ELAC highlights advocacy for Women’s History Month

By Gabriela Gutierrez

Activists Loretta Ross and Deja Foxx fight for women’s rights one intergenerational conversation at a time, mainly advocating for control over their own bodies and the lack of representation women have within politics.

The event, “The Future of Reproductive Rights: An Intergenerational Conversation,” by guest speakers Ross and Foxx, was made available by East Los Angeles College virtually last week.

Event host, political science and women and gender studies instructor Natalia Montero said Texas bill SB8 was one of the most recent attacks on women’s abortion rights.

SB8 allows any citizen to sue anyone who has had an abortion, or anyone who performs an abortion after cardiac activity has been detected in a fetus. 

Cardiac activity is typically detectable after six weeks, but Montero said some women do not find out they are pregnant until after six weeks. 

“Many of us, including me, usually don’t realize we are pregnant until after six weeks. I didn’t realize I was pregnant until eight weeks,” Montero said.

In regards to SB8, Ross, 68, said, “They don’t care. I’m from Texas. I had my pregnancy in Texas, so it is particularly painful [for] me to see my home state continuing to exhibit such naked hostility to women [and] to immigrants. It is all-around the pursuit of a form of white-male Christianity that serves nobody except the people who have those identity markers.”

Ross said it is important to be up-to-date with what is happening in the courts and in the legislature. 

She said that as a Black woman, she knows she represents other vulnerable and marginalized women and it is essential to fight the lawmakers who continue to tell women what to do with their bodies.

“We have to have a simultaneous strategy of centering the most vulnerable people in our land and doing whatever is necessary to make sure that women and other pregnant people do not die,” Ross said.

Foxx, 21, spoke on behalf of younger generations and said social media could be a strong tool for the youth. 

“One thing I’ll say is, if you are someone who is proficient in creating content, create content around the things that are happening in your personal life, or happening in the news, or happening in the courts,” Foxx said.

Foxx said those youth who wish to create change can lobby their congress people, go to town halls, make videos, or simply share what they know with their friends and family. 

She said they can also keep a lookout for organized events. 

“One of the ways I got involved was really just paying attention to the flyers and Facebook events happening around me,” Foxx said.

Ross, who became pregnant at 14 as a result of  incest, knows injustice all too well.

 She chose to raise her child rather than have an abortion. 

Because of this, she was forced to co-parent with her perpetrator. 

Having a child at such a young age, along with having strong-willed parents who taught her to fight for her rights, served as Ross’s propeller into a life of activism.

Ross is currently a professor at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., is the founder and Executive Director of Human Rights Education, is an award-winning nationally-recognized speaker on race and is the author of “Calling in the Calling Out Culture.”

Foxx began walking down the path of activism in her teens.  

She said she felt her sex-education class in her hometown in Arizona, was outdated, and had last been  updated in the ‘80s. 

“I was a teenager who received bad sex-ed in Arizona and advocated for change alongside my peers. 

As a teenager who received birth control through Title-10 funding in Arizona, [I] lobbied my senators and congressional people to keep that access.”

Since then, Foxx has worked with Vice President Kamala Harris as the influencer and surrogate strategist, is the founder of “GenZ Girl Gang,” is a content creator and has become one of Planned Parenthood’s newest faces.

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