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"Depatriarchalizing" event to be staged in Planned Parenthood parking lot 

Get your filthy paws off my health care laws

It's 2019 and we still haven't passed the Equal Rights Amendment. But wait! There's more: We have a president with multiple sexual assault allegations against him. And the recent influx of state-level legislation challenging the legal rights specified in Roe v. Wade indicates that we have to work to safeguard the advances already made.

The war on women and femininity, especially when it comes to body autonomy, is alive and rearing its ugly head. The laws don't just attack abortion, in some cases they mean that miscarriages could be investigated, and access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other health care could be dismantled nationally.

These concerns are central to the first summer event in the ongoing "At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice" art and community conversation series. On Wednesday, July 10, the series' curator, Rachel DeGuzman (21st Century Arts, WOC•Art Collaborative), will present "Depatriarchalizing Women/Femmes Bodies: A Long Table Conversation and Installation," held in collaboration with Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York.

While most of the events in the series have been held at Gallery Seventy-Four, this one will take place at what has become a local ground zero in the battle for women's body autonomy: the Planned Parenthood parking lot on University Avenue.

The program will start with a group art-making project led by community volunteer and activist Jeremy Tjhung, which will then become a pop-up installation on Planned Parenthood property. Poets Reenah Golden and Rachel McKibbens will present next, followed by some time for the attendees to view the art installation.

Both the art and poetry will set the tone for the Long Table Conversation, which will include Jessica Coleman, community health educator at Highland Family Planning; Debora McDell-Hernandez, senior director public and community affairs at Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York; disability rights activist Luticha Doucette; artist and activist Golden (The Avenue Blackbox Theatre); McKibbens (founder of Pink Door Writing Retreat, co-owner The Spirit Room); and DeGuzman.

"This event is presented at a critical time when the United States of America is in a state of emergency for women's health," DeGuzman says. "An unprecedented number of extreme abortion bans have been enacted across the country, many of which don't even include exceptions for rape or incest and could include jail time for doctors simply for providing care."

And while abortion bans can impact everyone who can become pregnant, they disproportionally affect people who already have a hard time accessing health care, including people of color and those living in poverty, she says.

"Depatriarchalizing Women/Femmes Bodies" is free to attend and open to the community. Attendees are encouraged to bring a brown bag dinner and lawn or camping chairs. Limited seating will be available. In the case of rain, the event will be postponed until Monday, July 15, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

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