Fall 2017 NLNI Meeting

The 2017 New Leadership Networking Initiative (NLNI) fall meeting was held on October 4-5, 2017 as a pre-conference institute for SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective's 20th anniversary Let’s Talk About Sex Conference and Celebration. NLNI convened 29 activists representing 21 different organizations from 14 states.

On Thursday morning, NLNIs shared introductions and created community agreements to open their community space together. The first workshop centered activism on the ground in New Orleans. Marlo Barrera from Reproductive Justice Action Collective (ReJAC) discussed the creation of the collective and the projects underway, including the Plan B provision program and the reproductive health and justice zine. Lakeesha Harris from Women With A Vision (WWAV) spoke about the realities that face folks seeking abortion care in Louisiana and how WWAV supports these folks. Lakeesha also talked about the importance of building community as a resource for fighting against reproductive and racial injustice. Arely Westley from BreakOUT! discussed the importance and power of youth voices in the reproductive justice movement.

The second workshop block was a working session led by Charmaine Lang from New Voices and Brittany Brathwaite of KIMBRITIVE. NLNIs self-selected issue areas that they found relevant to their work in order to form group working sessions and dive deeper into specific questions and ideas within their reproductive justice movement work. Brittany and Charmaine instructed NLNIs to create a “Knowledge Potluck” using KWL charts: what we already know (K), what we want to know (W), and what we want to learn (L), as well as using empathy interviews as “cooking tools” and inspecting policy, culture shift, and service as “pots.” NLNIs organized into four groups for their working sessions: (1) self-care and radical joy, (2) reproductive justice strategies, (3) environmental and food justice, and (4) anti-oppressive work spaces and organizing.

The third workshop was “Fired Up and Burnt Out: Keeping it Together in Uncertain Times” by Agustina Vidal and Diego Barrera from The Icarus Project. Agustina and Diego delved into how reproductive justice activists can keep themselves grounded while participating in this movement moment. The Icarus Project works at the intersections of social justice and mental health. During this workshop, NLNIs learned about factors that contribute to individual and organizational burn out and as well as how to create systems of collective and individual care (madness mapping).

Fall 2017 NLNIs came together to share ideas and skills to strengthen and sustain the future of the reproductive justice movement. After the meeting, participants continued their weekend in New Orleans by attending Let’s Talk About Sex!, SisterSong National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective’s third annual conference celebrating 20 years of amplifying the voices of Indigenous women and women of color.


1. ANGELIQUE BELUSO | Planned Parenthood of New York City

2. NIKIA PAULETTE | Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region

3. CARLY MANES | National Council of Jewish Women

4. DANIELLE F. GILMORE | Feminist Women's Health Center

5. NAOMI LEGROS | Reproductive Health Access Project

6. SAMANTHA RODRIGUEZ | Reproductive Justice Action Collective (ReJAC)

7. NATALIE KOPKE | Reproductive Health Access Project

8. KATE WINANS | The Prison Birth Project

9. BRIENNE COLSTON | Brown Girl Recovery

10. BRITTANY BRATHWAITE | KIMBRITIVE

11. ZUNERA MIRZA | NAPAWF

12. NATALY BARRERA | Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health

13. LUCRESHIA GRANT

14. KASSANDRA RENDÓN-MORALES | Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights

15. KARLA G GONZALEZ GARCIA | Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights

16. MARGARITA VILLA | Sadie Nash Leadership Project

17. LESLIE CLARK | California College of the Arts

18. INYANG NJOKU | ARC-Southeast

19. ANA LAURA MARTINEZ | California Latinas for Reproductive Justice

20. DEBORAH ORTIZ | California Latinas for Reproductive Justice

21. RAMELCY URIBE | Sadie Nash Leadership Project

22. SARA SPRIGGS | ACCESS Women's Health Justice

23. CHARMAINE LANG | New Voices for Reproductive Justice

24. AGUSTINA VIDAL | The Icarus project

25. DIEGO BARRERA | The Icarus Project

26. NEICY LOWE | ARC-Southeast

27. MARLO BARRERA | The Reproductive Justice Action Collective (ReJAC)

28. ARELY WESTLEY | Breakout!

29. LAKEESHA HARRIS | Women With A Vision, Inc.