On Monday night, students and community members gathered to talk about reproductive rights and history over free tacos at the Kiva Auditorium during Tacos y Reproductive Justice.
The event was put together through a partnership between UNM’s Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice and Young Women United in celebration of SARJ’s Sex Week, a week-long educational event that started Monday and finishes Friday, Oct. 27.
Tacos y Reproductive Justice primarily focused on reproductive rights for women of color, as it is a major issue that YWU focuses on.
Anna Allegretti, one the organizers of Sex Week and a member of SARJ, said it is important to SARJ that they are not the only ones talking at the events they host during Sex Week and that they want to have the right voices to talk about their topics.
“Because (YWU) is run by women of color, they can speak to their own community about things,” Allegretti said. “It’s important what voices we put to these issues.”
YWU took a unique approach to the discussion, getting their audience to move around the room, write things down and speak up.
After an ice breaker, the audience was asked to look at the primary topic of the evening — a timeline of historical facts about reproductive rights and racial struggles. SARJ and YWU presented taped up laminated facts, starting from the 1600s and 1700s to the present. The audience’s job was to read the facts, write their reactions on sticky notes and put the sticky notes on the facts. Later, everyone gathered into a circle and discussed their reactions.
“Reproductive justice actually encapsulates environmental justice and social justice,” Allegretti said. “It’s all of these things that have to work together. It’s not just (that) we need more abortion access — we also need young families supported. We also need better low-income housing. We need better resources for homeless people.”
According to Allegretti, YWU hosts Tacos y Reproductive Justice events multiple times a year.
“They basically have a lot of events that are educational, interactive, and they always have food, because you’ve got to have food,” Allegretti said.
For Monday’s event, food certainly played a role in getting people to come. Some popped in, grabbed some tacos and promptly left.
As for the rest of Sex Week, the goals in place are: to combat racism, homophobia, sexism, while creating activists and promoting consent and a healthy sex life, Allegretti said.
“We want to have fun and interactive events, and we want people to feel open and supported and (have) a no-judgement zone,” Allegretti said. “If something were to happen, if you were to get pregnant, if you were to catch an STI, if you were to have a not-so-consensual encounter, we want the students to know that we’re here for them and that they have other resources as well.”
Anti-abortion activists have also been present during Sex Week around campus. SARJ tables have been set up around campus every Wednesday.
Ariel Lutnesky is a culture reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ArielLutnesky.