by Maitefa Angaza
Heads up, women! The organizers of “Reproductive Awakening: Narratives of Agency in Black America” have conceived eight enlightening weekends of programming devoted to you. An art exhibition, film screenings, discussions and workshops, cervical selfies (whoa!) and a dance party, are all on the roster. Opening October 3rd and running through November 23rd at the Museum of Women’s Resistance located in Crown Heights, “Reproductive Awakening” aims to inform and uplift while bringing women together to share and have fun. There are also two afternoons dedicated to teen students and your daughter, niece or grandchild.
Designed around an exhibition featuring women artists, the project explores the historical, social and political significance of Black women’s struggle in the U.S. for reproductive autonomy and the impact of Black midwives in their communities. It focuses on birthing traditions and abortion rights through the 20th century to the present and celebrates an evolving advocacy that sustains the network of midwives serving African-American women.
Highlights include the keynote address by feminist activist, author and attorney Carol Downer on Saturday, October 4th. She’ll address ways in which European “witch” burning beginning in the 12th century, correlate with the demonizing of women healers and the economic and political monopoly that is modern U. S. healthcare. There will be screenings of Bringin’in Da Spirit, We Always Resist: Trust Black Women, A Period Piece and other films. Panels and workshops include those on midwifery, menses, menopause, “Placenta Medicine” “Choices, Rights, Autonomy,” and more.
Other exhibition-related programming includes The Red-Tent experience, (with one for preteens and teens as well), workshops on female sexual anatomy and holistic healing and wellness. Some events are free of charge, while others carry an admission fee. See reproductiveawakening.com for the full October schedule and a forecasting of November’s events.
A team of women and one man were brought together by Kinyofu Mlimwengu to develop and produce “Reproductive Awakening” for the community.
“This project was conceived as I developed my own awareness of the illusions surrounding women’s choices in reproductive health,” said Mlimwengu. “It appears most women lack basic knowledge about their bodies. We become subject to medical and political opinion and judgment, none of which is affirming to women. It’s time to relearn what we lost through patriarchy, capitalism, and racism and effect change from within.”
The compact Museum of Women’s Resistance is located at 279 Empire Blvd between Nostrand and Rogers Avenues in Brooklyn. It’s housed at the headquarters of Black Women’s Blueprint, a civil and human rights organization that is co-sponsoring the “Reproductive Awakening” project.