Fall 2015 NLNI Meeting

On December 7-10, 2015, CLPP convened 32 activists in Fort Lauderdale, FL to celebrate how activists are putting the reproductive justice movement into action. The fall 2015 NLNI cohort generated a collaborative space supporting activists working in particularly socially, politically, and economically hostile contexts.

On Tuesday, our first panel focused on abortion access in the South. Three grassroots activists, Laurie Bertram Roberts of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund in Mississippi, Marlo Barrera of the New Orleans Abortion Fund in Louisiana, and Oriaku Nkoju of Access Reproductive Care-Southeast in Georgia, discussed barriers to organizing abortion access and funding in Southern states.

Next, Symone New of The Doula Project and Lisa Andrews of The Prison Birth Project led a presentation on the full-spectrum doula model (birth, adoption, abortion, and fetal loss). Using the reproductive justice framework as a context for their doula work, both Symone and Lisa highlighted the benefits of partnering with organizations and institutions to provide doula work that will enact broader social justice outcomes.

Sexuality educator Lucreshia Grant demonstrated how art is an effective medium to creatively express reproductive justice issues. Participants were invited to share their art and creative expression; some art shared included spoken word, photos, poems, and performances.

Wednesday’s agenda brought discussions on storytelling as a social justice tool, the relation between immigration, health, and trauma healing, and the current context of reproductive rights and activism in Florida. Sadia Arshad, Constance Luo, and Kelly Hill led a presentation on their involvement in the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) inaugural Reproductive Justice, Leadership, Amplification, Mobilization and Power (RJ LAMP) program.

RJ LAMP supported a cohort of Asian Pacific Islander American (API) identified participants culminating in reproductive justice storytelling videos, each with a unique theme. Sadia Arshad (NAPAWF Atlanta) and Constance Luo (NAPAWF Chicago) presented their RJ LAMP videos, the storytelling process, and their ongoing reproductive justice work in their respective cities. Sadia gave a special presentation of the history of reproductive justice in Asian Pacific Islander communities. In addition, Kelly Hill presented on her experience founding and leading the first NAPAWF chapter of Nashville, highlighting specific accomplishments and challenges along her journey.

Dian Alarcon and Gaby Garcia-Vera of National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) gave a snapshot of the current state of reproductive justice amongst Latinas in Florida. From sex education restrictions to issues of bodily autonomy and age restrictions, NLIRH illustrated the constant struggle to inform the community and legislators that hindering access to comprehensive reproductive health services can create dangerous results within communities.

Sina Sam, from the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC)'s inaugural Leadership Empowerment Advocacy Fellowship (LEAF), led a presentation connecting immigration and trauma healing in Asian Pacific Islander communities. Sina Sam also detailed a case study where SEARAC’s lobbying and advocacy work led to a Cambodian refugee’s unprecedented three-year protection from deportation. After a fruitful discussion about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Constance Luo and Kelly Hill, also representing SEARAC, outlined recent wins and accomplishments on behalf of SEARAC.

Participants led small group discussions on topics created on their own during lunch. These group discussions during lunches allowed NLNIs to break out into topic areas most connected to their work or interests. Topics included: Black Men and Reproductive Justice, Spirituality and Sexuality, Prisons and Jails, Trans Community Organizing, and Sex Positivity. The closing exercise provided space for participants to brainstorm and identify lessons learned and information and resources to bring back to their communities from the meeting. Fall NLNI provided an outlet for our members to collaborate in an innovative and energized environment that highlighted the important work and projects people are actively cultivating in the reproductive justice movement.

NLNI Participants

Adrian Ballou - Civil Liberties and Public Policy

Amanda Major - Civil Liberties and Public Policy

Barbara Cerda - Reproductive Justice Collective

Brianna Suslovic - Harvard College International Women's Rights Collective

Constance Luo - National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum

DaNia  Childress - ANIZ, Inc

Dian Alarcon - National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Dieniz Costa - Sexuality Power

Gaby Garcia-Vera - National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Gina de Vries - Writer & Cultural Worker

Gykyira X - Disability Justice Collective

JoAnna Bautch - Reproductive Justice Collective

Johanna Fernández - Civil Liberties and Public Policy

Justina Trim - SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective

Kate Cartagena - Planned Parenthood Generation National Campus Organizer

Kelly Hill - National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum

Laurie Bertram Roberts - Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund

Lena Munir Khader - Making Herstory

Leslie Clark - Sadie Nash Leadership Project

Lisa Andrews - The Prison Birth Project

Lucreshia Grant - Sexuality Educator

Markesha Dunham - ANIZ, Inc

Marlo Barrera - New Orleans Abortion Fund

Maylott Mulugeta - SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW

Mianta McKnight - Justice Now

Misty Rojo - Justice Now

Oriaku Njoku - Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, Inc.

Randi Gregory - NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio/ Central & Southern OH Field Organizer

Sadia Arshad - Young Women of Color Leadership Council of Advocates for Youth

Sarah Roberts - Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund

Sina Sam - Southeast Asia Resource Action Center & Planned Parenthood of Greater WA and North Idaho

Symone New - The Doula Project