Movement in action: EMERJ's Strategy Team moves together

Thursday, November 18, 2010

By Yvonne Tran

Last week was one of those weeks that was just jam-packed. Here at ACRJ, we have been preparing for 3 days of our Forward Stance Leadership Initiative and 2 days of EMERJ's Strategy Team Convening. There was many hours of mind + body work going on and many transformative moments not only for the participants but for us as staff as well.

Kate and Darshon from Choice USA chat with Miriam of NAPAWF.
When I heard updates from each organization, I was amazed each and every time by the innovative work to advance reproductive justice in so many ways.

From working on anti-shackling legislation in California or holding Craigslist accountable for not doing enough to protect girls who are trafficked for sex, to aligning leadership development and research in institutions of higher education and highlighting issues faced by young mothers, these organizations are giving finding amazing ways to support and build the movement for reproductive justice and Strong Families.

It was all very inspiring. I told Lisa Russ of the Movement Strategy Center that I would work for any of those organizations and she reminded me, "You already do!"  She meant my amazing role as part of ACRJ, EMERJ and Strong Families.  I am reminded constantly of the important work we all do to advance justice for our communities and for women of color in the name of human rights.

In one of the sessions, Pam Chamberlain from Political Research Associates gave us all a low-down on the current political landscape with a focus on the religious right. It was immensely useful and satisfied the inner political junkie in me. It also gave helpful context to our work with Strong Families and the political terrain we are working in.

This is me holding down the techie side of  Skyping in our speaker

Some of the most exciting things emerging (pun intended!) was our work plan for the next 6 months. In addition to continuing with our story collection process, we will be focusing on several themed days, such as the Super Bowl and Mother's Day, to have a blitz of action for Strong Families by posting up our stories and recruiting others to share theirs. Almost all of the Strategy Team groups are taking actions, having town halls, or other events to celebrate Mother's Day and to bring light to reproductive justice issues affecting us as mothers and families.

Overall, it was an intense two days of dialogue, laughter, processing, hard questions, and moving forward with intention together. I learned a lot about resonance, not only within ACRJ, but to learn how to keep resonance across the country from the West Coast to the East Coast despite the miles between us. I learned that it is much more effective for us to keep the same rhythm even if we are all doing different things.

It has renewed my commitment to reproductive justice and looking forward to the exciting work ahead!

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