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02/06/2017

A message of hope for inclusivity and equality

For many US citizens, as well as people around the world,
the last few months have been difficult and disappointing given the results of
the US presidential election. As a feminist bioethicist, I am particularly
concerned about how the Trump administration will treat vulnerable and
oppressed groups, such as women, individuals in the LGBTQ community, people of
color, individuals with disabilities, Muslims and other religious minorities in
the US, and poor individuals. I am also concerned that the Trump administration
will erode people’s access to healthcare and that this will disproportionately
affect these vulnerable and oppressed groups. Already, we have seen that one
of Trump’s first actions is to start the process of repealing the Affordable Care
Act
.

It is easy to be disheartened during these challenging
times, but I recently attended two events that gave me hope. First, on Friday,
January 20, I attended and co-organized the fifth annual Capital
District Feminist Studies Consortium Conference
which was held at the Albany
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. When we chose the date for this
conference in the summer of 2016, we didn’t realize that we had scheduled the
conference for Inauguration Day. Had the presidential election turned out
differently, this may have affected our turnout, but as it stands, we had
approximately 80 people in attendance, which is great for a local conference. A
feminist conference was the perfect place to be on this Inauguration Day. In
order to address some of Trump’s antifeminist and other biased comments and actions,
the organizers put together an invited panel titled “Feminist Work in
Non-Feminist Surroundings: Survival in Challenging Times.” I participated
in this panel to discuss why I had created the Capital District Feminist
Studies Consortium in the first place and why its existence is so important
moving forward. The other panelists – a lawyer, an artist, and a historian –
also spoke about the need for women in public spaces and for feminist
resistance.

The following day, Saturday, January 21, I attended the Women’s
March in New York City, which also gave me hope. Though tired from a full day
of participating in and moderating the conference, I was invigorated by the large
(over
400,000 people
) and supportive crowds (filling the streets of New York City
According to estimates. Furthermore, there were sister marches in all 50 states
and around the world. Approximately 5 million
people marched in around 670 marches
, making this the world’s largest
demonstration. That so many people came together surrounding a message of
inclusivity and equality is incredible and powerful.

Inspired by these two events, I will continue moving forward
with hope, which will strengthen and support me as I continue to work, both in
my professional and personal life, towards justice for all people, and
particularly those who are vulnerable and oppressed. I hope you will join me.

The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI’s online graduate programs, please visit our website.

 

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