What to expect for ‘Brave Hearts’

The Brave Hearts Discussion, hosted by the Women’s Center, is an event where students can come and talk about umbrella terms such as abortion and domestic violence. For their meeting on March 30, the topic of discussion will be reproductive justice. Even though the Brave Hearts Discussion has a topic, Mai Ker (MK) Thao assures students are welcome to bring any subject to the discussion.

“Our topic for Thursday is reproductive justice, and the students bring what they feel fits into that topic. And if we go off-topic, that’s fine because we want this to really be a student-led conversation,” Thao said.

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, many states have outlawed abortion, causing many women to carry to term.

 With lawmakers going further into trying to ban contraceptives, it is important more than ever to talk about reproductive justice and the issues that fall under it.

On a campus scale, the discussion is there to help students talk about complex issues, such as reproductive justice. When students have concerns, they are encouraged to reach out and ask questions.

“We wanted to create a comfortable and safe space for students to come in and talk about their concerns and if they’re confused about something,” Thao said.

On a broader scale, the discussions  help to educate students on these complicated topics, creating a more aware society.

“We wanted to make sure students have the awareness they need, come in with their own questions, and have a kind of educational discussion with the chance of respectful debates occurring,” Thao stated.

An important part of the discussions is that students are not required to speak.

“Students can just sit and listen. They do not have to talk, but if they want to talk, that is great,” Thao said.

Because the Brave Hearts Discussion covers tough topics and questions, Thao ensures staff are trained to help students present during the discussion if they need help during a session.

“We have trained staff called confidential advocates who help students deal with their trauma at the moment. They don’t have to make reports, so that you can walk away without worry.”

The topics covered aren’t “glittery,” so trigger warnings are given to help students. If you’re uncomfortable, you can leave anytime and re-enter whenever you are ready.

Some advice when coming to the Brave Hearts Discussion is to go in with an open mind and some questions and be prepared for some “educational awareness.”

“Find topics that you are interested in or don’t know much about. Whatever your preferences are, come to the discussion,” Thao recommended.

The discussions also try to cover what can be done about an issue. So while the topics can be “gloomy,” there are positives to remember and resources to look at.

Header Photo: Mai Ker Thao, pictured above, is the one usually in charge of the ‘Brave Hearts’ discussions. This week’s theme is reproductive justice, although each week is open to the discussion of any topics. (Photo Courtesy of The Women’s Center)

Write to Kendall Larson at kendall.larson@mnsu.edu

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