In its most recent piece, the Editorial Board of The Daily Princetonian criticizes the Women*s Center for an array of “overwhelmingly liberal events,” such as events around the #BlackLivesMatter movement and abortion stigma for students. In doing so, it presupposes a liberal agenda that rejects all opposing views — one monolithic set of views to which not only all liberals subscribe, but also apparently the Women*s Center as well.
Although I fiercely oppose the imposition of a “liberal agenda,” I don’t deny that most liberal students here support the BLM movement and women’s full reproductive rights. However, an event on black lives is not solely about the politics behind police brutality — although that is arguably a transgression of basic human rights rather than an issue predicated upon political party affiliation. It is about broadening the conversation to include a plurality of voices, to include black women, black queer women, black transgender women. Although I did not attend the event with Alicia Garza back in February 2015, having read about her and her work as a black feminist and activist, I can confidently say that broadening the conversation is the goal of such an event, not to advance a politically liberal agenda.
Likewise, an event on the stigmas surrounding abortion is not solely about a “pro-life” versus “pro-choice” debate — a problematic dichotomy that I’ll leave out of this discussion. Addressing — in an effort to mitigate — pervasive abortion stigmas is a matter of promoting a culture of understanding and respect for women. And if people on either side of this debate fail to recognize the harmful implications of censuring and alienating women who have had abortions, we will continue to exacerbate problems with women’s reproductive health. Advocating against abortion is separate from providing a space for women to comfortably open up about an inconceivably difficult decision that may already have planted deep sadness and regret in the individual. Arguably, the recognition of alternative routes requires an honest, open conversation around why women, particularly female students, may choose to get an abortion, without judging or rebuking them.
The Board fails to acknowledge and recognize the valid intersectionality of racism and sexism. In fact, by branding such programming as singularly liberal, the Board perpetuates the harmful politicization of basic questions of human dignity and identity, which lie at the core of these issues. Gender and equal individual rights should transcend political labels. Discussing these subjects should not serve to further the divide, but bridge it. Regardless of political views, the ultimate objective of Women*s Center programming should be supported by liberals and conservatives alike — no labels needed.Sarah Sakha is a Wilson School major from Scottsdale, Ariz. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.