The Woman Project has traveled with Tiara Mack for different abortion rights event and sat down with her to focus on her work and voice in our ongoing series, TWP Interviews.
1. Hi Tiara, please tell us about yourself.
I am an educator and activist raised in the south (North of Atlanta and Columbia, SC). I moved to Providence to attend Brown University in 2012 and fell in love with the city. I started by journey in education teaching sex ed in Providence schools as an undergraduate. I now work in Providence as a Recruiter to ensure students have teachers that represent their backgrounds, experiences, and futures selves in the classroom. I am also a Board Member of Women’s Health and Education Fund (WHEF), an all-volunteer Abortion Fund that raises and distributes money to ensure cost doesn’t become a barrier to RI residents seeking abortions and contraception.
2. TWP has been working to pass a bill that codifies Roe V Wade into RI state law. We are interested in the ways that Reproductive Freedom impacts your life and the work that you do as well as the lives of the people who you affect with your work?
What about the lives of the people who you affect with your work?
Growing up in the South I never had access to information about my body. I signed an abstinence pledge in 6th grade and that was the extent of my sex education. The most comprehensive education I received on my body and health was while I was teaching sex ed to high school students when I was 19. Around this time I also started volunteering with Planned Parenthood and WHEF and learned more health, equity, and the barriers in Rhode Island. I became acquainted with the Reproductive Justice movement, coined by Loretta Ross and fueled by Queer POC women in the South. Whether it is providing education or funds, reproductive freedom is about challenging the systems in place that prevent authentic choice and agency for oppressed communities.
3. When you think about your community (or communities) what is something you would like them to know about Reproductive Freedom in RI? Why?
EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY MATTERS! I still have a lot of room for growth in this area but I have learned so much about RI and issues I care about from learning and reading about the work going on in RI. There are so many amazing groups doing great work within their communities and the best way to get and stay involved is to learn more, ask, and share. Reproductive Freedom is about all of us, all of our challenges, and the work being done to change and reinvent the status quo. We are not single issue people with single issue lives, and the work happening to empower our neighbors can also be used to impact our friends and their neighbors. Change does not happen in isolation, it happens within and by community.
Storytelling! Our stories are real, powerful, and what connects us. The best way to educate on an issue personal to you is to make it personal, tell your story, your why, and encourage others to do the same. It is an important act of vulnerability and strength and it is one of the most authentic ways we can educate. It is also important to listen to stories and the people or communities telling them, they are the experts on their own struggles.
Follow WHEF on social media instagram: @whef_ri and facebook: Women’s Health and Education Fund
Visit our website whefri.org