“Our mission is to use education as preventative care, encouraging individuals to make informed choices about their health. We strive to spread unbiased, free, reproductive health information so that we all feel more secure, safe, and alive in our bodies.”
The Fifth Vital Sign has always been about being safe in our bodies. When we sat down last year to discuss our mission we agreed that above all else, if we could communicate nothing further that our message was: your body has worth and you matter regardless of the body you were born into. Today we feel the need to address the feeling of bodies being under threat. The etymology of consent is “feeling together,” and that’s what we are here to do. We both received messages from friends and family asking us ‘are you safe?’ and we want to have that conversation with you. We are here to listen. We are here to validate your feelings of rage, frustration, sadness and fear. We are not here to disprove your experience in your body but we do want to move forward, together.
As birth workers we have become accustomed to conspiring, to gathering together as one under the radar to help keep ourselves and our communities safe. How can we extend that? How can we grow our community? We are ready to love the shit out of you. We are ready to stand by your side. We are ready to unite.
When we are faced with adversity we are given an opportunity to show up authentically as ourselves. In this case we feel that we are asked to stand up and be counted and to offer the skills that we have. What does your community need that we can offer? Can we come and offer information or support where you are? Let this be a time in which we come together and stay together. In which we water each other and love each other into blossoming.
Let us be clear: we want to show up for you. We are ready to fight for what is true which is that all bodies have the right to be safe and protected. Let’s start with education. We want to offer training people in communities to fill the roles and needs and services that may be under threat, and we want to do this for free. We want to undermine the idea that there is a price to pay for freedom in our bodies, a price on bodily autonomy and access to information with which to make decisions. The ability to be safe in our bodies is a human right. If you would like to participate in training to facilitate our workshop email us: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking for representatives in every place. It is our goal to collaborate with at least one Fifth Vital Sign representative in each state, so that on February 14th (Valentine’s Day) there are at least fifty classes going on across the country: Love Trumps Hate 2017 5VS edition.
In addition, it is critical to us to grow an organization that is as inclusive as possible. We are two able-bodied, cis-women with white skin. In order to best represent more diverse opinions, lived experiences, and perspectives, we plan to elect a board that will guide The Fifth Vital Sign’s curriculum and future always toward further inclusivity, decolonization, social justice, and body positivity. We are stronger together. If this interests you, please email us.
This is only the beginning of what will be many action steps down a road we want to walk with you all. Let’s do this. ‘They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.’ #stayhuman #lovetrumpshate #strongertogether #loveisacollaborativeart
In Love and Solidarity,
Emily and Kelsey