by TFN Insider


‘Illuminate RJ’ Uses Art to Communicate Reproductive Justice and Abortion Experiences

July 31, 2015

Illuminate RJ, a new project that uses art as activism to create a Texas-specific narrative about reproductive justice and abortion, launched in Austin today with an event that features poet and activist Sonya Renee Taylor.

Illuminate RJ is a collaboration by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, Shift., and the NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Foundation. The groups say the goal of Illuminate RJ is to break the silence and start an open dialogue around abortion by working with communities around the state to share their experiences through an artistic lens.

“Art is a powerful medium that can motivate people to action and inspire change,” said Val Benavidez, outreach and field director of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. “In this case, we’re using it to share our experiences with the aim of lifting up the voices of Texans who wish to share their reproductive justice and abortion experiences.”

“Texans are hurting from the constant attacks on their access to reproductive health care, but they’re fighting back,” Heather Busby, executive director of the NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Foundation, said. “Illuminate RJ creates a space for people from all across the state to share their stories of struggle and resilience.”

“By lifting up Texans’ stories through Illuminate RJ, we have a unique opportunity to shift the culture of abortion stigma in our state,” added Fatimah Gifford, deputy director of Shift. “Art can transform the way everyday people understand the complexities around abortion experiences.”

Over the next few months, Illuminate RJ will establish and curate an online archive of art and stories (available at and will feature some of those works at a series of events across the state. Additionally, Illuminate RJ will highlight the work of reproductive justice organizations in their communities.

These efforts will culminate in a statewide week of action in November that will include art displays and other local events.


The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support public education, religious freedom and individual liberties.

Texas Freedom Network

We can't thank Sonja enough for her six years of service with TFN. Just Texas wouldn't be what it is today without her. While Sonja's absence will be deeply felt, we wish her the best of luck as she begins a new chapter with Whole Women's Health!…