Watch a recording of our October 5th panel, The Legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Future of Feminist Jurisprudence, here.

Listen to Me: A Story About Black Women Told By Black Women

Poster image for Listen to Me event

A Discussion with the Filmmakers

Please join us Friday, March 26 at 2:30 pm on Zoom for a discussion with Kanika Harris and Stephanie Etienne about their upcoming documentary, Listen to Me. 

Listen to Me is the story of four women and the cost of motherhood. These women stand at the front lines of the Black maternal health struggle as birth workers and public health experts while walking the delicate tightrope of birthing in the United States. This is a story of the deep complexities and troubling challenges that Black mothers experience. Beyond dismal statistics, Listen to Me centers the voices and spirit of Black women. 

Link to the event:

Kanika Harris, Co-Director  
Kanika Harris, PhD, MPH is a Health Behavioral Scientist based in the Washington, DC area. Kanika Harris is a mother, doula and serves as a public health expert for the DC Mayor’s Lactation Commission. Kanika’s work broadly focuses on social determinants of health, women’s health, and HIV prevention.

Stephanie Etienne, Co-Director  
Stephanie Etienne, CNM, MPH is a New York native of Haitian descent. She is a midwife and believes reproductive justice is a human right. Stephanie also believes that the conditions under which children enter the world should be empowered and honored. She lives in Baltimore, MD with her family.

Four women in the struggle for reproductive justice turn the camera on themselves 

Four stories about the cost of motherhood triumphs, joy, healing, and finding answers

For more information:

Sponsored by:
- UMass Amherst Department of Anthropology Virtual Colloquium Series
- Five College Culture, Health, and Science Program
- Amherst College Department of Anthropology
- Mount Holyoke College Department of Anthropology
- Five College Reproductive Health Rights and Justice Certificate
- Five College Reproductive Politics Faculty Seminar 

Public Lecture by Sarah Knott, author of "Mother is a Verb: An Unconventional History"

Thursday, February 20, 7:00pm, Chapin Hall 101
Amherst College
More information:  Prof. Jen Manion, Amherst College (

Mothering is as old as human existence. But how has this most essential experience changed over time and cultures? What is the history of maternity—the history of pregnancy, birth, the encounter with an infant? Can one capture the historical trail of mothers? How?  In Mother Is a Verb, the historian Sarah Knott creates a genre all her own in order to craft a new kind of historical interpretation. Blending memoir and history and building from anecdote, her book brings the past and the present viscerally alive. It is at once intimate and expansive, lyrical and precise.

Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories: From Roe v. Wade to Young v. UPS

Thu, Feb 27 2020 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Hall
Event poster

Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories:  From Roe v. Wade to Young v. UPS

Young People Welcome: Young people of all ages are welcome at this event. There will be coloring books and crayons available for children. 

Attacks on reproductive rights and justice are in the news daily—from the rollback of abortion rights and contraception access to the separation of children from their parents at the border. Come hear renowned legal scholars discuss the movement and litigation stories behind important reproductive rights and justice cases and what we can learn from them in this current political moment.

Panelists will discuss their recently released book Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories and topics ranging from coerced sterilization, abortion, and pregnancy discrimination. 

Panelists will include:

Linda Greenhouse, Lecturer at Yale Law School and Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalist for her work reporting on the Supreme Court.  She is the author of Becoming Justice Blackman  and co-author with Prof. Siegel of Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling. 

Reva Siegel, Professor at Yale Law School.  Professor Siegel’s writing draws on legal history to explore questions of law and inequality and to analyze how courts interact with representative government and popular movements in interpreting the Constitution.  In addition to Before Roe v. Wade, she is also the author of the law school textbook, Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking with Paul Brest, Sanford Levinson, Jack M. Balkin, and Akhil Reed Amar, 2018), and Directions in Sexual Harassment Law (edited with Catharine A. MacKinnon, 2004).  

Kate Shaw, Professor at Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University Professor of Law and the Co-Director of the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy, where her research and teaching focuses on constitutional law, legislation, administrative law, the Supreme Court, election law, and gender and sexual orientation and the law. During the Obama administration, she worked at the White House Counsel’s Office as a Special Assistant to the President and Associate Counsel to the President. She clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. 

Maya Manian, Visiting Professor, Howard University School of Law. Professor Manian’s scholarship investigates the relationship between constitutional law, family law, and health care law, with a particular focus on access to reproductive health care. She previously practiced civil rights litigation at the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York and served as a California deputy attorney general. 


Loretta Ross, one of the founders of the reproductive justice framework and current visiting lecturer at Smith College. An activist-scholar who is widely known and respected in the U.S. and internationally as a leader in the struggle for human rights and reproductive justice, Ross is one of the co-founders of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective in Atlanta, GA, and the author or co-author of several books and numerous articles, including: Radical Reproductive Justice (2017); Reproductive Justice: An Introduction (2017); "The Color of Choice," Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology (2016); and Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organizing for Reproductive Justice (2004). 


Jallicia Jolly, Consortium for Faculty Diversity Pre-Doctoral Fellow and Visiting Instructor of American Studies and Black Studies, Amherst College, whose research focuses on the transnational politics of race, gender, sexuality and health throughout the African diaspora.

Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories spans topics including contraception, abortion, pregnancy, and assisted reproductive technologies, telling the stories of these cases using a wide-lens perspective that illuminates the complex ways law is debated and forged―in social movements, in representative government, and in courts. Reading the cases together highlights the lived horizon in which individuals have encountered and struggled with questions of reproductive rights and justice at different eras in our nation’s history―and so reveals the many faces of law and legal change.  

This discussion of reproductive rights and justice stories comes at a critical and perhaps pivotal moment for this area of law. The changing composition of the Supreme Court, increased executive and legislative action, and shifting political interests have all pushed issues of reproductive rights and justice to the forefront of contemporary discourse.



History, Umass
Five College Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Certificate
Five College Reproductive Politics Faculty Seminar

Major Funders:

History, Umass
Lois E. Toko Fund College of Humanities & Fine Arts, Umass
Five College Lecture Fund


School of Public Policy, Umass
Health Promotion and Policy, Umass*
Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, Umass
Legal Studies, UMass
Political Science, UMass
Sociology, UMass
Center for Law, Justice and Societies, UMass
Center for Study of Women & Gender, Smith                        
Gender Studies, Mt. Holyoke College
Politics, Mt. Holyoke College
History, Amherst College
Sexuality, Women’s & Gender Studies, Amherst College
Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, Amherst College
PopDev, Hampshire College
Civil Liberties & Public Policy (CLPP) Program, Hampshire College
Abortion Rights Fund of Western MA
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund
NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts
ACLU of Massachusetts

*Departmental sponsorship of various types of events does not constitute an endorsement of the views expressed at those events, rather it is an endorsement of the exploration of complex and sometimes difficult topics. Promoting the free exchange of ideas is one of the most important functions of the university.  The Department of Health Promotion and Policy is committed to supporting the human rights of all, and to redressing the disproportionate burden of suffering that falls upon poor, disenfranchised and marginalized communities.

UMass Amherst
Directions and parking info:
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Campus contact: 

Annual CLPP Conference: From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom

Friday, April 3rd to Sunday, April 5th
Hampshire College

Annual conference for student and community activists

Conference website      Registration Deadline:  March 27th    Register Here!