January 23, 2023
California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Actress Connie Nielsen and Legislative Women’s Caucus Members Join Planned Parenthood to Celebrate “My Body, My Voice” Art and Storytelling Project Launch
First of its kind project heard from people across the state during week-long tour; Honors legacy of Roe 50 years later
Sacramento – On the steps of the State Capitol, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom joined Planned Parenthood leaders and storytellers, as well as actress Connie Nielsen and members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, to welcome “My Body, My Voice,” a traveling art and interactive storytelling installation that captures stories from people across California in the fight for equity and reproductive freedom. The new California based project officially launched the day after what would have been the 50th Anniversary of Roe v Wade.
“The ongoing fight for reproductive freedom requires us to continue California’s work to ensure widespread access to reproductive services and to transform and expand fearful, intolerant hearts and minds,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “As a documentary filmmaker, I understand the power of storytelling to humanize complex topics and transform archaic schools of thought. I commend Planned Parenthood for empowering us all to use our voices to illustrate our lived experiences and uplift and center diverse stories. As a collective, our words will shine a light on our common humanity and the universal human desire to be loved, seen, valued, and free.”
“Whether it was a story of abortion, birth control, family, friends, Californians across the state came together to share personal moments that unite us as we continue to fight for reproductive freedom,” said Jodi Hicks, CEO of California Planned Parenthood Education Fund. “While we had hoped to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this is how California shows we will not back down and how we will fight to envision an even better world post-Roe. While this Roe Anniversary marks a reminder of what we’ve lost, this is also a reminder that Roe was always the floor — not the ceiling — and now we must reimagine what is possible for our communities. A vision for the future that centers those historically left behind will create a more equitable health care landscape for all.”
“My Body, My Voice” is a storytelling project by California Planned Parenthood Education Fund in partnership with VoiceBox, which is produced by Tre Borden in collaboration with artist Dorian Lynde. The project seeks to amplify peoples’ stories in the fight for equity and reproductive freedom. The project especially seeks to highlight the stories of people from diverse backgrounds, as restrictive reproductive legislation has disproportionate effects on people or color and others who already face barriers to care.
“Fighting for women’s rights, for women to have full autonomy over their bodies, is an essential part of the story of my life,” said Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-18). “I learned to protest for women’s rights at the age of 16, with my mother in Washington DC. As a Black Latina, as a Puerto Rican woman, I understood the importance of this right. At the age of 21, I made the decision of my own to have an abortion. The ability to make this decision, in a supportive environment, where I didn’t have to worry whether I would be criminalized for my choices, meant a lot to me and my family. I tell my story to help others understand the importance of this decision in women’s everyday lives. Our work is not done. I will continue to fight for reproductive freedom and tell my story, so that women across the state and across the country have the choice I did.”
Planned Parenthood Mar Monte patient storyteller Cristina Sanchez also spoke at the press conference sharing her personal abortion story.
Honoring the history and impact of storytelling in the fight for abortion rights, the project seeks to travel the state to build an archive of diverse and inclusive stories: whether the story is about abortion, birth control, family, experiences, rights, or the rights of others – participants tell why the right to reproductive freedom matters to them in an interactive recording booth. The project is also visiting Orange County, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, and Berkeley, with more stops to be announced.
“Californians are showing up to tell their stories, to share their own personal experiences and to help normalize the fight for reproductive freedom,” said Hicks. “I was proud to step into the Voice Box to share my own history and choice to have an abortion. Our hope is that by hearing these stories, more people are encouraged to come out and talk about the importance of reproductive freedom and access to essential health care.”
In addition, Senate Resolution 9, authored by Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins and Senator Nancy Skinner, and House Resolution 6, by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, commemorating the Roe Anniversary are expected to be heard on the Floor this week.
Director: JESSICA LAW
Creative Producer: SYMONE HOLLIDAY
Director of Photography: KALEA CALLOWAY
Editor/Colorist: JEFF WATTERSON
Composer/Sound Mix: GREG BEVIS
Creative Director: DORIAN LYNDE
Producer: TRE BORDEN
Photo Credits: JONATHAN PROUD AND CARAVAN FILMS