New name, same values

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

By Eveline Shen

When I first came to this organization twelve and a half years ago, a Texas Governor was announcing his candidacy for President, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 10,000 for the first time and a revolutionary music downloading service called Napster was making its debut. We have seen a lot of changes since then.

During this time, our organization has evolved as well. The organization I walked into had three staff people and was housed in a tiny office in Chinatown. Over the years, our work grew from local organizing to a national vision for change in which all of us have what we need to thrive.

In Oakland, what started as an organizing project for 15 young Asian women has graduated over 500 members and now includes young Asian men working with their sisters for reproductive justice. And with the realization that the change we seek affects and engages many many communities, we are now a multiracial organization.

Given these changes, one thing became increasingly clear to me.  We were outgrowing our name, Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice.

While our local youth organizing work continues to focus on Asian youth, our national work engages organizations and communities serving Latino, African American, Native and white women, children and families.

While we continue to understand the world through the lens of reproductive justice, we also are working increasingly across sectors--with our partners in labor, immigrant rights, criminal justice, and queer and trans people of color.

As our Strong Families work engages organizations and individuals around the country in working to change policy and culture to reflect the way our families actually live, and what we need to thrive, we realized we needed a bigger name. A name that captures how we work, what we want, and how we are moving our big vision for change.

We worked together to drill down and get clear about what name, what words, what images could convey all of that.  So now we have a new name.  We are Forward Together: so all families can thrive.  We have a new website, a new look, a new Facebook and a new Twitter.  We took a great leap forward so our organization can be as big and bold as our vision.

In the midst of this growth, what has remained consistent is the recognition that:
  1. our health and well-being are impacted by many societal factors so we need a comprehensive vision to effectively tackle the challenges our communities face; 
  2. to win real change, we must proactively move together and lift up the voices and concerns of those who are most marginalized; 
  3. transformation starts from within so we need to take care of each other as we go.
As we take this next step as Forward Together, I want to thank all our youth, staff and board members as well as our friends, supporters, and funders for contributing to our growth and development through the years and helping us land where we are today. And true to our nature, we continue to move ahead boldly as we bring reproductive justice to new communities across the country. But we are not moving alone. We are walking in stride with all of you to create a world where all individuals, families and communities can reach their full potential.