March 25 “Bodily Autonomy” agenda

Changemakers Alliance — an affiliate of Minnesota Women’s Press — will host the “Bodily Autonomy” in-person event on March 25, 10am-3pm. Some of the event will be available via livestream for those who cannot attend in person.

Livestream link:

REGISTER to get post-event details about next steps:

REQUIRED: Take our brief survey about the day’s details

Parking/Bus details: First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis (one-sided residential parking rules in effect)

Thanks to Family Tree Clinic for being a March 25 event sponsor

10am — Reproductive Health Care Freedom

Rev. Kelli Clement and Rep. Esther Agbaje will have a conversation about next steps in securing Minnesota as a safe haven for reproductive health care — beyond safeguards from the new PRO Act .

Rep. Agbaje’s Reproductive Freedom Defense Act would protect patients seeking health care in Minnesota, including visitors from other states.

Thanks to Women’s Foundation of Minnesota  for supporting stories about reproductive justice. Women’s Foundation has been listening, advocating, and supporting leaders to work for racial and gender justice since 1983.

11am — Issues

 Insiders think Minnesota is still a few years away from having enough support to pass the Survivors Justice Act. Can the Survivor Justice Act be passed sooner to have traumatic backgrounds be taken into account in criminal situations, as is happening for veterans?

What else are grassroots advocates hoping to see change in Minnesota policy and support, such as supportive housing policy? How did St. Louis Park change an ordinance that was enabling landlords to evict people who were subjects of visits from police for “noise” issues related to uncharged domestic violence?

“We interviewed 62 Native American women who had been incarcerated in Minnesota’s women’s prison. All but one of those women disclosed histories of domestic abuse and sexual assault prior to incarceration.” 

— Nikki Engel, Violence Free Minnesota

Discussion participants will include:

Videos & Light Lunch

Three video-recorded clips.

  • Diane Rosenfeld — author of “The Bonobo Sisterhood: Revolution Through Female Alliance”
  • Kissy Coakley — founder of Kissy’s Stay Put services, which helps incarcerated women in Minnesota who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault
  • Jon Heath — men’s group facilitator of the Pathways to Family Peace, a program of Global Rights for Women alongside Melissa Scaia

1pm — Solutions

How can we begin to create healing and actual change in Minnesota, including a pilot program of the Bonobo Sisterhood Alliance? (see video above from author Diane Rosenfeld, Harvard law professor)

What are best practices, and obstacles, to teaching healthy masculinity? Can a complementary Bonobo Brotherhood be created that supports men in redefining masculinity and finding the courage to speak up against violence?

In-person discussion participants include:

1:45pm — Next Steps

Can restorative justice be part of the process of holding perpetrators accountable and preventing violent behavior? How do we develop a better system for responding to assault and domestic violence that does not rely primarily on involving law enforcement? How can these programs get funded?

How have Alternatives to Violence Project workshops created change with incarcerated people who were locked into patterns of committing violence?  What interactive exercises have helped transform insights about  workshop participant’s behavior?

In-person discussion participants include:

Group Discussion

How do we make the solutions we have talked about this day happen with statewide support?

Prizes and Giveaways

We will wrap up the group conversations at 3pm.

Can Minnesota become a pilot state for Diane Rosenfeld’s Bonobo Sisterhood Alliance?

In our inaugural Values & Vision Zoom conversation, Minnesota Women’s Press outreach director Crystal Brown explained: “The idea behind the Bonobo Sisterhood is that everybody is your sister, whether you know her, whether you like her, whether you are related to her. When a call goes out — if a woman needs housing, in whatever type of violent situation she happens to be in — she has women around her who support and go with her, whether it is to the courtroom, to fill out paperwork, to feel safe when she is moving if the perpetrator is still there. She’s not alone in in her journey of feeling safe.

“In terms of the housing piece, it is also about having a detainment center for perpetrators, a kind of pre-prison, pre-jail, pre-court space so that the woman and her children can stay in the house and figure things out. Men would be evaluated, they would get mental health support, they would still be able to work so that they’re still paying for home and children expenses.”

Our gender-based violence discussions will continue, if we have the underwriting and member support. Topics we would like to discuss in the future:

  • Can we adjust the mandatory arrest law so that victims of trauma are not arrested?
  • Given the number of times firearms are used in domestic violence situations, why aren’t we tracking whether offenders have guns? How do we change that Minnesota statute?
  • Where are the needs greatest for housing to protect survivors?