Artistic activism at the State House and why it matters

The Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA) will impact so many people from all walks of life in Rhode Island.

On March 28 in the Library at the Rhode Island State House, 15 actors and 20 volunteers came together to for Organ Equity Day #2. Using the ‘People’s House’ as their stage, The Woman Project (TWP) collaborators, volunteers, and actors represented the voices of so many Rhode Islanders in a display of artistic activism to call attention to the looming danger that plagues Rhode Islanders if Roe v Wade is overturned on the Federal level.

A Legal Explanation of What is Happening

The Woman Project, which represents the voices of thousands of residents of Rhode Island, is focused on the Reproductive Health Care Act. Due to how the state constitution is written coupled with the attacks to reproductive rights from the federal government, there presents an immediate threat to the rights on medical privacy as outlined in Roe v Wade.

The Woman Project is acting urgently.

There are 4 men in power just below Governor Gina Raimondo that hold the most power in the nation. These men, including the Speaker of the House and Senate President, refuse to allow the bill, named the Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA), to come to the floor for a vote.

63 percent of residents think abortion should be legal.

Why Art Matters

The Woman Project is a highly diverse community of artists, activists, lobbyist, mothers, daughters, female-identified, gender queer and trans folk, businesses, politicians and more. Art has been one way the community has sought to invite more voices into the discussion and education of what is potentially a backstep for first and second generation sister feminists. Through artistic action, TWP has been able to invite many less-politically active community members into the education of their state and participate in activism for reproductive freedom. The Woman Project offers Rhoe Island constituents a platform to use their skills on their personal comfort levels, as a means to be involved in a non-traditional way.

  • The Community ‘Petition 2.0’ Quilt, a work in progress
    To bring attention to the RHCA, The Woman Project has built a giant petition quilt. Each square on the quilt holds one name, date and town listing of residents interested in seeing the State House address this issue and guarantee the health of all women in the state. Creating a quilt address the sharing of multiple voices in support of the RHCA and the process of quilt making connects to the history of women’s creative work. The quilt is growing and will continue to do so, being displayed from the third floor of the State House once a week as a reminder of all the voices involved in this ask. Read more about this quilt’s growth here.
  • Codify, a performative Reading by Tammy Brown
    Artist and director, Tammy Brown, used Organ Equity Day #2 to premiere her piece, ‘Codify,’ a reading of language from the Roe v Wade testimony and the actual language taken from the RHCA bill. She and 14 other actors from around the state, either clothed or somewhat disrobed, addressing bodily freedom, read this piece while standing in front of the Petition 2.0, to give voice to the history and urgency in this issue.

CODIFY: A Staged Reading for Reproductive Rights

In conclusion, both the Quilt and Codify, a performative reading, will return to the State House. Stay tuned to our ‘Events’ listing above and on Facebook.

Petition 2.0 will be on display on a weekly basis

Codify will be performed monthly with different performers. If you are interested, please contact Tammy Brown here.

 

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About The Woman Project 1 Article
The Woman Project (TWP) is a non-profit, feminist, female identifying art-activism organization in Rhode Island. The Woman Project began in 2017 with a mission to further the human rights of Rhode Islanders by using art as a tool for both education and social change. TWP stirs social awareness and invites political actions to inclusively further women’s rights through creative campaigns and collaborative art projects. In a world where there is so much work to be done in the fight for equality of human rights, prioritizing effort and energy is key to achieving progress.

1 Comment

  1. I’m glad there are innovative activists on this issue. I think we may be only one Supreme Court appointment away from a disastrous ruling.
    If that happens, it will be tough to get the Assembly to actually do anything to protect reproductive freedom. Related to that, I want to call attention to a bill, H7749, heard by the Judiciary Committee this week, proposing a constitutional amendment allowing voters to submit referendum questions to the electorate. This has limitations, referenda cannot restrict civil rights and financial integrity is required. This could be a way for the pro-choice majority to safeguard rights, but it drew organized opposition from the AFL-CIO (whose leaders apparently don’t trust the people but are comfortable with their insider gamesmanship?) the Teachers Union (despite higher public support for education, especially for higher education, than in the Assembly) and Common Cause (also used to playing an insider game. So if DC courts go against reproductive rights, RIers will have no recourse.

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