NEW ORLEANS (March 29, 2019) – The human right of women to control their bodies, sexuality, gender, work and reproduction was at the forefront of a recent discussion at Dillard’s first Reproductive Justice Dinner sponsored by In Our Own Voice in the Student Union Ballroom.
Imani Edwards of Washington, D.C., the program manager of fellows for the group, addressed an audience of 40 female students dressed in business attire. Edwards’ presentation included a video to help attendees better understand the concept.
The event was hosted by group fellows Kaylan Tanner and Lydia Moffett. Tanner is a sophomore urban studies major from Los Angeles, and Moffett is a political science major from Mobile. Moffett, who could not attend because of a mock trial competition in Houston, pre-taped a video for the event.
“We want to create awareness about many issues black women face,” Moffett said. “We want to cater to the needs of our black women by providing solutions and extended resources.”
Tanner orchestrated an ice-breaker to see what the women present had in common as a means of sharing the pint that no one should be ashamed to ask for help.
“I am here for you,” said Tanner. “I want to make black women on this campus comfortable to say, ‘I need help!’ ”
Dinner was served at approximately 4:10 p.m. before the presentation. Music by the popular artist Khalid played throughout dinner while guests dined on fried chicken, scalloped potatoes, vegetable crudités, fresh fruit, and bread pudding.
Tanner said Dillard is one of seven HBCUs to participate in In Our Own Voice, founded in 2014. A few goals of this movement are to develop leadership voices for black women, to train reproductive justice activists and to build a coordinated movement of black women.
The hashtag, #Blackwomensrj, was created to raise awareness about reproductive justice. Condoms and Jamaican black castor oil were given out as gifts to attendees.
(Danyel Smith contributed to this report.)