Two Georgetown University clubs hosted an open mic night April 25 to advocate for reproductive justice.
Bossier, a Georgetown magazine that empowers people with marginalized gender identities on campus, and H*yas for Choice, a pro-abortion rights and sex-positive organization for Georgetown students, organized the open mic night in the Healey Family Student Center. Ten students shared their poetry, instrumental music, songs, spoken word recitals and paintings in front of over 50 attendees during the event.
Rebecca Glickman (CAS ’23) said she introduced the idea of an open mic night as a final project in one of her courses, Professor Emma Jaster’s theater and performance studies class “Empathy and Embodiment.”
“As someone really passionate about reproductive rights and social movements in general, I decided an open mic night would be such a great way to combine the ideas of reproductive justice with healing, embodiment and wellness through performance art,” Glickman wrote to The Hoya. “Embodied practices can help us grieve and work through trauma and pain, things we most often experience through the body.”
Glickman, the former organizing director of H*yas for Choice, said Bossier and H*yas for Choice often work together to facilitate students’ creative expression on gender issues.
“As clubs with similar values, they collaborate together often, especially in events like open mic nights which bring together art and social issues,” Glickman wrote.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June 2022 that overturned Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion, 14 states have fully banned abortion, and five more have enacted gestational limits.
A federal judge in Texas invalidated the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval for mifepristone, a common abortion pill, on April 7. Although the Supreme Court maintained the approval, the case is ongoing, and a future ruling invalidating FDA approval could drastically reduce access to mifepristone, according to the New York Times.
Serena Barish (CAS ’25), Bossier’s managing director and a board member at H*yas for Choice, said art like the pieces performers displayed at the open mic night plays an important role in allowing people to deal with trauma related to reproductive health.
“I think that, especially in the case of reproductive justice, there’s a very distinct kind of pain that comes with it,” Barish told The Hoya.“I mean, this is really more relevant today than ever before. Art is really powerful in that sense because it’s something that I think increasingly becomes accessible to people as a form of self-care in the wake of having to kind of grapple with what’s happening.”
Emily Hardy (SFS ’23), Bossier’s former executive editor, said giving students platforms to express themselves about reproductive justice allows them to find support in the community around them.
“We come together to name our emotions and voice shared pain, but also shared joy,” Hardy wrote to The Hoya.“We are creators who will not be contained by a system that seeks to deny reproductive agency.”
“Even if all we can do is gather in shared spaces, we will continue to hold space for the rage, fear, and exhaustion that is wrapped up in the Dobbs decision,” Hardy added.
Community events like the open mic night allow attendees to feel a sense of empowerment, according to Hardy.
“We have the power to do something, even if that something is providing care for members of our community affected by the decision,” Hardy wrote. “While we may not be able to reverse the Dobbs decision, simply by making space to share communal outrage and feel supported by others experiencing similar emotions makes the pain less isolating.”
Glickman said she was proud that the performers could comfortably share their art at the open mic night.
“What was so rewarding was the feedback we got about the event: how we created such a safe and comfortable space and even helped audience members feel inspired, empowered and comforted,” Glickman wrote.
Barish said art provides a unique way of speaking out that government restrictions cannot diminish.
“It’s really important to give people an opportunity to claim their own voice because I think that’s a deeply humanizing force, and it will continue to be,” Barish said. “At the end of the day, you can ban books, you can ban healthcare in some ways, you can ban my access to reproductive autonomy — all of these things — but you can never claim my voice as yours, and I think art provides that space.”
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