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Fight for Reproductive Freedom - CLPP 30th Anniversary Newsletter

Fight for Reproductive Freedom - CLPP 30th Anniversary Newsletter

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Published by Zawadi Nyong'o
Zawadi Nyong'o featured in CLPP's 30th Anniversary Reproductive Justice Conference Newsletter. She shares some of her experiences working on the sexual rights agenda in East Africa.
Zawadi Nyong'o featured in CLPP's 30th Anniversary Reproductive Justice Conference Newsletter. She shares some of her experiences working on the sexual rights agenda in East Africa.

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Published by: Zawadi Nyong'o on Apr 23, 2011
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had been in Oklahoma for the whole of one week when I menoned for the rst meI work with youth and women regarding their reproducve health. The people singat the square table, mainly in their 20s, 30s and 40s, quieted down their conversaons,processing, perhaps, my comment. “You mean to say you help people have sex?” asked thewoman in front of me, her stern yet wise blue eyes xated on mine.It was then when I started to fear that my move to the state where the wind comessweeping down the plain might not have been the best decision I have made.Fortunately for me, I came to nd out not everybody harbored the samefeelings my new acquaintances did. On January 21st, I had the privilegeof joining Dr. Carol Mason and her students for a regional workshopdiscussing interdisciplinary perspecves on reproducve and sexual healthat the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Sllwater campus. Quite unlike thefolks at the square table, panel aer invigorang panel provided an openarena for parcipants to be exposed to reproducve jusce maers in asafe space. The speakers were incredible, the students were so movated(and inspiring), and the event was unforgeable. Aer talking to severalof the students, I am certain that the OSU event was just a small spark forwhat will surely become an engaging, hopefully open conversaon aboutreproducve and sexual rights in Oklahoma.It was an honor to represent CLPP (not going to lie, I kinda felt like a rockstar — a bunch of people recognized or remembered me!). It was aneven higher honor to have such movated, persevering and progressivestudents want to model their acvism aer the sort of movement-buildingthey encountered at the CLPP conferences. The students all menonedCLPP as the catalyst of their acvist curiosity, or as an “iniaon” into the feminist andsocial jusce world.Amongst our guest speakers, we had reproducve jusce powerhouses such as LynnPaltrow, founder and director of Naonal Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), andAndrea Smith, co-founder of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence. Furthermore,everyone, from local and naonal experts in the areas of public health, anthropology,sociology, and medicine, to students, community members, reverends, doctors and lawyerswere present. In Dr. Mason’s words, through this workshop we were creang a “two-waylearning venue,” because “naonal organizaons have as much to learn from our studentsas our students have to learn from naonal leaders who have been thinking about theseissues all of their professional lives.”The students and parcipants—who were mostly from Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas andMissouri—indeed did a lot of learning. The day’s discussions ranged from the myth of thereligion-sexuality paradox, to the criminalizaon of reproducve and sexual health, to evenconversaons regarding birthing rights and new eugenics. Even though these panels wereengagingly revealing, I found the most enlightening of the panels were those led by theOSU students themselves. Andrea Smith had pointed out that to see change we “need tosupport further dialogue to see where the truths and the myths are.”
 vol. xxvii no. 2 - spring 2011
produced by thecivil liberties and publicpolicy programat hampshire college
By Akira Céspedes Pérez, 2009 CLPP Conference Coordinator
— Sex Worker Rights in East Africa
— International Organizing for LGBTQIYouth Access to Health Care
— Notes from a CLPP Alum
—continued on page
Students and activists who traveled to CLPP fromOklahoma for the 2010 conference.
Hampshire College893 West StreetAmherst, MA 01002-5001phone: 413.559.5416clpp@hampshire.eduhttp://clpp.hampshire.eduAmy Crysel
Director of Operations and Finance
Cora Fernandez Anderson
Adjunct Faculty, Spring 2011
Corinna Yazbek
Program Coordinator
Lani Blechman
Program/Communications Coordinator
Marlene Gerber Fried
Faculty Director
Mia Kim Sullivan
CLPP Director
Teresa Huang
Operations Coordinator
Tina Barsby
Development Officer
Student Assistants: Spring 2011Anna SaegerCourtney HooksEmily RyanLeticia ContrerasLindy ThomasMorgan DrewnianyPeter GuillenSara BerkWill Delphia
CLPP is supported by Hampshire College,individual donors, and the followingfoundations:
30th Anniversary FundAnderson-Rogers FoundationAnonymousRobert Sterling Clark FoundationThe Educational Foundation of AmericaThe Ford FoundationGallagher Family FundThe General Service FoundationThe George Gund FoundationThe Moriah FundMs. Foundation for WomenThe Overbrook FoundationThe David and Lucile Packard FoundationThe Mary Wohlford Foundation
It’s our 30th anniversary—and you are part of our story.
Since 1981, we havebeen building a movement for reproductive freedom through our annual conference,RRASC summer internships, New Leadership Networking Initiative (NLNI) meetingsand leadership institutes, National Young Women’s Day of Action, PopDev Populationin Perspective curriculum, PopDev DifferenTakes issue papers, convenings,collaborations, college classes and Div IIIs, and so much more.Help us launch our fourth decade by contributing to our 30th Anniversary Blog, anonline memoir that celebrates our collective leadership and strength. Tell us a story.Share a memory. Write your vision. Upload a picture. Share how participating withCLPP and PopDev over the years has helped build your leadership for reproductive justice and social change.How you can get involved:
Make sure to check the blog regularly, like us on Facebook, and follow
 on Twitter to hear stories from others who have also connected in activism throughand with CLPP and PopDev.CLPP is a national reproductive rights and justice organization dedicated to educating,mentoring, and inspiring new generations of advocates, leaders, and supporters.Combining activism, organizing, leadership training, and reproductive rights movementbuilding, CLPP promotes an inclusive agenda that advances reproductive rights andhealth, and social and economic justice.
CLPP Student Activist Group
The CLPP student group consists of young acvists from the 5 Colleges and broader communitywho want to develop their skills to organize for reproducve and social jusce. The CLPP studentgroup runs “Acvist 101” trainings and is the driving force behind the annual acvist conference.
Annual Reproductive Justice Conference
CLPP’s annual conference for student and community acvists,
From Aboron Rights to Social  Jusce: Building the Movement for Reproducve Freedom
, connects people to organizaons andcampaigns locally, naonally, and internaonally, and provides them with informaon, analysis,and “how-to” organizing to bring back to their own campuses and communies. Join us next year,
April 13-15, 2012
RRASC Summer Internship Program
The Reproducve Rights Acvist Service Corps is a naonal program that supports the leadershipdevelopment of local students interested in connecng their academic studies to reproducverights and social jusce acvism.
New Leadership Networking Initiative (NLNI)
NLNI is a training and leadership-building network for new and emerging acvists. NLNI memberswork at a wide range of reproducve rights and social jusce organizaons and, throughparcipaon in the network, create new relaonships and collaboraons that are energizing andexpanding the movement.
— The Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program
The Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program —
hat is oen lost in the current debates about the sextrade - between sex worker rights advocates and sexwork abolionists - is the voices, experiences and desiresof current and former sex workers. Working with Bar HostessEmpowerment and Support Program (BHESP) and the Kenya SexWorker Alliance (KESWA),
CLPP alum Zawadi Nyong’o
(Hampshire00F) helped organize Kenya’s rst Internaonal Day to End ViolenceAgainst Sex Workers, where 1,000 sex workers marched on thestreets of Nairobi for the rst me.Zawadi recently published
When I Dare To Be Powerful...On theRoad to a Sexual Rights Movement in East Africa
, a breakthroughcontribuon to feminist discoursethat “allows sex workers to speak forthemselves; claim their spaces andshare their stories.”“The rst me I strongly idened as afeminist was at the rst CLPP conferenceI aended at Hampshire College,”Zawadi explains. “Since then, most of the work I have done as an independentfeminist social jusce consultant hasbeen around sexual health and rightsissues. I am really interested in working on the sex worker rightsagenda in Africa and across the globe, and have been very acve incontribung to the building of a sex worker rights movement in EastAfrica.”As a 2001 RRASC intern with CIDHAL (Comunicacion e Intercambiopara el Desarrollo Humano en America Lana), Zawadi helpedorganize environmental educaon workshops for sweatshop factoryworkers and supported donor communicaons. Aer graduangfrom Hampshire, she worked with Urgent Acon Fund (UAF) - Africa.In a region where homosexuality is criminalized, UAF-Africa wasone of the only organizaons willing to take the risk to engagein advocacy for queer rights. In 2005, Zawadi organized the rstregional conference for LGBTQI acvists from Kenya, Uganda andTanzania with UAF, and in 2008, she helped establish a regionalfund, UHAI: The East African Sexual Health and Rights Iniave.In 2009, Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) held the rst-ever SexWorker African Women’s Leadership Instute, where sex workersfrom Kenya and Uganda spoke out and shared their stories inthe hope of changing sociees’ and governments’ perspecvestowards sex work, sexuality and sexual rights.
When I Dare To BePowerful 
features the voices of some of these acvists and leaders,making the connecons between sex work, forced early marriage,land rights, poverty, educaon, property and inheritance rights,motherhood, and HIV.As Zawadi wrote in the book, “We need to understand the policsbehind sexuality, sexual rights and sex work because the liberaonof all women, the equitable distribuon of power and resources,and the ability to control our own bodies are indeed crical to ourfeminist agenda.”
Following are excerpts from some of their stories:
 Macklean, UGANDA
Throughout my childhood and teenage years,I was always a good student and remainedfocused on my studies. I was also a leader froma very young age. In primary school, I was agirl guide, at O-levels, I was a prefect, and insecondary school, I was the head-girl. Despitemy commitment, by the me I got to SeniorFour, there wasn’t enough money to send meto school. I was determined to complete myeducaon, though, so I did whatever I could.That is when a friend of mine introduced meto sex work, which quickly became my sourceof livelihood. I was really scared at rst, butwith me I got used to it because I was ableto earn the money I needed to pay my schoolfees, hostel fees, and even pay fees for myyounger brothers and sisters. I also made sureI supported my dear mother so that she wouldnot have to depend on my father. It was noteasy for me when I started, but despite all the hardships I was goingthrough, I connued to do it because I was commied to makinglife beer for my family. This is what kept me strong whenever I wasarrested, tortured by cruel clients, or suering the bier cold of thestreets at night.I am able to stand tall and proud as a professional sex worker, anacvist, and a human rights defender because I believe in myself and I don’t let anyone put me down or let anyone take away my joy. I think being small in size made me this way. People look atme and expect me to be humble – they don’t expect me to bestrong. When I speak in public, some people even say that I am notUgandan, or that I am paid to say the things I do. I speak out withoutfear and ask others to respect sex workers just like they do otherprofessionals. I believe in myself and I am proud of what I havemanaged to achieve in my life as a sex worker. I always say that “if you feel uncomfortable being with me or near me then that is yourproblem.”
The first time I strongly identified as a feminist was at the first CLPP conference I attended...
By Corinna Yazbek, CLPP Program Coordinator
—continued on page

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