The “Embodied Herstories” training fills a niche that has yet to be filled. This workshop goes beyond “Diversity” training to not only identify the groups and processes used for social exclusion, but also add a systemic analysis of power and how it operates in society. Unlike the more general “Anti-Racism” or “Undoing Racism” trainings, this workshop is specifically focused on the relationship between racism and all the issues surrounding maternity care and reproduction in the US. Unlike “Cultural Competency” trainings, this workshop provides the historical framework as a very useful precursor to any type of “Cultural Competency.” Unlike most workshops and trainings on social justice issues, “Embodied Herstories” intentionally uses activities that engage the whole person, including reflections on visual images, sharing of personal experiences and emotions, and the relationship participants have to their bodies and spirits.
Training Curriculum: “Embodied Herstories: Race and Reproduction in the United States.” This two-day training critically examines the US history of women’s reproduction and women’s relationship to their reproductive autonomy using a Popular Education methodology and an Anti-Racist, Feminist intersectional framework. Participants will develop a shared language and analysis of reproductive history in the US. This history will include the “untold” stories of many pregnant women, beginning with colonization and slavery. The process will define institutional racism and identify how it impacts the state of pregnancy and birthing in the US, past and present. The workshop will explore the issues of individual “choices” and public policies related to pregnancy, birthing, and reproductive autonomy. Together, participants will identify how to apply this analysis to the current maternity care issues being faced.
The purpose of the “Embodied Herstories” training is to go deeper and engage participants in a holistic process of reflection and understanding. The training includes both intellectual and emotional – experiential reflection inviting everyone to a long-term process of transformation. This training method shares a key philosophical underpinning with the midwifery model of care – growth is a holistic process – occurring not only in the mind, but also in the body and spirit. This holistic workshop invites and accommodates participants with varying levels of knowledge and experience in the topic.