January 21, 2017 (the first day of the Trump presidency) saw cities across the nation collectively participate in the largest day of protest in American history.
Their inaugural efforts centered on crafting and passing RI H5125, the Reproductive Privacy Act (RPA). This legislation serves to codify the privacy rights guaranteed by the decision reached in the United States Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973). Essentially, Rhode Island’s RPA established Roe V Wade as state law in order to protect against that law being overturned at the federal level - a fear that may become a reality as early as 2022.
Members of The Womxn Project participated in crafting the language of Rhode Island bill H5125, the Reproductive Privacy Act (RPA) and for two years supported it’s passage through direct lobbying, coordinating demonstrations, creating educational and advocacy materials, building a strong coalition, and inspiring public action.
The success of these activities was driven by the creative expertise of artists skilled in graphic design, performance, video, painting, public art, writing and photography. Over a two year period, The Womxn Project created highly visible and impactful artivist programs and interventions at the Rhode Island State House and across the state, including The Community Petition Quilt, performative readings, group actions with dynamic visuals, colorful letter writing campaigns, interactive photo petitions, music, singing and collaborative art making. The Womxn Project used the arts alongside direct political action to achieve concrete legislative victory.
The RPA was signed into law in Rhode Island in 2019. The passage of the RPA was a motivating accomplishment, leading the artist members of The Womxn Project to form The Womxn Project Education Fund, a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization that would harness the creative energy used to pass the RPA to work toward progressive social and cultural change across Rhode Island. The Womxn Project (501(c)4) continues to strategize around legislation that supports women’s access to reproductive healthcare, while the Womxn Project Education Fund (501(c)3) is focused on using the arts as a tool for disrupting, educating, and advocating for broader social and cultural change. The two organizations work independently and in partnership, with a shared goal of making Rhode Island a more just and equitable state.