Next week, in honor of national Women of Color HerStory Month, New Voices Pittsburgh will be hosting its annual Kinks, Locks and Twists Conference. Now in its sixth year, the conference has expanded to include national speakers, an awards ceremony, and specialized tracks for adults and youth.
New Voices Pittsburgh is a nonprofit organization focusing on reproductive rights for women of color. Its annual conference brings together reproductive-justice and environmental-justice issues, providing a unique approach to women’s health and activism.
“All of the work we do is based on human rights,” says New Voices Executive Director La’Tasha Mayes. “We believe reproductive justice and environmental justice are pathways to human rights. We believe this intersection of environment and health is deeply connected, and overall, our cultural norms do not value the bodies of women.”
The three-day conference will feature a series of workshops devoted to topics like urban farming, fracking, the Affordable Care Act, healthy beauty, personal care, yoga, nutrition and exercise.
“Not only are we going to have a good time learning, but this conference is a good opportunity for building community,” Mayes says.
National speakers include: Ashlee Davis, of the US Department of Agriculture; Leslie Fields, of the Sierra Club; Ogonnaya Dotson-Newman, of WE ACT for Environmental Justice; Kimberly Inez McGuire, of National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and Women's Voices for the Earth; and Jacqui Patterson, of the NAACP.
“They’re awesome — we’re so excited to have them,” says Mayes, of the speakers. “We really think they carry weight in the environmental-justice movement, so we can learn some best practices from them.”
The conference will be held March 6-9 at Carnegie Mellon University. For more information visit www.kinkslockstwists.org