A call to all: Eagle County group unites to trigger action on reproductive justice, women’s rights | VailDaily.com

A call to all: Eagle County group unites to trigger action on reproductive justice, women’s rights

On Saturday, the group will host a peaceful gathering in Eagle that coincides with Women’s March events around the country

On Saturday, in lieu of a Women’s March, a local committee is hosting a call to action for Eagle County to start the conversation around reproductive rights.
Luisa Teal Forbes

On Saturday, over 600 international cities will be hosting Women’s March events, fighting for reproductive and women’s rights. Locally, while there is no march planned, a group of women created their own effort to start a dialogue around reproductive health and women’s rights in the community.

“There’s a lot going down in terms of reproductive rights; some states have already changed their abortion statutes,” said Lisa Hassin, one of the organizing members of the Advocates for Women’s Rights and Reproductive Health. “We just felt like it was important for people to gather — people of any belief system, all walks of life — to just come together and just talk about the situation and bring awareness to what is starting to shift and (talk about) how we feel about it.”

Rather than have a march, the organizing committee — Hassin, Hannah Ross, Erica Hickey, Melissa Cowley Wolff and Roseann Casey — decided to host a peaceful gathering at 4-7p.m. Saturday at Color Roasters in Eagle.

“There’s a lot of polarization in our nation right now that doesn’t feel very healthy. It’s always one person’s value against another,” Hassin said. “We didn’t want that feeling to be how we started off this topic and this conversation. It felt to us that (this format) might create less tension and that it might feel more bonding and accepting of all voices.”

People of all ages are invited to come and share a microphone at the coffee shop Saturday — exchanging stories, feelings and ideas; starting conversations around local resources for women; and being expressive and creative about how it feels to walk through the world and local community as a woman right now.

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“This is about each individual coming and speaking about what they’re thinking about, what they’re worried about, what they’re concerned about and the group just hearing them and riffing off of that and responding to that,” Hassin said. “I think we’re so afraid of our own voices, but we have great ideas, and this is a great opportunity for all people to be heard.”

The committee hopes the gathering will create a place of empowerment and establish connection and a shared sense of responsibility and possibility.

Hassin said participants are encouraged to share any form of creative expressions, such as songs, poems, art, dance or speeches.

“We wanted it to be expressive and creative and imaginative and just allow people to come and be themselves,” she said. “Come, be seen, be supported and be witnessed in any way that feels authentic to you around these topics.”

Though event is branded as a “call to action for Eagle County,” the intention is creating a safe space for conversation, building a community and, hopefully, triggering local action, Hassin said.

“We want to actually test the pulse in the room about what people are actually wanting to do,” she said. “I suspect that we’ll have many more ideas that come up around calls to action, but this is more of a planning, think tank time.”

And while much of the fight for abortion access and reproductive rights are happening in southern states in Texas and Mississippi, Hassin highlighted the importance of having these conversations locally as well.

“As different states are turning around abortion and women’s reproductive rights; those things could absolutely start to impact our state,” Hassin said. “That’s what this conversation is about: what is available here, and how might this be grossly impacted by some of the court decisions that are happening around the nation.”

Already, through the committee, Hassin feels that she has recognized the event’s potential.

“I’m hoping that (the gathering) will build community, that it will build a sense that there might be something we can do as opposed to just watching it on the TV or just thinking that these things happen in other places,” she said. “Just being a part of this committee has made me feel that way. It feels healthy, and quite honestly, it feels like what we should be doing with our community to create connection, community and local action.”


What: Together for Reproductive Rights: A call to action for Eagle County

When: 4-7 p.m. today

Where: Color Roasters in Eagle at 717 Sylvan Lake Rd.

There will be a Spanish translator at the event.

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