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MSK Challenge: Reproductive Justice Through Our Lens

SUMMARY

On April 10th, BWHI hosted a panel discussion and video screening on the issues around reproductive justice and their impact on Black women. Our panel of reproductive justice advocates, award-winning filmmaker and director Jami Ramberan, and young visual storytellers shared insights into creating awareness through their work around reproductive justice.

We’ll also discussed how young women can and are using social media and visual storytellingm to talk about how they define reproductive justice and why it matters to them. We will also be screening buzz worthy short reproductive justice films from some of the young women who participated in the MSK Video Challenge.

 

 

 

 

Panelists

Jami Ramberan, Award Winning Filmmaker and Educator

Washington, DC native Jami Ramberan is an award winning filmmaker and educator. She is an Assistant Professor and serves as the undergraduate Film and Television Sequence Coordinator in the School of Communications in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Howard University.  Jami has worked as a video and film director for a decade and as a result, has written, directed and produced music videos, commercials, short films and documentaries that have been screened on television, various digital platforms, and film festivals across the world. Jami is very active in the DC media and film community and as a result volunteers as the Program Director for Parallel Film Collective, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting global images that transcend limiting racial, cultural and gender identities found in mainstream media. Jami seeks to work on projects that inject a message of social change into the center of popular consciousness. Jami is the Co-Producer and Director of ENF Rangers, a kids media program produced in Ward 8 that promotes multicultural youth to protect the environment.   Her latest award winning short film Silent Brave, focuses on the psychological effects of military sexual trauma on an individual when the act is not reported.  Currently, Jami is currently in post-production for her film Everlasting which explores how people cope with death through social media.

 

Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, National Women’s Law Center

Ms. Goss Graves, who has served in numerous roles at NWLC for more than a decade, has spent her career fighting to advance opportunities for women and girls. She has a distinguished track record working across a broad set of issues central to women’s lives, including income security, health and reproductive rights, education access, and workplace fairness.

Prior to becoming President, Ms. Goss Graves served as the Center’s Senior Vice President for Program, where she led the organization’s broad program agenda to advance progress and eliminate barriers in employment, education, health and reproductive rights and lift women and families out of poverty. Prior to that, as the Center’s Vice President for Education and Employment, she led the Center’s anti-discrimination initiatives, including work to promote equal pay, combat harassment and sexual assault at work and at school, and advance equal access to education programs, with a particular focus on outcomes for women and girls of color.

Ms. Goss Graves has authored many articles, including A Victory for Women’s Health Advocates, National Law Journal (2016) and We Must Deal with K-12 Sexual Assault, National Law Journal (2015), and reports, including Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity (2014), Reality Check: Seventeen Million Reasons Low-Wage Workers Need Strong Protections from Harassment (2014), and 50 Years and Counting: The Unfinished Business of Achieving Fair Pay (2013).

Ms. Goss Graves received her B.A. from UCLA in 1998 and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2001. She began her career as a litigator at the law firm of Mayer Brown LLP after clerking for the Honorable Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She currently serves as an advisor on the American Law Institute Project on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct on Campus and was on the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace and a Ford Foundation Public Voices Fellow.

She is widely recognized for her effectiveness in the complex public policy arena at both the state and federal levels, regularly testifies before Congress and federal agencies, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and other public education forums. Ms. Goss Graves appears often in print and on air as a legal expert on issues core to women’s lives, including in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, AP, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR.

Jamila Taylor,  Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Jamila K. Taylor is a senior fellow at American Progress where she serves as an expert on domestic and international women’s health, reproductive rights, and reproductive justice. She also leads the organization’s efforts to develop and advance policies that ensure that women have an equal opportunity to live healthy and economically secure lives by making the best health choices for themselves and their families.

Prior to joining American Progress, Taylor was a senior policy advisor at Ipas, a global nongovernmental organization dedicated to ending preventable deaths and disabilities from unsafe abortion and helping women realize their sexual and reproductive rights. In that role, Taylor led the organization’s global policy team on matters related to U.S. policy and abortion and directed the Ipas staff on strategies for promoting U.S. laws and policies that ensure access to abortion, including support for public funding. She also worked to inform members of Congress, executive branch officials, and social justice advocates about the role that U.S. policy plays in access to abortion for women nationally and abroad.

Taylor has two decades of public policy and advocacy experience, beginning her career as a congressional staff member in the office of Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-VA) in the late 1990s. While working on Capitol Hill, she was responsible for health and education issues—with very strong interests in the health and human rights of disenfranchised groups, specifically reproductive justice for women of color. Taylor has also worked for the Virginia General Assembly, The AIDS Institute, the National Network of Abortion Funds, and the Center for Health and Gender Equity.

Taylor has published and presented on a number of topics related to reproductive health and rights and public policy. Her work has been seen in The Hill, Real Clear Policy, Real Clear Health, The Nation, U.S. News and World Report, Rewire, BillMoyers.com, Yale Journal of International Affairs, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, as well as a host of other publications. She has provided commentary on current women’s health policy issues on NPR, Morning Consult, Women@Work —Powered by the Wharton School, “The Leslie Marshall Show,” C-SPAN, and other media programs.

Taylor graduated with honors from Hampton University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She also holds a master’s degree in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Ph.D. in political science from Howard University.

Filmmakers

Destinee Easley

Destinee Danielle Easley is the daughter of David and Erica Easley, She is 19 years old, was born in Staten Island, New York. Lived in South Carolina before she moved to Burbank, California to pursue her dreams of becoming a film director. She currently goes to The New York Film Academy based in Burbank, California. While at The New York Film Academy she has worked on several films where she has directed, been a director of photography, a camera assistant, a grip, and a production assistant.

Zoe Hughes

Zoe Hughes is a sophomore at Harvard College, concentrating in neurobiology with a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy. She is 19 years old and is from the UK. Before arriving on US soil, Zoe was unaware of all the health inequalities that black women in the US face; higher rates of breast cancer, higher incidence of HIV/AIDS, higher rates of infant mortality. Reading statistics, she felt alarmed. Inequality in healthcare is really killing black women. That’s why she became involved with a local women’s health initiative called Community Conversations: Sister to Sister, an organization dedicated to eliminating these racial disparities by, among other things, creating a space for black women to talk about black health on a monthly basis. Having been involved with some video projects before, she saw the MSK Challenge as a fitting opportunity to learn more about reproductive justice.

Lola Adebiyi

Lola Adebiyi is Nigerian immigrant and Pittsburgh native who is a first-year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She hopes to bridge film and medicine as a way to advocate for communities in medicine that are underrepresented as well as patients with rare and stigmatized diseases. Film and filmmaking was always a passion for Lola, turning any school project she could into a video project and majoring in Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Her experiences there as well as her experiences volunteering for Planned Parenthood sparked her devotion to reproductive health access, reproductive justice, and health advocacy. She is the current co-coordinator for Medical Students for Choice, is involved with the Student National Medical Association, and is a mental health advocate for her first year class. This film showcases the thoughts and feelings of being a black woman or girl in the institutions of school, college, and the workforce to weave a narrative about what comes before the privilege of accessing choice.

MSK CHALLENGE: REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE THROUGH OUR LENS DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1.  Why is Reproductive Justice such an important and relevant topic today?
  2. What are the biggest challenges in the fight for Reproductive Justice?
  3. Why are these films that the winners of the MSK Challenge created so inspiring?
  4. Why has film and media become such an important tool in the civil rights and social justice struggle?
  5. Why do you think media has made such an impact in the lives of our young activists?
  6. How can Reproductive Justice come to the forefront of our society’s discussion like #MeToo or #BlackLivesMatter?
  7. Why is it so important for young women to be involved in this movement?
  8. Is Reproductive Justice just a women’s battle or can men be a catalyst for change, as well?
  9. How does the #MeToo movement and sexual harassment fit under the Reproductive Justice umbrella?
  10. What can we as Black Women today do to move this fight forward?