This fall, CLPP held its New Leadership Networking Initiative (NLNI) meeting in Bernalillo, NM from October 13-16, 2016. The fall NLNI meeting convened 31 activists representing 21 organizations and 13 states. Folks came together to connect and collaborate on a range of reproductive justice movement issues.
Thursday evening, the meeting opened with a grounding and water blessing led by Jessica Riggs and Steph McCreary of Tewa Women United and Ix'Chel Osmara Martinez and Diane Andraca of Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities. NLNIs brought water from their homes or places of origin to add to the communal water bowl while explaining what water meant to them or their relationship to water individually or socially. Then, the space was opened with introductions and community agreements.
After this powerful opening, Tannia Esparza from Young Women United (YWU) and Rachael Maestas and Erin Armstrong from ACLU-New Mexico presented the opening panel on “How We Expand and Destigmatize Reproductive Health in New Mexico.” Rachael and Erin gave an overview of the current political landscape of New Mexico. Due to the hard work of reproductive health, rights, and justice leaders in the community, New Mexico has not enacted many of the restrictive reproductive health laws seen around the country. However, as a rural state with limited resources, individuals in NM still experiences significant barriers to reproductive health care. Tannia spoke about how organizations are successfully working together to shift culture and destigmatize reproductive health experiences as we continue to protect and expand access.
Brittany Brathwaite from KIMBRITIVE and Leslie Clark and Margarita Villa from the Sadie Nash Leadership Project facilitated Friday’s second workshop. In “More than Sex Ed - Building a Youth-Friendly Reproductive Justice ToolBox using a Design Thinking Approach,” Brittany Brathwaite welcomed the NLNI group to connect with her CoreAlign Generative Fellowship question: How can we teach young people about the reproductive justice issues that impact their lives? The three facilitators led a workshop using design thinking tools to identify current methods that reproductive justice organizations use to engage young people and the limitations of those methods.