Episode 24: How it would feel to be free - Southern resistance to race and gender oppression

March 12, 2020

The 24th episode of “The Activist Files” was the Center for Constitutional Rights’ first live podcast. The episode was recorded Feb. 28, 2020 at Studio Arte before a live audience and was the culmination of our Black History Month celebration.

For the episode, “How it Would Feel to Be Free: Southern Resistance to Race and Gender Oppression,” Communications Director Chandra M. Hayslett led a discussion about the fights for racial, gender, and LGBTQIA+ justice in the South with Lakeesha Harris, Reproductive Justice and Sexual Health Program Manager, Women with a Vision; Valencia Robinson, CEO and Founder, Mississippi in Action; and Quita Tinsley, Deputy Director, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast.

In this lively episode, the activists covered a wide range of topics, including the need to cross state lines to access abortions, how doctors are discriminating against LGBTQIA+ people, and the need to center trans Black women because of violence. The guests also highlighted some of their victories, including the legislation that’s been passed that removed nearly 900 individuals who had been forced to register as sex offenders from the Louisiana sex offender registry, and amicus briefs they’ve drafted that bring attention to the longstanding harms and segregations many Black women face in attaining equity in accessing comprehensive reproductive healthcare, particularly uninterrupted coverage for contraception. Lakeesha, Valencia, and Quita let us into their personal lives when they shared how they sustain themselves during the work:  Bourbon, Fireball, spades, and UNO are key!

As always, the episode ended with “The Real AF,” but we recorded a special edition for the live podcast that focused on Black culture.


  • Jackson (documentary): With a single abortion clinic remaining in the state of Mississippi, the city of Jackson has become ground zero in the nation's battle over reproductive health-care. Jackson is an intimate portrait of the interwoven lives of three women in this town. Wrought with the racial and religious undertones of the Deep South, the lives of two women are deeply affected by the director of the local pro-life crisis pregnancy center and the movement she represents.
  • Everyone Loves Someone Who Had an Abortion T-shirt
  • Deon Haywood is the executive director of Women With A Vision.