good sense of humor helps a lot with all the curve balls life likes to throw. Finding something to laugh about, even when things are rough, can really turn the way you feel about a situation around.” — Laney Gilbert (founder of Keep Austin Queer and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
25.) “Practicing gratitude makes me resilient—taking a step back and acknowledging what I've been given and what I've earned. I'm trying to be better about reminding myself that progress is not linear and we are exactly where we're supposed to be.” — Mehek Ahmed (artist and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
26.) “Autonomy is essential. Full personal, mental, emotional, creative autonomy are all impossible without bodily autonomy. This informs most things I do, from making my Pretty Kitty self-defense keychains, to contributing to abortion funds/bail funds/trans healthcare funds, to just trying to be an ask-able/tellable peer and mentor.” — Lindsay Eyth (human rights activist and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
27.) “Be kind and stand up for the rights of all people. I had an abortion and I try to actively speak up about it in order to lessen the stigma. Reproductive rights are intrinsic to human rights. We should all have the autonomy to decide whether we reproduce or not and have control over those circumstances. Human rights—if you don’t value that, we have nothing.” — Jen Rachid (artist and #BBATX committee member)
28.) “Knowing what I and my family have been able to overcome, along with the knowledge of how far we have yet to go, gives me the ability to know how much I can stand, and how important the work I do is.” — Deeksha Srinath (#BBATX committee member)
29.) “What makes me resilient is my ability to walk in my purpose and embrace change. I do not allow situations to control my life. Tough times are only temporary and don’t define your character. How you handle them do. My circumstances don’t define me.” — Lamanda Ballard (founder of Flo Code and SOTU 2019 market vendor)
State of the Uterus* is an annual party for progress, raising funds for reproductive justice, community health and gender equality initiatives. This year’s party is on Jan. 25, 2019 at Cheer Up Charlies from 6 pm to midnight, benefitting Planned Parenthood, the Abortion Care Network, KIND Clinic, Collegiate Mom Coaltion and #BBATX. Join us.
*uterus not required. :)