It's not easy to sum up the awesomeness of this conference. Here's what came to mind when I tried to think of what to share...
Last year (April 2010) was the first time I attended the CLPP conference. Before the conference I was on the fence about my views on abortion. It just so happened that the first event I went to that weekend was the Abortion Speak Out. I will never feel the same after that incredibly powerful experience. I remember feeling embarrassed when at one point I was about to cry, but my anxiety was lifted when I looked around and noticed everyone else was crying too. Thinking about it now brings the same emotions and tears back. I now feel strongly about the right to choose.
As we mentioned in one of our "I love the 80s posts", Hampshire College students, faculty, and staff have a long, proud history of agitating, organizing, showing up, speaking out, and broadening the scope for causes we believe in.
My favorite CLPP memory?—definitely the fall intern dinner at Hampshire that celebrates the work of RRASC interns on their return to campus. I attended my first RRASC dinner before I was officially on-board at CLPP, on the eve of starting as development officer in October 2009. The dinner was a great introduction to how students integrate their academic work with CLPP and PopDev with their passion for social justice. I love how interns' accounts capture—in vivid and compelling detail—how internships build their leadership, extend their skills, and crystallize career paths in reproductive justice organizing or women's health.
In 1998, forty activists came together on the eve of the CLPP conference, From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom, to discuss how to broaden the issues that define reproductive rights and to ensure that younger voices were a part of this dialogue. Most of the participants were younger women, who had been trying to have their voices heard in this movement, and their allies, those who recognized the need to reach beyond traditional constituencies and create a strong network of allies.
Nicole Heig, Amherst College alum & CLPP Conference participant, shares how the CLPP conference influenced her life:
“No decision of the Supreme Court in the history of this country has ever been so important to women’s liberty, equality, and health as the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade which declared and recognized that a woman’s right to choose abortion is part of out fundamental right of privacy.” – Janet Benshoof, human right’s activists, speaking at the very first CLPP Symposium in 1983