Malika Redmond: Leading a Mighty Team at SPARK

Malika Redmond is the executive director for SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, a young, community-centered, statewide reproductive justice organization based in Atlanta, GA. A CLPP and NLNI alum, Malika recently co-facilitated the workshop “Access Denied: our new health care law and reproductive (in)justice” at our annual conference. Here she provides us with insight on what drew her to SPARK, as well as how her experience at CLPP helped her get to where she is today.

What attracted to you SPARK?

I was attracted to SPARK because it ensures that the perspective and leadership of those most impacted by reproductive injustices, particularly women of color, young parents, and LGBTQ youth of color, are a part of the reproductive rights and justice movements. SPARK’s framework, grassroots tactics, and policy initiatives create an attractive, comprehensive approach to our movement-building efforts. We are a small but mighty team: collectively, we have heart and drive that equates to accomplishing a lot of work in our local community and making the nation pay attention to the effective and innovative ways we are developing the next generation of reproductive justice leaders in the South.

Tell me a little about the future you envision for SPARK and for the reproductive/social justice movement in the South.

2014 is the 20th anniversary of the coining of the Reproductive Justice framework by African-American women leaders in the women’s movement and the 10th Anniversary for the national March for Women’s Lives, one of the largest marches in US history. SPARK derives from the groundbreaking work of those women of color leaders that ensured women of color’s health needs were included in the political fight for reproductive choice and rights. Today, we know that our efforts are working, as the reproductive justice framework continues to be embraced by various social justice allies and young people interested in social change.

How has being a part of CLPP impacted your professional and personal journeys?

I started attending the CLPP/ NLNI programs in 2003 as an emerging leader in the RJ movement. I was working for Choice USA as the southern region field organizer, and the NLNI meeting and CLPP conference were the first networking and skill-building events I attended as a young professional. NLNI/CLPP provides a platform for young people to discuss our success and challenges in our social justice efforts. I’ve been most appreciative of listening to colleagues discuss their foresight and innovative approaches to addressing social injustice. It is through years of attending the annual [conference] that I’ve had the opportunity to engage with seasoned feminist-activists in the field offering rich perspective on how far the movement has come.

What sort of advice can you offer to young people looking to get involved in the reproductive justice movement?

My advice is simple: Start where you are, asking “how can I make where I am a just and accountable place for all?”, enroll your team, and get going! Be bold, learn from your mistakes, and internalize your vision of a just world!

To learn more about SPARK’s work: go to www.sparkrj.org.

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