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Meredith Holt, Published October 24 2012

Speaker to present on media’s role in reproductive justice

MOORHEAD – Andrea Quijada says her Red River Women’s Studies Conference presentation is for anyone who’s ever watched TV or a movie, listened to the radio or used the Internet.

“It’s critical that we all have the skills to be able to deconstruct what we’re watching, what we’re listening to and what we’re reading,” says Quijada, executive director of the Media Literacy Project.

The Albuquerque, N.M.-based organization provides media literacy resources, education and training across the U.S. Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create messages in a variety of forms.

During her “Girl Tech: Intersections of Media and Reproductive Issues” talk Friday at Minnesota State University Moorhead, she’ll use issues of race, class and gender to explain basic media literacy principles and how they intersect with feminist theory.

Girl Tech is a yearlong program of the Media Literacy Project designed for young women of color to share their experiences and perspectives on reproductive justice through storytelling and video production.

“Essentially, reproductive justice means that women and girls have the right to decide when and how to parent and when and how to access health information, and that when they choose to access that information, it’s available and culturally relevant,” Quijada says.

She plans to share clips from the three films created by this year’s Girl Tech participants.

Film topics include a mother struggling with substance abuse and health care data collected by Albuquerque’s Young Women United, a community organizing project by and for young women of color.

Quijada, who presents nationally and internationally on the impact of media on culture, politics and technology, will talk about the importance of women’s and girls’ access to media platforms such as the Internet.

“Creating our stories is one thing, but being able to disseminate them is critical,” she says.

She’ll also explain how media can be used to shift culture, support campaigns, foster collaborations and build social justice movements.

“I approach this as someone who loves media and believes in the power of media to transform culture and to shape our realities with positive outcomes,” Quijada says.

The presenter wants audience members to know they can both appreciate media and expect more from it.

“We can shift culture and use entertainment as an opportunity for education,” she says.

If you go

What: Andrea Quijada’s “Girl Tech: Intersections of Media and Reproductive Issues” presentation

When: 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Comstock Memorial Union, Minnesota State University Moorhead

Info: The event, part of the 12th Annual Red River Women’s Studies Conference, is free and open to the public.

Online: To learn more about the Media Literacy Project, visit http://medialiteracyproject.org.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590