Date: October 22, 2009
CLPP's Fall 2009 meeting of the New Leadership Networking Initiative addressed the challenges presented by current healthcare reform efforts and the need to build multi-issue, broad-based coalitions for reproductive justice. With the inspired energy, voices and talents of young and emerging leaders in the movement, the meeting included an overview of current health care proposals and their potential impacts on different communities, and introductory workshops on gender justice by Translate Gender and disability justice with Mia Mingus. Mia was later joined by Miriam Pérez, Nia Robinson and Ellen Gattozzi in a panel discussion on how activists can incorporate advocacy for historically marginalized communities into the work of mainstream reproductive rights and social justice movements. Presenters shared personal experiences and effective strategies for moving organizations, coalitions and movements closer to inclusion and liberation.
A meeting highlight was an interactive skills-building workshop on strategic messaging and effective communications. Nerissa Kunakemakorn from the Opportunity Agenda presented case studies summarizing the messaging work of reproductive justice organizations on state-wide and federal legislative campaigns and ballot initiatives. Communications consultant John Bidwell from Bidwell ID then built on Nerissa’s presentation by introducing concrete tools and strategies, which participants explored through small group exercises. The meeting was abuzz with excitement over how to employ these tools when participants return to their organizations.
We closed out the meeting with a cross-movement panel on healthcare reform, framed and moderated by Eesha Pandit from the Raising Women’s Voices national coalition. The panel featured Verónica Bayetti Flores from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health discussing concessions that negatively impacted immigrants, and opportunities for inclusion moving forward; Megan Peterson from the National Network of Abortion Funds reviewing abortion coverage in the Senate and House versions of the legislation; and Coco Jervis from Treatment Action Group, who touched on the impact of the proposals on people living with HIV and AIDS and the need to limit the influence of lobbyists in policymaking. The presentations led to a lively discussion that participants continued at a plenary session of the Causes in Common national meeting in Washington, D.C., the following month.