Hundreds of thousands of individuals make the choice to have an abortion every year in America, but the stigma toward the hotly debated procedure makes it so that many of these people feel isolated and unsupported in their decision. Even worse, states continue to pass laws actively restricting access to abortions.
But the All Access Coalition aims to shatter the silence of secrecy with a national day of abortion advocacy events in over 30 cities around the country, with an anchor concert taking place in Cleveland featuring headliner Sia and comedians Leslie Jones and Jessica Williams.
Miami is one of four other cities chosen to host concerts featuring artists standing up for the right to choose. The Miami concert, happening at Little Haiti's 380 District, will feature performances by Afrobeta, Jahfe, and the Delou Africa Drum and Dance Emsemble, among others.
“The reaction that I got from the artists was pure joy. They're just excited to be a part of it," Angelica Ramirez, coordinator of the Miami event, says. "None of them have said no because they don't agree. It’s been all positive."
Though a safe abortion is easier to come by in Miami than it would be anywhere in the state of Mississippi (where only one abortion clinic remains), Ramirez cautions Miami citizens not to lose sight of the unique challenges that our diverse city faces when it comes to access to a safe and legal abortion.
On the state level, Ramirez points to antichoice laws “that try to delay the process of abortion or that make it difficult for clinics to provide those services or to receive money from the state. We have had some victories, but it's a fight that is fought very silently.”
In Miami specifically, where immigrant populations are a key part of the city’s identity, Ramirez draws attention to a healthcare system that is often unable to meet the basic needs of its diverse populations in all medical fields, but particularly when it comes to abortion.
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“In the health system in general, there doesn't seem to be a sense of need for physicians or for clinics or hospitals to have an interpreter that will be able to communicate with the people who only speak Spanish." Or Creole, for example. “So, it's very difficult when you're sitting in your doctor’s office to express your needs — to make the right decision, to get the right information — if you don't speak English.” All Access Miami plans to counter this communication gap by offering Spanish, Creole, and American Sign Language interpretation at Saturday’s event.
“We want it to be a very inclusive space because we want to mirror our community,” says Ramirez. In that spirit, the event will also provide gender-neutral bathrooms, pronoun pins, and disabled and elderly accessibility.
Aside from the issue of language, Ramirez indicates a lack of access to basic information about resources in our community. “Many of us are not in touch with organizations that offer services. That's actually a key part of what we want to do. We're doing activist tabling. We want to make sure that the people that come, regardless of their income and their language, are able to get in touch with organizations that are offering services that they didn't know about before.”
While tabling with All Access at Miami-Dade College, she's seen first-hand the powerful effects of an open discussion about abortion. “I had some girls come up to me and say, ‘I got an abortion a couple years ago, or last year,’ and it was just such relief when they said it. So, I think there is a need that we're not talking about, but now that we're creating safe spaces like these, people are going to be able to let go. It's kind of liberating to start having that conversation. I think we're becoming aware of how necessary it is.”
All Access: Miami Concert. 5 p.m. Saturday, September 10, at 380 District, 380 NE 59th St., Miami; 305-924-4219; 380district.com. Tickets are free with email signup via allaccess2016.com.