On Saturday, February 22, I partnered with Cecilia Belser-Batton, the founder of JUST Systems, LLC to lead a direct action training in Columbia, Mo., on how to build intersectional movements. Seven local organizers participated in the training.
This was a four hour, two-part training built on the strengths of the co-facilitators. I led the first half. In addition to my role as Reproaction’s organizer in Missouri, I have extensively studied the concept of intersectionality as a doctoral student in sociology. My dissertation explores intersectionality as a practice by examining the transition of a single-issue social movement organization into a multi-issue organization. The first portion of the training was rooted in the belief that a keen understanding of the concept of intersectionality is imperative to building more intersectional movements. Relationship building is at the core of movement building, so the lunch break doubled as a time to critically assess the significance of connecting with other community leaders and organizations. Attendees were encouraged to schedule one-on-ones with at least one other participant.
The second half of the training covered challenges and obstacles often faced by those employing intersectionality as a tool for liberation. As a longtime educator, Cecilia excels in facilitating tough discussions by creating an environment where participants can feel safe and exercise bravery. Cecilia encouraged participants to critically assess the prevalence of white supremacy and how it acts as a default people return to when they get uncomfortable. There was an emphasis on the ways internalized racism and racial superiority impact our decisions. These were some tough conversations, but they are necessary if we are going to hold each other accountable and be transparent.
Also, please consider donating to help us continue to offer free direct action trainings and support our work increasing access to abortion and advancing reproductive justice.