Leslie Mac, Tiffany Flowers, and Vilissa Thompson from Day Without Us discuss what this movement is and how you can get involved.
Season 2 of The Resistbot Podcast, hosted by Melanie Dione, features a different interview every week with an organizer working to create change in their community. We aim to elevate voices without a large platform, focusing on their stories. Our pod is brought to you by the same volunteers behind the Resistbot (https://resist.bot) chatbot that's driven over 30 million pieces of correspondence to elected officials since 2017. If you haven't given it a try, pull out your phone and text the word "resist" to the number 50409 to get started. You can text officials from your Mayor to the President, check your voter registration, start your own campaigns, and much more!
Melanie: Welcome back to
the resist bot podcast.
I'm your host, Melanie Dione, where
every week we discuss the issues
and introduce you to the organizers
and advocates that highlight how
policy impacts the real people in
the neighborhoods around the country.
I hope you enjoyed your summer.
I definitely did.
Mine was quite eventful.
But after this long break, I'm
ready to jump right in to our
guests that I am so excited about.
I'm very excited, not only about the
guests, but about this incredible movement
that they have helped bring together.
And our guests Tiffany
Flowers and Leslie Mack.
Leslie: Thanks for having us.
We're so excited to be here
and, so grateful to all of your
support to our work and to resist
bot for supporting us as well.
Thanks for having us.
Tiffany: Peace resist bot family.
Melanie: Thank you so much for being here.
let's before we get in today
without us, which I'm excited to
talk about, let's talk about you.
Let's talk about who you are and
what you do in your day to day.
We can start with Leslie
Leslie: Sure I can start.
So I'm Leslie Mac.
I use she her pronouns.
I'm originally from Brooklyn, New York.
I live in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I am a digital strategist
and communications expert.
I serve as the communications director
for the frontline in addition to
running my own consulting firm.
And I'm also the communications
lead for a day without us, which
we're gonna talk about today and
I'll toss it over to Tiffany.
Melanie: Miss Tiffany Flowers
Tiffany: Hey, Hey, Hey, everyone.
And probably not only Tiffany
Flowers, she, her pronouns.
uh, in my day job, I
work at the frontline.
I'm really, really thrilled that
I get to work with Leslie Mack
and Angela peoples every day.
We are a campaign that was built.
Together with the working families
party and the movement for black
lives, electoral justice project, the
rising majority and United we dream.
We were born the summer of 2020
after the murder of George Floyd
and the uprising that happened.
And we helped.
Support taking those 27 million
people who hit the streets and helping
them galvanize that energy right on
into electoral justice at the poll.
So, we're gearing up to do it again
in 2022 right now, cuz we know as
UFA says, the very people that we
elect in the coming weeks will be
the people who determine 20 24.
And then there's the accountability.
the work continues getting them in
office is one part of, of the puzzle.
I wanna talk about what that
other part of the puzzle is.
When we talk about advocacy, activism,
feet to the fire calls to action.
And of course, the day without us.
How did that come to be?
How did, how was this birth?
Leslie: I'll let Tiffany tells the story
the best I'm gonna let her tell it.
Tiffany: She always says this, but,
long story long.
, I've known Leslie Mack.
I met her at the movement
for black lives convening.
Right after Sandra bland, was murdered.
And I always wanted to
work with Leslie Mack.
Like this me be a little fan girl
for, let me tell the whole story.
Always wanted to work with Leslie
Mack and got this opportunity to start
working with her on the front lines.
And you know, how you ever
work with someone who's just
so great at what they do.
You're like, Every project I work
on, I want this person to be involved
because they bring that element to the
team of just sharpness and smartness.
And Leslie's just for those
that don't know a com genius.
And so Leslie and I were about
to embark on another project in
democracy space with this group.
Of other organizers, Ria
Thompson Washington, Angela
Peoples and Tracy Quarter.
And the project didn't come to be,
but we kept this group thread open
and kind of used it as a repository.
You know how they say everything
don't belong on the timeline.
Leslie: Listen, you gotta
hold some of that shit back.
I was just touching, agreeing that
yes, everything can go on the timeline.
Some of that stuff, we gotta keep
behind, you know, some privacy wall.
Tiffany: Everything does not belong.
Melanie: I love saying, oh I'm
a big fan of saying y'all, don't
have a group chat sister circle.
Yeah, because there's so much, there's
so much of this that is frustrating.
That is, that touches on our own triggers.
that we have to get it out.
We are still people, we have to
get this out, but we don't have to
get it out in front of everybody.
Leslie: I think there's a
specific pressure too, for folks
that do the work that we do.
Right because the public expects you
to constantly be providing commentary,
framing resource the expectation is
that anything you put out is there
to be consumed in a specific way.
And so these private spaces are where we
get to like shed those more professional.
masks and be ourselves and really be
like, look, this, it really hurts.
Like I'm hurting, this feels awful.
So just shout out to the group
chat cuz it's life saving.
Tiffany: Life life saving and affirming.
It keeps me cussing on the timeline cuz my
mom trolls, my timeline, weirdest thing.
Let it go.
don't cussing on the internet.
Cuss in group chat, mama.
Melanie: I rest his soul.
I blocked my dad when he was alive.
So I was like, we're not doing this block.
I saw him.
I was like, no thanks.
Tiffany: I mean, we need a
grown black children's recovery
club for stuff like that.
I pay my own bills.
and I'm doing stressful work.
I'm gonna say a lot and
you won't always like it.
Tiffany: I might cuss on
the internet sometimes.
So we're in this group chat and,
we're dropping articles there.
We're discussing things.
We're chopping it up and it's been
open for months and it's, not a,
like always pop in group chat.
And then the leak happens and
everybody is of course, WTFing
up and down the group chat.
And then the decision drops,
the dos decision drops.
We're just like, oh my
God, they really did it.
They took it and ran it all the way.
It's like very real.
What are we supposed to do?
We were really upset.
Like Leslie said, we talked
a lot about our feelings and
just like we're organizers.
We're supposed to be, like she said,
popping in action and ready to respond.
Everybody was just paralyzed.
They really did it.
then, you know, there were the organic
actions, there were the organized
actions and there was a lot of discussion
about who was gonna be harmed, right.
Black folks, brown folks.
Birthing people in the south birthing
people in rural areas, people in
states where there was already very
limited access to reproductive, health.
We weren't, we were hearing this
narrative, but not seeing those spaces.
We were hearing this narrative, but not
seeing the organizations and the leaders
who've been doing this work, lifted up
people driving resources to their work.
And we were like, there's gotta
be something that we can do.
So I'll let Leslie take from there.
I mean, I think that that's really, it
was born out of this need to kind of
think of one, particular intervention
that is led by individuals, not a specific
organization, not, A formation that's
meant to stay in place indefinitely.
We really were just seven individual
organizers across movements that saw
a way to offer, you know, something we
saw that was missing in this space and
really kind of taking up space in ways
that black women tend to cuz we kind,
we have to, we know that we have to
meet the moment because our folks are,
Expecting and needing us to, to lean into
care and concern and support for them.
And so day without us, we just
kind of started ideating around
what this could look like.
And first stop, of course, with our
friends and reproductive justice
to kind of talk to them about.
What we were thinking if they
thought this would be helpful.
Cuz one of our goals is to really
dial folks into their work directly
and bypassing some of the more
white focused, I wouldn't even call
reproductive justice, maybe reproductive
health organizations that take up a
lot of space and a lot of resources.
And we wanted to provide an opportunity
to highlight folks that are doing
this grassroots work at a local level.
They were very down and ready to
go folks like in our own voices in,
Folks like black feminist future
the AIA center sister reach all
of these amazing organizations.
And then we hit up our voting
rights folks, black voters
matter, move on, color of change.
Talk to them about like,
Hey, we wanna bring this.
Into a larger conversation to link our
movements and really make the case that
reproductive justice and the, framing
that it provides calls on all of us
to break down the silos between our
movement spaces and really link arms
with each other in a way that supports
all of our movements comprehensively.
Our opposition is very clear.
Their arms are linked.
They are moving in lockstep with one
another and speaking with one voice and we
have not had that opportunity, to really
make that push on our side of things.
And so this is a, a way
for folks to get informed.
Uh, we're gonna be having a
virtual teach teaching with some
really amazing conversations to
help people understand some of.
Lingo some of these concepts and really
about this framework of reproductive
justice and talking about why this
is such a necessary intervention.
When people say listen to black women,
this is an opportunity to do just that.
And then we have a popup scheduled all
around the country where communities
are gonna be getting together with these
local organizers and organizations to be
joyful together, to have fun together,
to laugh, to connect, to learn more
about the work, to learn what needs
exist and what needs folks can meet
with their time, talent and treasure.
And so it's really an offering for.
That have been in all of our
DMS asking us, what can we do?
What do we do next?
What, what can I be doing?
We got you September 30th, stay home,
join firstname.lastname@example.org and then, connect
locally with, local reproductive justice
organizations, um, especially black
led reproductive justice organizations
to see how you can fit into this work.
Melanie: And when I.
In the messaging is how you point
out that this is for everybody in the
actual, when I first started reading
in the end for everybody who was sick
and tired of being sick and tired.
And how many times do we deal with that?
Where we're we feel like we are.
Having the same conversation
about different things, but
the end result is the same.
Why are they doing this?
Why are they ignoring us?
Why are they, if the majority of
the people in the country feel
this way, why are they going the
other way when this is a democracy?
So I appreciate that so much where it's.
Leading the way of intersectionality has
so often when that table does not exist,
it's just historically proven that black
women have to create those tables if only
so that other people can come in and join
us because otherwise those opportunities
are not always available to us.
So, first of all, thank you for this.
Thank you for even.
Giving the opportunity to be involved
in something of this magnitude.
You mentioned Ria Thompson Washington,
who the resist bot fam is familiar
with, be from, the resist bot live days.
Also someone else who's involved
Vilissa Thompson, Nee Nee Taylor
from Harriet's wild dreams is
another familiar name and face.
So these are people that we're
familiar with, that we can connect to.
But can you talk more about some of the
other organizations that are involved
that, large and small who have said
let's, throw our hats in, because I know
that for, and we'll talk about the popups
in a little bit, but for those popups
Ben, and Jerry's said, if you're having
a pop up, we got ice cream for you.
So can you talk a little bit
about what those, how the larger
organizations are providing their.
So, you know, one of the things we
really wanted to be specific about is
that This isn't a pay to play type of
intervention with these national partners.
yes, obviously there's money that needs
to be put into these efforts and we
have to spend money to, to put on this
event, but we didn't want to make that
the determining factor to engaging with.
This work, because we recognize that
some organizations are small with
small budgets and some the largest
that they're gonna be able to provide
for this effort is just funding.
And so a lot of this was really about
talking to national partners from that
perspective of like, what can you provide?
What are the best ways to utilize
the resources that you have?
And so we have.
you know, large organizations like March
for our lives and moms rising and me too.
And then we have smaller organizations
that are on the ground, like
survivors know in Chicago and,
uh, Southern workers assembly.
And we have until freedom in DC
and Harriet's wildest dreams.
You know, other large organizations
like working families party,
who's our fiscal sponsor.
Shout out to everyone at WFP,
like seriously y'all are just
the baddest dopest family.
And we're so glad to be able to
work with you on such a regular
basis, but also women's March.
And we have some great youth organizations
that are, are participating in the
graduate student action network.
And students are gearing up for a
strike, uh, the week after this.
So we are.
So excited to really have set this
table in a way that allows people to
bring the best of themselves to it
and their full selves to it as well.
Melanie: And can you for those popups,
can you first let us know what the.
Framing of the day is gonna look
like, because I know you have,
there's going to be the teaching and
then there'll be the popups after.
So can you let folks know a little
bit about what the timeframe will
look like for the programming?
Leslie: Go ahead.
So we actually thought if folks are
going to take this day and be brave and.
All the systems, as many of the
systems that work against us to
oppress us, the very least thing
that we could do is not ask them
to join the programming at 8:00 AM.
The second least thing we could do
is not exhibit east coast supremacy
as it's called and, um, not make
a way for our west coast friends.
So we're actually gonna start
the program at, get in nice
and very relaxed, 11:30 AM.
Eastern standard time.
I know it's still early California,
west coast friends, but.
We thought it would be
a lovely time to start.
So 1130 is just warming
up, warm in the room up.
We're gonna share some footage and
some really interesting straight to
camera talks about the people in your
neighborhood and existing work and
things that you've already seen maybe.
And maybe some folks you don't know.
And then we're gonna jump right
into the programming at 12 o'clock.
We'll have a host and
some of our team members.
Really setting the stage for the day
and walking us through, like Leslie
said, we have some conversations
planned with some likely folks again
that you know, and some folks that you
might not know, I'm really excited.
She mentioned the graduate student
action network is gonna hop on
and talk about the student strike.
That's happening October 6th.
I didn't even know about this until we got
connected to them through day without us.
So lots of information sharing about
all the ways that these different.
Organizations and individuals are
pushing back through the framework
of reproductive justice and
naming the threat and the threads.
and then the popups are starting.
What we're seeing now.
Like Atlanta's gonna actually
go starting at 11:00 AM.
So they're gonna have an area, I think,
in the park where you could just chill
and watch the programming because we're
running it straight from our website.
No login, no extra steps.
Just come join us at 11 30, 12
o'clock at day without us do com.
And they're gonna have tabling all day.
They're gonna have, they're gonna
be partnering with groups on the
ground to do voter registration,
share information about how to get
yourself, the help that you need.
If you want to have an abortion, if
you wanna do it at home, if there
are different ways that you need
to gather information to make good
decisions, if you are a trans youth,
if you're new to the community, all
sorts of information because we also.
Live our values now and show people
that community is an action word, right?
It is something that we live in.
It's something that we thrive in.
It's something that we join and
we talk and we sit and we eat
and we agree and we disagree.
But we all understand that we are here
with each other and therefore responsible
for each other and need to be at least
civil and kind towards each other.
And that's what we're
trying to help build.
Melanie: I wanna point out something
that you said, and it's, this is
something that's also in your messaging
and how you want to, since you, you
didn't know about the strike until.
You got connected with day without
us and your messaging specifically
talks about how all of our movements
are connected and how that's a,
part of why this is so necessary.
And I wanna dig in a little bit too.
September 30th is a big day, but
day without us it's principles
the movement that's not over
and done on September 30th.
Tiffany: That's absolutely right, Mel.
This question I love the, most
of all the questions people
ask us is like, what happens.
What happens really lies in each
an individual, each individual
user person that joins, right?
Because our goal is even if there isn't
a popup where you live, that if you
join our programming, if you get to see
all of these phenomenal people who are
doing this work and have chapters across
the country, that you find something
that, that, that sparks interest in you,
you came because you were interested
now let's help you really find the
place you wanna plug in and dig in.
And learn more and do some work, right?
Because the other part of our
messaging is everybody's not
going to be cat, miss ever.
Everybody is not going to be the
person that stands at the front
of the March with the megaphone.
Everybody's not gonna be the person
that gives the, I have a dream speech,
but everybody can make sandwiches.
Everybody can pass out.
Everybody can hand out water.
Everybody can give an encouraging word.
Everybody has a brain with some capacity
to learn a new skill that could be of
assistance to you and your family and
therefore your family and the community.
And that's really the spirit of this day.
We want folks to know that
we feel you, we see you.
We're organizers and we live and eat
and breathe in this space every day.
And we're so.
Then we're also frustrated and we also
wanna be in community now more than
ever, because we also understand that
unsettling feeling that we're all feeling.
Is because the future is not
looking that bright right now.
and to your point, about September
30th, being a big day, September 30th
is three days before the Supreme court
comes back for their term this year.
And I don't know if any of you
have been following along, but, um,
Melanie: they are wild in
Tiffany: are wild.
Leslie: Wilding and very intentional and
not, I mean, literal babe Ruth pointing
like, no, there's no ambiguity here.
Like pretense is gone.
I been joking.
I, I was on another podcast.
I said, I was like, I'm tired of
living it unprecedented times.
I need things to be precedent again,
Can we go back to precedent
just for a few days, just
to BR just to take a breath.
can that be the, the most
dramatic thing of the day?
Melanie: start with not
living in the onion.
Leslie: Hello at this these news
cycles, how are we even supposed
to like, keep our head above water?
You turn around.
There's one more.
That, can't be true.
It is true.
How many times a day do you even say that?
That can't be right?
Oh, it is right.
no, I mean, and that Mel, like
this is a love offering, right?
That's what everybody should know.
We truly have love in our hearts for our
communities, for the possibility of what
this world, what this place could be.
And we are determined to fight for it,
to teach other people and show other
people how to fight for it and not
continue to let this hellscape be the
dictating factor in our everyday lives
You know, something Tiffany taught
me over the years is that the biggest
impediment to people becoming,
uh, involved in this work and
being organized generally is fear.
And so, you know, this is an opportunity
to help people overcome the paralysis
that so many of us find ourselves in
right now in the face of all of these
things that have come up over the last
decade and certain, the last few years
have been particularly transparent in the
lack of safety nets that exist for us.
And you know, this is globally, but
certainly here in the United States
specifically, It's been a real eye opener.
people are having to confront really long
held, truths that were foundational right.
To their understanding of the world.
That's not easy.
It's not easy.
And I'll also say that in this
way, which is that it's not just
white people that have to have that
moment of understanding and clarity.
I think often we frame it as though
marginalized people don't have
to have their own conversations.
The first revolution starts
within is not just a phrase.
It's really true.
And, the ask is that you
show up with an open heart.
A willing mind and the possibility of
learning something new and being open
to, to what Mary hooks refers to as being
transformed in the service of the work.
And so that's, really what the ask and
the offering is, to come be in community
with us, with all of these organizations,
all these organizers, and be willing
to be transformed in the service of.
Melanie: And that was
something, for the audience.
When I sat in on the first meeting.
One of the things that was
pointed out, we're not perfect.
These are not perfect
people who are behind this.
We are all learning,
unlearning transforming, and
that is the important thing.
The willingness, the
willingness to recreate.
What exists right now to reform
that into, to dismantle the things
that can't be reformed, because
some of it can be reformed.
and we have to be honest about that.
For example, I've been
very vocal on this show.
The police cannot be reformed.
That is not, And when you look at how a.
We recognize it cannot be reformed.
And how many people, how
many marginalized people.
Still see the police as a viable
resource, as you know, when we deal
with crimes against us, when we deal
with crimes in our neighborhood,
that's still the first place.
So many of us go, even though this
is something that has just been
historically harmful to marginalize
people, not only black people,
brown people, people with mental
illness, anyone who does not fit in.
Straight white abled form.
So I appreciate that so much.
Let's talk about where they can find you
where they can follow you and where people
can learn more about day without us.
Leslie: So for day, without us,
you can go to day without us.com.
We are there.
We're also on all of the social
media platforms at day, without us on
Twitter and on Instagram and Facebook.
A day without us 2022.
So you can follow us on all those
platforms, but if you go to day without
us.com all that information is there.
You can also register there.
You can also donate to us there.
You can check out our
national partners there.
You can also sign up to host a popup.
It is not too late for you
to host a popup in your city.
We are, we have an amazing team led
by Angela peoples that is supporting
all of our popups around the country
and they, it can be as simple as
you in your living room with a few.
watching the teaching and having a
conversation after it, that is a popup.
if you are in a city that has a Ben
Jerry's ice cream scoop shop, uh, we would
be happy to connect you and make sure that
you get ice cream to your event as well.
And we have some other goodies
that we will send along to support.
so definitely check out the
website again, date without us.com.
You can check me out.
You can go to Leslie mac.com and
find all of my information there.
On Twitter, I'm just lousy
Mac, Mac C, and check me out.
I'll be out there talking my stuffs.
Tiffany, how about.
Oh, and also make sure
you follow the frontline.
Cuz we just launched our election
defenders, program for 2022 last night.
And we are across the country
supporting and defending our rights
to have free, fair, uh, safe elections
for people and that they are not
intimidated or scared at the ballot box.
And so we are launching
across the country.
We need volunteers and.
All over the place to help us
do that important work when be
starting trainings next week.
So check out the frontline as well.
Okay, go ahead, Tim.
Tiffany: Gang gang gang frontline.
I am on Twitter.
Flowers, like roses tweets, Ms.
I don't know it was 2011.
I like the handle.
I'm gonna on it.
Melanie: Blessed to be you.
I think you're the only person, maybe you
and Leslie with your original handles.
Leslie: Yeah, it's true.
Tiffany: When I met Mel handle, I
met Mel on Twitter for the audience
to know, and Mel is very kind to me
as a new resident in Washington, DC,
and invited me out to dance parties.
That is a little known fact about how
our friendship started and then brunches.
And we got to know each
other over the years.
And so Twitter, I always wanna
leave the bird app, but just so.
Goodness on there.
My goodness on Instagram,
I'm just flowers, Ms.
yeah, I'm just here on the hanging out,
organizing I'm on, I'm on the streets
more than I'm on the internet but
you know follow along if you'd like.
Melanie: Yes resist bot.
I was, I was a dance machine.
I wanna thank you both so much.
we are going to, I want everybody
to stay on alert because we're going
to be having a wonderful Twitter
space discussing, discussing the
day without us day without us.
And also how you can get involved.
This podcast is going to
drop on September 27th.
So it's, if it's September 27th and you're
wondering, oh, what can I do in three
days, we're going to be having a twitter
space on the day, this podcast drops.
So you can learn what
you can do in three days.
So thank you both for joining cannot
wait to be a part of September
30th and what comes beyond.
Tiffany: so much for having us.
I mean, just a joy, a pleasure.
Another dream come true to
work with another friend.
So, you know, black women have
always will every day save my life.
So thank you for being one.
Melanie: Thank you.
Excited to work with you both.
, I mean, both of us, what, 10, 11
years that we've known each other
and a dream come true for me too.
And I'm so excited for what is
going to come from this and beyond
We're very excited.
We'll see you all on September 30th.
So be ready, everybody.
Mel: And we're also here with the guest who needs no introduction, but I'm gonna introduce her anyway cuz I love too, , friend of the show, friend of mine, Vilissa Thompson.
Vilissa: Hey Mel, it's so great to be back.
Mel: Oh goodness. Always good to have you here. I'm so glad. A, excited to see you as usual. Yes.
But our ability to talk about something, this movement that is. So impactful. That is going to be so impactful day without us. Can we talk a bit, remind folks of who you are, reintroduce yourself. And also talk a little bit about how your organization ramp your voice, your work intersects with this in your role with day Without us.
Vilissa: Well, for new listeners and Current listeners, I am Vilissa Thompson. I am the founder of Aramco. Your Voice, the organization at Tennessee. Experiences of the people. My work just with sectionality, particularly through the lens of race, gender, disability, and I center the experiences of like to say, Well, girls, women in the films like myself, and when it comes to stay without us, a blessing as I look at it developed by, created by black women during this time where we really need to have our voices heard and our experiences heard when it comes to the battle. sickly after her role, you know, has been overturned. So, this earlier this summer, I was approached by my colleague.
Tiffany Flowers about this project that she and a few of the other black women that I knew and some that were new to me are developing and asked me if I would be interested in being a part of it. And of course, anytime able to be around black women being community with black woman, it most likely to be.
Yes. So in hearing more about this work, and I was like, oh gosh, yes. Particularly with the timeliness, with the urgency. Of needing this in this moment. It was a yes. So I've been on board about two months now. Can I believe it's been two months in full and engaging with this group and really taking on, an important role.
There's been so much that I have learned over the past two months, engaging with everyone. You know, just really seeing black women turn nothing into something and really being intentional about. Their mission, who they're bringing in to the work, how they want this work to be shaped and being unapologetic throughout it all.
So this has probably been the most enriching project I have taken on in 2022. And you know, just really glad to share the space and to really see, you know, how things come together come Friday on the 30th.
Mel: I think you're one of those folks who, when I look at a movement, when I look at. What's happening? I wanna see who's involved.
You know that matters. We can, and it's not from a, it's not from a standpoint of cloud or any of that, but reputation matters. Who puts their name on something and when you know that someone has done the work, has pulled the receipts, has looked and seen, yeah, this is legit. And this is something that I am comfort.
Putting not only my name on but also my, work, my elbow grease. Right. You're one of those folks. So the involvement from a personal level of, you know, of mine and also from an organizational level with Resist Spot, it was absolutely. A no brainer with you being such a respected friend of mine and respected member of the Resist Spot community.
So thank you. A because little known fact, even though I know Tiffany and Leslie very well and was very excited to work with them and see them because they are some of those similar voices. Valis is the person who reached out to me and said, Hey girl, this is what we're working on and I think you would really be into it.
And she was absolutely. when it comes down to intersectionality. and let's talk specifically about your work, Vilissa, and how you are always your focus again, black disabled women, girls, femmes. Let's talk a bit about making that room at the table. Can you talk a bit about how ensuring that intersectionality is not.
Black women, trans women, but also disabled women. Can you talk about what it was like to make sure that was factored into creating this space in this movement?
Vilissa: Yes. I think that one thing I've learned in my work is it's always black women of films who bring me into these spaces. It's never, you know, not to be shady.
It's never black men s in the folks it is. Black women and films because we understand the sectionality cuz our own experiences and to keep it real. Many of us are disabled whether we self-identify as that publicly or not. So black women are always the ones who I see being intentional about understanding disability, you know, within that work, ensuring that things are accessible and bringing the people who can really get them on board where they want it to be.
They're the ones who are the most proactive. So it's not surprising to me that I'm yet again in a space that is, either predominantly or in this case all black women led and supported and to be brought in in this way. And when it comes to reproductive justice, reproductive rights to say what people are, the population that get.
Within the movement space of justice and in our experiences, you know, we experience high levels of sexual violence and domestic violence or intimate partner violence than our peers. There are huge barriers in us being able to access reproductive health services. The right to parent is a battle for disabled people.
Since we can have our rights taken. As parents, simply because we're disabled, you know, so you look at reproductive justice, reproductive health, reproductive rights, it is undeniably a disability issue, dis disability rights issue. And it would be inconceivable to not have disabled people being involved in this, whether it's co-organized like myself, or being brought in to educate or to help ensure that there's access to resource.
So that we can engage in the conversation. So I think that day with Without Us is an example of of what does it mean to be intentional by including everybody and everyone you know, not just in the moment of the event, but also in the preparation leading up to the event. So being a part of this coincides with my morals and ethics and passions to be in such spaces where I am seen not just within my professional.
But also could bring in that personal scope as well. And some of the things I've been able to do is bring in other disabled women films who have assisted in other ways of either being a part of some of the workings that needs to be done, course outreach or being a part of the curriculum on development or gonna be some of the folks that we see on the day of the.
So disability is interwoven into the fabric of a day without us, as it should be interwoven in all the spaces that we have, particularly when it centers black people of all disability types of all experiences.
Mel: Thank you so much for that, Vilissa, because that is exactly the the thing we've talked about. This isn't the first time we've had this conversation, right when you've been on the show.
When we've had other discussion earlier this year when we were able to talk to Robin Repro Justice being hand in hand with disability rights was. Right there. And it's a consistent issue, Bodily autonomy, which is an in, which is an intersection. It intersects between disability rights and reproductive justice.
And that's the intention of day without us to show how all of these causes. Somewhere we cross, we, we intersect some. There's a meeting place and being able to unify those voices. We were able to talk to Erin Lang this weekend on our Twitter space, and she still eloquently put how all of these all of these voices, we need to find those places where we can unify because the right has gotten in locked up.
They have their. , they have their singular voice that they speak in. So when you think about the singular voice that we want to have, even though we won't agree on everything, and we can't just, when we can't be so naive as to say we're gonna ignore our needs and, you know, especially when our needs or our needs, it's not to say that for the, sake of the greater good, but how can when we talk about finding.
Unified voice. What would you ask of our listeners, of anyone who's interested in getting involved in day without us? When you speak on what? That the voice of the people as y'all put who are sick and tired of being sick and tired. What would your ask be for not only September 30th, but also beyond that?
Vilissa: My ask would be, if not now, when it is critical for all of us to figure out what we can do. And it doesn't have to be some grand gesture or act. It could be something small, you know, It could be like for a day without us, you and your homegirl watching, the broadcast and learning something new as to how you can engage in your c.
That's community in that sense. And then you coming together and brainstorming like, what can we do for the kids? What can you, can we do for ourselves? What can we do for the elders in our community? When we, when people think about getting involved, it's always these big gestures, and it's not that it could be something that's having a one-on-one conversation.
You know, making sure that people, understand what's. . I think one of the things that really make me proud of being a part of this project is that we wanna get to the everyday folks. This is what this is for. It is not for, the usual suspects in this movement, in this work. It is for everyday people, but it is everyday people who's gonna be the greatest, you know, the greatest impacted by everything that's happening.
And in the ways to engage with everyday people providing the book information, information is, Because then you can take that information and you can share it. Then you can figure out ways to be engaged and go beyond just the learning of it. So I really feel that movements like they, without us, it's really instrumental.
It's to getting everyday people involved, any spaces, and it's not just about asking them to donate. I always hounding them for money for this and that. It's about giving them the tools to figure out what they can do in a community and then let them do that and on their own terms, you know, have autonomy as to how they engage, what they do with their time, what they do with their resources.
I think that's the really instrumental key for me when it comes to stay without us. Is that everybody in the words fiance, Beyonce, everybody. Everybody is every damn body needs to be here, be in this moment because it's gonna impact us for generations. It's going to impact the quality of life and the type of lives we want to live, you know?
And it happening now. It's happening every day. We see it with our schools. We see it with the laws that's getting, more restrictive as to what we're able to do with our. Is happening in this moment, and we cannot afford to just be, you know, locked into fear. Fear is real right now. It's fear of the unknown, fear of how bad things are going to be and have already gotten, but you can't get stuck in that fear.
You know, you have to go and migrate to action and this moment is a part of the action, giving you some direction as to what you can do. You can still be afraid, but be afraid and have a plan. Be afraid and have some tools. Be afraid and still be loud about what you know is right for yourself, for the gen generations to come.
For the communities that exist today, this is the moment and I feel like if folks have been needing something cho to and to really feel whole about stay without us, is that. and I know for me it has really energized me to be a part of this because as you were saying earlier, I don't put my memory everything.
I am very particular about that. So for me to say that I am a part of day without us, how proud I am of it, really, that's really should be the signal that this is the real deal. And I have worked with six other incredible black women who. Our dynamic in their own rights, you know, in the different spaces that they occupy.
But seeing all seven of us come together has been phenomenal and really shows me that black women as always, will lead the way. Black women as always, will create the spaces that we all need. And if you're going to say, Trust black women, follow black women, all that rhetoric, this is the moment to do that.
Mel: Thank you so much, Vilissa. Very excited . I'm super excited for the 30th and to be a part of not only this week. Where we go next? Can you let people know, remind people where they can find you and your work?
Vilissa: Yes. I am at Val Thompson on all the social media platforms. My website is ramp your voice.com. I am always available to do consulting, trainings, writing, speaking engagements within my scope as a social worker, a.
And someone who understands sectionality and urgent everyone to really fully understand that every social and political issue that you care about has a split lens, and that you need to not just be aware of it and also proactive to, to include it and to ensure that the gaps that exist itch, um, smaller over time.
Mel: Thank you so much Vilissa, and thank you all for listening. This has been season two, our The Return of The Resist bot podcast. I'm your host, Melanie Dione. I wanna thank you so much for joining. I wanna thank Resist bot. For creating this space. If you wanna support resist bot, go to resist.bot. If you would like to donate, if you're looking for volunteer opportunities, the midterms are coming up.
Text vote to 5 0 4 0 9 to check your registration to register. If you're a first time voter, this is the time and as Val put so eloquently. If not now, when I wanna thank. Leslie Mac. I wanna thank Tiffany Flowers. I wanna thank Melissa Thompson. And I also wanna thank Aaron Lang, who was amazing this weekend, this Sunday on our Twitter space, which we will have the audio in the post for this, for this podcast episode.
So I highly recommend that you tune in. It's 30 minutes, but it is great. It is impactful, and it tells you so much about what comes next. And one of the things that Erin very eloquently said was, It's up to you. It's up to each one of us. What comes after. September 30th and Resist Spot will be there.
If you would like to start your own petition about your own call to action, that is Spur, that is that is sparked by Via Day Without Us Text Resist to 5 0 4 0 9. There will also be petitions that we will share the call, sign with. Stay tuned to Resist by, because we are going to be part of this movement now and.
So I wanna thank you again for joining us, and until next time, see you then. Peace.