56 People of Color Who Have Had Abortions Send Letter to Congress Denouncing Racist and Sexist Anti-Abortion Ban
WASHINGTON, DC: In a letter sent to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, 56 people of color who had abortions expressed their ‘vehement opposition’ to H.R. 4924, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2016. The signatories indicated the location and year of their abortion(s).
The letter was submitted as collective testimony in response to the April 14, 2016 subcommittee hearing in which only one witness, Miriam Yeung, Executive Director of National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum, was allowed to testify in support of abortion and was spoken over as she attempted to make final remarks. The voices of people of color who have had abortions were ignored while misogynist, racist remarks about people of color were repeated, unchecked.
H.R. 4924 is broad in scope and seeks to ban abortions based on sex and/or racial preference, and would criminalize abortion providers who offer abortion care to someone who chooses an abortion for any of those reasons. The bill is based on racist and sexist cultural stereotypes about communities of color, and has no basis in fact. In reality, H.R. 4924 would force abortion providers to interrogate a patient’s reasons for having an abortion, rather than supporting them in accessing safe health care.
“We are people of color who have had abortions,” the letter reads. “We made the best decisions for us and our circumstances We should be trusted to make decisions for ourselves, free from political interference, stigma, paternalism, and racism. Racial profiling is not an American value, and this bill would legitimize and set a dangerous standard in the practice in health care.”
“As Black people, Latinas, and Asian American and Pacific Islanders, we testify that we are autonomous and we decided to have abortions of our own volition. There was no wool pulled over our eyes by abortion providers -- we are capable of making our own choices and any questioning of that fact demeans our humanity as people of color. We will not sit silently while we are being exploited for the passage of yet another abortion restriction. We testify we will not stand for the continued Congressional attacks on access to abortion care. We testify in support of the abortion providers who care for us, and denounce any attempts to criminalize their work. We testify that we deserve respect and dignity.”
The letter seeks to counter the narrative that people of color do not choose abortion of their own volition, lift up the voices of people of color who don’t regret their abortions (95 percent of women still feel abortion was right for them, both immediately and 3 years after the procedure), and highlight factual errors and misrepresentations by the hearing witnesses, including:
* Dispelling myths surrounding the prevalence of race- and sex-selective abortions in communities of color.
* Submitting polling demonstrating the overwhelming support for access to abortion care by communities of color.
* Correcting the witness’ misrepresentation of Civil Rights leaders’ views on abortion, such as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and U.S. Representative John Lewis, co-sponsor of Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act (H.R. 2972) and the Women’s Health Protection Act (S.R. 217, H.R. 448)
* Reminding the subcommittee of the witness’ misrepresentation of research by Aruna Papp MA, ADR and her letter correcting the witness testimony to this fact.
The letter can be found on the National Network of Abortion Funds website, and on Medium.
Renee Bracey Sherman, Kristine A. Kippins, and Shivana Jorawar, co-authors of the letter, are available for interviews.
Broome County Arts Council and the Preservation Association of the Southern Tier present:
Downtown Binghamton Public Sculpture & Architecture
Guided Walking Tours ~FREE~ First Fridays, May-October 4pm & 6pm
Discover downtown Binghamton’s notable outdoor sculpture and beautiful historic architecture. You’ll hear about early and modern Binghamton as your guide shows you an enlightened city rich with artwork, theaters, businesses, and churches. Even locals are amazed and entertained by what they learn.
Tours begin at Kennedy Park with the Seven Seals of Silence (Henry Street/Chenango Street). The walk meanders through the most fascinating portions of one of the city’s historic districts, leading to three internationally proclaimed sculptures at Government Plaza on Hawley Street. Come and see!
Sculpture Outdoors in Broome County began in 2013 as a partnership between the Broome County Arts Council and Binghamton University’s Art History Professor Kevin Hatch. His students chose to research 14 often mysteriously unidentified public sculptures with major artistic and historic significance. The students’ research resulted in a catalog of public sculpture that can be found at www.broomearts.org/public-sculpture. This catalog will continue to grow, providing information for labels, which in most cases are not present on the sculptures.
The Broome County Arts Council has partnered with the Preservation Association of the Southern Tier (PAST), who has been offering architectural guided tours for over 10 years. The goal of this collaborative effort is to provide a memorable and historic walking tour of the fascinating sculpture and architecture in downtown Binghamton.
NOTE: A reading from this project will happen May 19th at 7 pm, the Cooperative Gallery's Third Thursday Art Discussion.
While we live in a world that produces material goods at an overwhelming rate, one thing that has not changed throughout history is the complexity of human relationship to the material world. In our increasingly consumerist culture we still assign value beyond the immediate function of objects, an act that plays a crucial role in constituting memory and identity. The moment we decide to keep a used train ticket or a postcard instead of throwing it away, or an old favorite chipped plate reimagined as a coin dish, we invest it with sentimental value that replaces its expired functionality. As such, preserved and repurposed objects become vessels for projections of childhood fantasies or the nostalgic longing of adults.
The Afterlife of Discarded Objects is a digital collective storytelling project that depends on public participation through sharing memories about playing with, collecting, preserving, or making art from what we might broadly label as trash, waste, or unwanted items. Using the Share Your Story button on the website, we invite you to contribute your own narratives as we seek to understand the ways diverse experiences contribute to the mosaic of our individual and collective histories. Together these stories will highlight the power of imagination to (re)create history and serve as testimony to the potential of material objects to shape our cultural landscape.
What we are looking for: nonfiction narratives, memoir, short stories, and poems. Your contribution can be as short or as long as you like - a brief recollection of a childhood moment or a lengthier piece of writing -- anything you wish to share. We especially welcome contributions that explore the topic from an environmental perspective, gender relations, race or class.
All submissions will be featured on an interactive map that links each story and storyteller to the particular place where the narrative is situated, inviting the on-looker to zoom out and observe social, political, and economic linkages between cultures. For example, some of the contributions already featured on the map include diverse memories from working-class Californian childhood in the 80s, to descriptions of the Soviet-time Ukrainian childhood games with medical waste, to memories of playing with potentially explosive garbage items in Kuwait after the 90s invasion. These narratives demonstrate the potential of the project to transcribe a web of oral histories that represent diverse experiences at the intersection of class, race, locations, and political regimes.
We invite your own contribution to this ongoing project. Thank you for taking part in this collective storytelling endeavor.
Andrei Guruianu and Natalia Andrievskikh
I financially support and post pieces on independent media, because I believe mainstream media is part of how militarism remains entrenched in our society. So when I learned from a recent presentation by Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action National, that The Washington Post published January 18, 2016 an article by Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan entitled, “How the world is proving Martin Luther King right about nonviolence”, I was pleasantly surprised.
Photo by Bob Johnston
PAST is collaborating with the Broome County Arts Council on an outdoor sculpture/architectural walking tour in downtown Binghamton. The walking tour will be conducted on First Fridays from May through October.
A Tour Guide Training is being offered by the two organizations on April 12th at 2 PM at the Binghamton University Museum in the Fine Arts Building. On April 30th, the Tour Guides will meet at 10AM at the Seven Seals of Silence at Chenango & Henry Streets to walk through the actual Tour route.
PAST invites anyone interested in becoming a tour guide for this exciting new project to call the PAST office between 10AM and 2PM, Monday-Friday at 237-0887 or call Marcia Ward at 725-3535, anytime. We will be glad to provide more information and answer questions. Please let us know by Friday April 8th of your interest in participating in the Tour Guide training.
BCAC ANNOUNCES $232,815 IN GRANTS FOR 2016
On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, the Broome County Arts Council (BCAC), located at 81 State Street, Suite 501, Binghamton awarded $232,815 in United Cultural Fund (UCF) grants this year to 22 local arts organizations, community non-profits, and individual artists. BCAC announced the funding at a10:30am news conference today. For 2016, UCF grants will help support the operations of 7 major arts organizations, as well as 15 community non-profit and individual artist projects. Funded projects range from choral music to dance, classes to concerts, photography to printmaking, theatre productions to poetry and film festivals.
THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED 4/17/16
Jen O'Brien, the planner for the Our Space renovation at Rec Park, stated emphatically that "only one tree will be taken down for Our Space." She reassures concerned citizens that great care is being taken not to disrupt the trees with construction. The paved areas have been dug down 9 inches. The tree that is the center of the Tree House feature has twelve support anchors around it. According to O'Brien one of the twelve holes dug with an auger ran into a root and was stopped and moved. She also stated that there will be 150 trees planted in Rec Park.
Reassurances aside, residents near the Park are concerned that the activity areas have been moved 50 feet closer to inhabited areas. "The project is massive and will bring a lot of activity right to our backyards," said one resident on Schubert St. This person wanted a fence that would give some privacy but the deed to Rec Park specifies that no fences be placed in the park, in spite of the fact that the North end of the Park is fenced in already with a Page fence.
Running through the discontent is the City's lack of transparency. The plans are still not available online in any detail. A partial photo is available at www.ourspacepark.org but there is no information on the City site. Plans have changed since the Fall community meeting and transparency is lacking. This has been a persistent criticism of the David administration.
This is reminiscent of the last Rec Park renovation under the Bucci Administration (Rich David, Deputy Mayor then). Then the plan was to create a massive parking lot that rarely has more than a few cars in it, paved paths, and basketball courts. The construction did cut some of the roots of the trees, and 10-12 trees subsequently died.
Rec Park is one of the most popular parks in the city, the "Jewel in the Crown" according to Mayor David. That popularity is largely due to the oak forest on the Northwest corner of the park which provides some beauty and connection to nature. Yet, the trees are stressed due to their age--most are about 75 years old. Although there have been some planting of new trees in the last few years, each tree is valuable and should not be jeopardized by construction.
Our Space is an ambitious 3/4 of a million dollar project that will put many features in the area north of the bandstand, including a tree house, a maze, seating, and play equipment on a paved section on the lawn. William Barber, Parks and Rec Director characterized it as "Disney" quality in the park. Construction is well underway and recent estimates suggest it will be done by Memorial Day.