Archive for December, 2011

2011: A Year of Victories

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Gender Just marches for gender equity.

Part of our feminist, activist work is taking the time to celebrate our successes and share them with one another. In the spirit of the holiday season, we’re looking back at 2011 and all of the amazing accomplishments Third Wave and its grant partners have made this year.

 

Brown Boi Project – published the BBP Health Guide, Freeing Ourselves: A Guide to Health and Self-Love for Brown Bois, a vital tool for masculine-of-center people of color.

Chicago Abortion Fund – succeeded in removing anti-choice billboards that targeted women of color in Chicago.

Choice USA – hosted Destination 2012, a grassroots organizing and leadership development conference for young reproductive justice activists. The conference included presentations from Loretta Ross of Sistersong, Gloria Steinem, and Shelby Knox.

COLOR (Colorado Organization for Opportunity and Reproductive Justice) – held their sixth annual Latina Health Summit, educating 150 young Latinas and their families about reproductive health and justice.

Colorado Anti-Violence Project – is celebrating 25 years of envisioning queer liberation this year; their youth project, Branching Seedz, also co-organized the second Trans & Queer Youth Media Track at the Allied Media Conference this year.

Gender Just – created the Fellowship for Gender JUST Youth Leadership and Organizers, which brought four young activists together to creatively engage their communities around gender justice.

JASMYN (Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network) – threw their fifth annual Coming Out Day Breakfast, which hosted community members, small business owners, and corporate partners dedicated to LGBTQ youth.

Justice Now – premiered the first video in their new series on the history of sterilization in prisons (check it out here).

Kalpulli Izkalli – celebrated fifteen years of holistic, natural healing with their fifth annual Anniversary Celebration and Community Healing event.

Khmer Girls in Action – launched their new Youth at the C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities and Resources for Empowerment) Campaign, which centers young people’s wellness in community decision-making.

Media Literacy Project – spread the word about media justice and wireless policy as LGBTQ issues at the National Conference on Media Reform.

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health – mobilized hundreds of people during their second Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice through a blog carnival, internet activism, and an auction.

New Voices Pittsburgh – won the 2011 YWCA Racial Justice Award for Community Engagement for their active work around reproductive justice for women of color.

Power U – held their first community forum to address the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Pipeline and prevent the racialized incarceration of youth of color.

SPARK Reproductive Justice Now – lobbied the Georgia state legislature and defeated an anti-choice “Right to Life” bill that disproportionately targeted women of color.

St. James Infirmary – kicked off a new media campaign, raising public awareness about sex workers’ rights and fighting the stigma attached to sex work.

Sylvia Rivera Law Project – educated the public about trans* issues through their various events, including a Coffee Talk series, a Summer Health Series, and teach-ins at Occupy Wall Street.

Women with a Vision – won a victory for sex workers’ rights through a legislative action that ended the “Scarlet Letter law,” which required sex workers to register as sex offenders in Louisiana.

Young Women’s Empowerment Project – led a march through Chicago to protest the city’s treatment of homeless, homefree, and street-based youth. The march was part of a broad campaign including a self-care guide, a Street Youth Bill of Rights, and posters.

Young Women United – defeated five anti-choice bills in New Mexico that threatened the reproductive health and freedom of women and families.

Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition – celebrated seven leaders in philanthropy, the third sector, and the corporate world who are supporting leadership development and HIV prevention for young women of color.

Third Wave is proud to have been able to support the incredible activists within the organizations above do work to fight to end discrimination in their communities. We are excited to continue to uplift young feminist voices working towards gender justice  in the year ahead.

Reflections from a member of the Third Wave

Monday, December 5th, 2011

I was sixteen years old when I first picked up Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, by Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner. It was the first time I realized feminism could be cool. I began devouring any and all feminist media I could get my hands on: blogs like Feministe and Jezebel, riot grrrl CDs, old Sassy magazines, and classic feminist texts. Soon I was a card-carrying, loud and proud feminist, majoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies at NYU and volunteering with reproductive justice organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

Manifesta wasn’t only my feminist “click” moment; it was also my first introduction to the Third Wave Foundation. I started checking Third Wave’s website, looking for internships, volunteer positions – anything I could find that would involve me Third Wave’s awesome activist community. After four years of keeping up with the foundation’s work, I finally had an opportunity to join this incredible team of feminists as an intern in the External Relations department. I came to Third Wave through NYU’s Social and Cultural Analysis department, which asks all of its students to spend a semester serving the community through an internship with a non-profit or government agency. When I saw Third Wave on the list of approved organizations, I knew immediately that’s where I wanted to be.

Being at Third Wave has been an amazing experience. After three years of classroom discussions about fighting gender, sexual, racial, and class oppression, I was able to see this activism in action. Every day, Third Wave’s fierce social justice crew brings these critical theories and personal lived experience together as they work with young women, transgender, and gender non-conforming activists to transform their communities. For instance, this year Third Wave grant partner Women with a Vision helped pass legislation that ended the criminalization of sex workers as sex offenders in New Orleans. This amazing victory was built on both the material realities of sex workers in Louisiana and a critical understanding of the ways race, gender, class, and sexuality interact.

Through these past three months, I have been constantly inspired by everyone at Third Wave and in the Third Wave community. As the External Relations intern, I’ve seen the various aspects of keeping Third Wave going. I learned that everything from creating a manual on how to best utilize our database to preparing our annual appeal letter is vital to sustaining this movement. I also get to manage the foundation’s Twitter and Facebook pages, which highlight all of the amazing, transformative work that the Third Wave community is doing. These social media pages are just another example of the ways Third Wave involves itself in the feminist, reproductive and gender justice world. Third Wave is part of the movement, both online and on the ground: it provides crucial support to help grant partners maximize the effects of their work, has created a network of like-minded social justice organizations nationwide, and promotes community-building through events like the Reproductive Health and Justice Network Convening.

In the context of Third Wave’s fifteen years of activism, my three month internship might seem like a blip, but the organization has made a huge impact on me. Third Wave has shown me that personal experiences, humor, and story-telling are just as important as theory; that the voices of traditionally marginalized folks matter and can make change; and that a different, more just world is possible.