RFRA. Trying to shut out Syrian refugees. Multiple attempts to limit or eliminate abortion access in the state. The criminalization of pregnancy. HJR-3. A bare bones, barely there expansion of healthcare coverage. Attacks on Planned Parenthood. Giving state TANF funds to Real Alternatives. The list of challenges our state has faced and will continue to face under its current leadership is long, and heartbreaking. Every day, those of us who are a part of Indy Feminists try to fight back against the steady stream of conservative crap that flows here. We do it without money for the most part, and when money is required, we dig into our own mostly empty pockets. We need more than our spare change, though, to get us to some training that will hopefully make our fight more effective.
Nearly two years ago, Indy Feminists took a #vanfulloffeminists — and a car driven by our friend Jamie from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio — to Oklahoma for the Take Root Conference. The trip changed our lives.
By February of 2014, we’d been working together about six months as Indy Feminists. We had big dreams, and big frustration with the way government works in this state. We were growing and looking to solidify our direction. A conference focused on doing reproductive justice activism in red states seemed like the perfect place to pick up new tools, make new friends, and push ourselves forward. We got all that from Take Root, and more.
From the very first moment of the pre-conference training with Young People For , we were challenged, moved and opened up to new possibilities. The guidelines for creating safe space within that training became the basis for the Safe Space Agreement that every member of our group now signs on to when they join. In this way, we have continued to learn and grow together for two years, always defaulting to love, and accepting the challenge of growing when one of us calls another out for problematic speech or behavior.
The conference itself provided us with invaluable information, and we made connections and friends that have helped us create community, and push for change here at home.
We’re looking to attend again in 2016, with plans to take even more folks — maybe TWO vans full of feminists! Indy Feminists has grown substantially since our original trip, plus we want to bring some activist partners from other Hoosier organizations as well. The more we learn and work together, the stronger our movement becomes.
We’re asking for your help to get us there. Although each participant covers their own registration fee, we still have to rent vehicles, put gas in those vehicles, and pay for lodging for four days. We’ll have some fundraisers going on over the next few months, so please keep an eye out for them, and participate or share them as you see fit. If you’d like to just donate to our trip, you can always PayPal us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s only with the support of our community that we’ve come this far at all. With your help, we can all go even further.