This group aims to create a space where researchers at UWM and reproductive justice community advocates in Milwaukee can work together to address systemic injustices disproportionately affecting Black, Latinx, and other women and trans people of color. In working together, we hope to develop a project that helps bring attention to reproductive injustices in Milwaukee but also that acts as a resource for making substantial changes to improve the conditions within which individuals can exercise their “human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities” (SisterSong).

Past Events:

Faculty members:
Lindsey Krug (she/hers) is a designer and researcher based in Chicago, as well as an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee where she was the 2020-21 Fitzhugh Scott Advancing Contemporary Theories Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Through the lens of the architectural user as a body in space, her work focuses on how design solidifies and reinforces bodily taboos, hierarchies, and inequities into built form and seeks alternative futures for architectural inhabitants. Krug has contributed to spatial research investigating human rights abuses against protesters in the 2014 Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, on-going and projected climate risks of melting permafrost in Russia, and relationships between gender, typology, and the architectural generic.

Maria Novotny, PhD (she/her) is an Assistant Professor with the program in Public Rhetorics and Community Engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research incorporates storytelling and community-based methods to capture patient experiences of infertility and recurrent loss. She serves as the co-director of The ART of Infertility, an arts-based storytelling project representing experiences of infertility across the United States and is a member of the steering team for the Building Families Alliance of WI. Her research incorporates public facing exhibitions and workshops around reproductive loss and infertility to raise awareness and increase education around family building challenges. This work is documented in the edited collection, Infertilities, A Curation (Wayne State University Press, 2023) which features art, stories, and writing reflective of the infertility experience. 

Rachel Bloom-Pojar, PhD (she/her/ella) is an Associate Professor with the program in Public Rhetorics and Community Engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research examines communication about health with a specific focus on the rhetorical practices of Latinx communities, interpreters, and promotores de salud (health promoters). She was a 2020-2021 Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellow with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc. (PPWI) and has continued working with the PPWI promotores de salud in various capacities related to education and research.

M. Estrella Sotomayor, PhD is a Senior Teaching Faculty in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she created and directed the Spanish for Health Professionals Certificate Program from inception to 2021. Currently, she teaches courses in language, culture and those related to the Certificate. Dr. Sotomayor received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Multidisciplinary Studies with a focus in History and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her research work is in reproductive rights in Latin America with a focus on mass sterilizations and reproductive violence in Puerto Rico.

Student members: 
Amber Chavez, MS (she/her), is a PhD student entering the Public Rhetorics and Community Engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She holds a BS in Early Childhood Education and MS in Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education from UWM. Her research interests connect access to high-quality constructivist early childhood education, the reproductive labor of childcare, and access to full spectrum, identity-affirming reproductive healthcare under the umbrella of reproductive justice. She contributed to The People’s Guide to Reproductive Justice in Wisconsin, a zine offering clear and accurate information in a Post-Roe world. She leads or serves on equity committees within the Waldorf movement at the school, teacher training institute, and international membership organization level. The volunteer organization she co-leads, MilChiCo, was named the Milwaukee chapter of the African American Breastfeeding Network’s community partner of the year.

Rachel La Due is a first-year Master’s student in the UWM English department and is studying public rhetoric and community engagement. Prior to moving to Milwaukee, Rachel taught middle school English Language Arts in Sacramento, California for five years. She is interested in community storytelling and public rhetoric around school choice policies. Rachel is currently working on two projects: a community cookbook with the Milwaukee Turners, and a Master’s Thesis focused on the public rhetoric surrounding sex education instruction in two Wisconsin school districts. When she is not teaching or writing, she is exploring her new home in Milwaukee with her dog, Cordelia.

Kristy Lisle, an MFA graduate student at UWM, is a multi-disciplinary printmaker exploring the intersections of 2D and 3D art. She creates artwork that challenges a society that has regressed into shaming, blaming, and controlling women- a nation that has taken away women’s constitutional right to bodily autonomy. Her artwork allows the viewer to explore the complex themes centered on reproductive justice and advocacy for women. Ultimately, she aspires to create works that challenge viewers to contribute to the ongoing conversation around gender equality by confronting the systems of oppression that have a negative impact.

Kristiana Perleberg is a PhD student in Public Rhetorics and Community Engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She considers herself an aspiring critical-creative scholar, meaning she wants to collaborate and write with folks largely outside of academia in nontraditional ways. While her background is in Technical and Professional Communication, her doctoral research has been focused on reproductive injustices and issues of access in Milwaukee with a specific interest in Black maternal health and infant mortality. As the field of technical communication continues down the path of social justice and activism, she hopes to continue to be a part of the conversation that prioritizes historically marginalized and silenced voices and language practices.

Tara Knight, M.A., M.S. (she/they) is a first-year PhD student in Public Rhetorics and Community Engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research interests include theories about the body, cultural rhetorics, reproductive justice, and storytelling as methodology. Her doctoral research specifically focuses on the potentially dangerous lack of bodily autonomy “Breast is Best” rhetorics grant to mothers who may struggle with low-milk supply through their use of risk language. She recently moved to Milwaukee from Fairbanks, AK with her spouse and two young children. Prior to moving to Milwaukee, Tara worked for the University of Alaska Fairbanks as a writing instructor and academic advisor, volunteered for several environmental and social justice groups, including the Learning Inside Out Network (LION) and the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition (FCAC), and served as a Board Director on the Alaska CAN! Network.