Spring 2015 NLNI Meeting


On April 10th, 2015, CLPP convened 48 activists in Amherst, MA to identify critical challenges and opportunities facing us in our movements, work, and leadership, and to explore new ways of engagement and practice with each other. We were thrilled to have NLNI veteran and program consultant Paris Hatcher facilitate the daylong meeting. Paris is a Black queer feminist activist with over a decade of experience in reproductive justice and racial justice organizing and advocacy: she was a co-founder and executive director of SPARK Reproductive Justice Now; a founding board member of the Groundswell Fund; and co-creator of the Black Reproductive Justice Think Tank and the National Black Network for Reproductive Justice. Currently, she manages the Better Together program at Race Forward, which seeks to bridge the LGBT and racial justice movements. Along with her extensive activist experience, Paris brought a change of pace to the annual gathering by piloting her Meridian project, developed through the CoreAlign Generative Fellowship.


The day began with introductions and an exercise that identified leadership skills and areas of expertise within the room. Paris then shared her vision for the Meridian project, an activist practice space for those in an establishment phase of their careers, based on the core values of knowledge, connection, vulnerability, and resilience. She then provided an overview of the landscape of the reproductive justice movement, and identified challenges for emerging and mid-career activists in our current movement infrastructure.


NLNIs were given a chance to connect one on one with a storytelling exercise in five parts. Participants paired up to discuss experiences of taking risks in their personal and professional lives before switching to another partner and repeating the process. At the end of the exercise, participants volunteered to creatively share the stories they’d heard through movement or speech before taking a break for an energizing lunch, described by one NLNI as “transformational networking.”


The second half of the day provided NLNIs with space to dig deeper by focusing on four key questions: What are some of the biggest challenges facing our movement? What are some of the most exciting opportunities available in the movement? What are some truths that need to be unsettled in the movement? The movement would benefit if we did a deeper dive on…? Working in small groups, NLNIs generated responses to the questions posed before reconvening to vote on the most popular responses or ideas generated during the exercise. These democratically chosen ideas will go on to provide the groundwork for NLNI’s upcoming Summer Leadership Institute in June 2015, where the Meridian project will be put to practice with a small cohort of activists.

Participants


Adrienne Ortega, Texas Equal Access Fund

Amber Garcia, COLOR

Anne Hendrixson, PopDev

Ashe Helm-Hernandez, Project South

Bianca Campbell, ARC Southeast

Brenda Hernandez, Boston Doula Project

Cecilia Sáenz Becerra, National Women's Health Network - Raising Women's Voices

Charmaine Lang, Reproductive Justice Collective

Charone Pagett, Disability Justice Collective

chas jewett, no affiliation

Elise Trujilo, Prison Birth Project

Emily Letts, NotAlone.us

Erin Carhart, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Gloria Malone, no affiliation

Gykyira Shoy, Disability Justice Collective

Jessa Orluk, PopDev

Johanna Rincón Fernandez, CLPP

Joy Messinger, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health

Kyle Marie Stock, Raising Women's Voices

Kylie Shelley, Oklahoma Doula Project

Laurie Bertram Roberts, Mississippi Fund

Lillian Hewko, Incarcerated Parents Project

Lisa Diane White, SisterLove

Lupe Davidson, Center for Social Justice

Marisa Pizii, Prison Birth Project

Marlisa Lashawn Goode, Justice Now

Mateo Medina, Civil Liberties & Public Policy

Melissa Madera, The Abortion Diary

Mia Kim Sullivan, Civil Liberties & Public Policy

Misty Rojo, Justice Now

Morgan Hopkins, All* Above All

Mwende Katwiwa, Women With A Vision

Nerissa Irizarry, Positive Women's Network

Nicole Clark, Nicole Clark Consulting, LLC

Oriaku Njoku, ARC Southeast

Paris Hatcher, Race Forward

Patricia A. Fernandez Piñeros, Advocates for Youth (Young Women of Color Leadership Council)

Peter Gabriel, Streetwise and Safe

Reia Chapman, SisterSong

Renee Bracey Sherman, SeaChange Program

Ricky Hill, no affiliation

Roula AbiSamra, SeaChange Program

Sadia Arshad, Advocates for Youth (Young Women of Color Leadership Council)

Sandra Criswell, CoreAlign

Tiffany E. Cook, Praxis Clinical

Tiffany Joy, Streetwise and Safe

Tiffany Tai, National Network of Abortion Funds

Yudith Nieto, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.)