“My Time at Feminist Camp”
by Sophie Harris
From Monday, June 6th, 2022, to Friday, June 10th, 2022, I was able to attend Feminist Camp in New York City. All sessions of Feminist Camp have been run by Amy Richards, influential activist and founder of Soapbox, Inc. It is a five-day conference where its participants meet with feminist organizations and individuals across New York City. Anyone who completes the program comes away from it with a newfound sense of purpose and passion for gender equity. The schedule is different for each session of Feminist Camp, and it also varies in the day-by-day breakdown.
During my session at Feminist Camp, each day had a different theme. Monday was focused on careers. We first met with Betty Reid Soskin, who was the oldest National Park Ranger before her retirement. She was also an activist and singer. Next, we attended a career panel at Wasserman, a prominent sports marketing and talent management company.
The next day’s theme was reproductive justice. This was a very busy day, we met with Mica LeJohn, who is starting a new innovative app called Idoru. Next, we had a zoom call with Afsha Malik, a representative from National Advocates for Pregnant Women. After a lunch break, we had a Papaya workshop with the Reproductive Health Access Project. During this workshop, we saw an abortion demonstration on a papaya. We then learned how to complete this procedure on the papaya, taking a hands-on approach. It was a very rewarding workshop. Next, we met with Janessa Waiters, who works as a part of Collective Rising. She gave us participants a lot of great insight on how it is important to give small contributions to the feminist movement, not just large ones.
Wednesday was all about Media. We did a zoom session with Democracy Now! Where we got the opportunity to talk with one of the main anchors, Amy Goodman. Next, we met with representatives from Feminist Press. After that, we visited Bluestockings Cooperative, New York’s only queer, trans, and sex worker-run bookstore. At Bluestockings, I also got trained on how to use a Narcan kit, which aids people who overdose on opioids. Finally, the day ended with a screening of a short film by Paula Kwesin, who runs the 49%, an organization that strives to advance women’s rights and gender equality through film and media.
Thursday was a very special day in the program. We began the day with a tour of Hasidic Williamsburg. This was led by Frieda Vizel, who is a former member of the community. Next, we went to Gloria Steinem’s house, where we had a talking circle on decarceration. The participants in this talking circle were Justine Moore as a representative of the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, Sharon White Harrigan and Rita Zimmers, representatives from the Women’s Community Justice Association, and Gloria Steinem.
Friday, the final day of the program, was all about art. We started at the Museum of Modern Art, where we looked at a photography exhibit. Next, we went to Tribeca to see a gallery of some of Anita Steckel’s work. To wrap up the program, we had a panel about feminist art on Little Island. The artists we spoke to were Rachel Cole and Emily Marie Miller.
Overall, this was such a special program and truly an amazing experience, and I am so grateful I got the opportunity to attend Feminist Camp.