In Solidarity with the Women of Missouri
Last month, Missouri governor Mike Parson signed into law House Bill 126, which criminalizes abortion after eight weeks. Then, last week, a judge gave the state’s last abortion clinic a temporary restraining order to stay open through at least this Friday. Abortion access in Missouri is dangerously precarious.
The Wanderful team – and particularly those of us who organize the Women in Travel Summit (WITS) – is disheartened and disappointed to hear this news, as Kansas City, Missouri (KC) is our host destination of WITS North America 2020.
We are a community of women and allies of many world views and experiences, and we respect the right for all to form personal, educated opinions. That said, given not only recent events, but also the continuing assault on the bodily autonomy of women and others happening in the United States and across the globe, we feel it is important for us to say, loud and clear:
Abortion is health care. And limiting access to safe health care for women is not aligned with our values at Wanderful.
While this law is heartbreaking, it is also not surprising or unique in this country. Most states (43, to be exact) have laws prohibiting abortion in some capacity. As of 2014, an overwhelming majority of US counties (90%!) lacked an abortion provider. Half of states have five or less. Many states, like Missouri, only have one.
With WITS KC just 11 months away, we have a rare opportunity to activate our collective networks and use our presence as a catalyst for action. As a community of creators, builders, and influencers with powerful voices and engaged audiences, we believe that we owe it to the women of Kansas City – of Missouri, of the world – to speak out, and to do what we can to help.
Each and every year at WITS, we have intentionally hosted speakers and held sessions exploring how we can use our platforms for good. We’ve developed strategies and thought deeply on the necessity of employing influence in the name of positive change. This is why this news and these continuing developments embolden us even more to bring WITS to Kansas City. This is our opportunity to show our values in action.
We are working with Visit Kansas City to develop our schedule for next year, and aim to lift local organizations with missions centered around supporting women. We pledge to connect you to KC’s vast and varied communities by including as many women-owned businesses as possible in our pre- and post-WITS press trips, and to highlight women-run spaces for you to spend time, eat, and shop at while you’re in town.
As always, we will be intentionally and thoughtfully designing our programming to include a diversity of voices across the various intersections of identity. We aim to capture the nuances of the travel industry and individual experiences – in particular as they pertain to issues of injustice, access, and safety. We hope that you consider proposing a session – or encouraging someone else to – if you have a unique perspective to add to this conversation.
And finally (for now), Wanderful pledges to donate $1,000 USD to Planned Parenthood Great Plains, an organization that provides access to quality, compassionate sexual and reproductive education and health care for families and people of all genders in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. We will also be including an option on all future ticket orders to add a donation to this important organization that is doing vital, on-the-ground work.
But our work is just beginning.
We will be spending the next months working closely with Visit KC to find ways to further support the women of Missouri, and we will share developments as they come.
We hope that you too see this as an opportunity to join us in Kansas City. To meet those locally who are most deeply impacted by this. To use your platforms to help magnify their voices. And to encourage others to do the same.
It is critical for us to remember that the policy of a place does not necessarily reflect the views of its people. This is why we ask that you join us in Kansas City and spend time with the people who live there. We urge you to speak with residents and help share their stories with others, whether across the street or across the (digital) globe. Maybe together we can build towards change.
At Wanderful, we are committed to connecting women to their biggest asset – each other. This moment is no exception.
The WITS Team at Wanderful