Movement Building

“A movement has got to move”: on feminism’s future

September 29, 2010

We're still passing around a shared print copy of this month's controversial Harper's cover story, "Feminism's Ritual Matricide," by feminist author and critic Susan Faludi. The full text isn't available online, but a healthy debate over her analysis -- of how feminism divides along mother/daughter lines -- is heating up on the same feminist blogs that, according to Faludi's observation, some second wave feminists' view with "tolerance" and "bewilderment." Miriam Perez at Feministing offers this angle, in "A Movement has got to move," on why all of ways that feminism has only become broader is a sign of victory for those in the women's movement who have come before us, not a signal of our disapproval or resentment as the next generations:

It’s reasonable that we don’t all agree. If we did, it’d be totally fake, and then we’d be the Republican Party. The fact that there is dissent in our movement is a sign of health, and the possibility for growth. The problem is, we don’t know what to do with that dissent. It’s festering, and fracturing the movement, rather than moving us forward. Hence the countless articles about feminism that focus on these divides. I’m tired of talking about the past, about what came before, about the golden days of activism. I want to talk about the now, about the activism that is thriving these days, and how we can make sure that gender is being discussed in every activist space, not just at NOW conferences or in academic feminist classrooms. This is not to dismiss what has come before me, or to not acknowledge that it is the stepping stone of my feminism. I know that, I live that. Now I want to build on that. I’d love to do it in partnership with feminists of all ages, races, sexual orientations, abilities and identities. But if we can’t all agree that today’s feminism needs to look different than yesterday’s, there is no way we’re going to get anywhere. And it’s doesn’t need to look different than yesterday’s feminism because yesterday’s feminism was wrong, or bad, or ineffective. It’s needs to look different because today is different, my life is different, our gender roles are different. That’s a good thing right? It’s proof that we’re getting somewhere. Let’s keep moving.
One thing up front in the essay, which Perez points out as well, is Faludi's choice of focus on the National Organization for Women, academia, and to a lesser extent, the feminist internet, as her sites of critique. What vibrant activism has Faludi overlooked by not digging into the work of grassroots, community-based organizations? We support local, state, and national work towards gender justice, because we believe it is critical to address gender inequity on multiple fronts. But it's worth thinking about, as Faludi raises, why the kinds of feminisms rooted in our daily lives are still perceived to be of marginal consequence when compared to what happens within institutions. Where is the balance, where one drives the other? Related, and more critically, I wish Faludi had directly challenged the ways that the women's movement still struggles with race, class, sexuality, and gender identity. I want to dig more into how these struggles inform the argument that feminists are pitted against one another primarily along generational lines, as Faludi claims. She raises racism and classism and heterosexism as the complaints of the third wave lodged against the second wave, and not, more accurately, as the lived reality of feminists, of every generation.

Posted in: Community, Movement Building

“last night’s feminist party” was here

November 29, 2010

A little more than a week ago, a crowd of New York City-area activists as well as Third Wave staff, board members from across the country and local grant partners met up for a (friendly) takeover of happy hour at Lolita. There was drinking, some dancing, and posing for party photos! It was an evening full of generous acts of trouble-making to support of youth activists. Thanks to Lolita for providing drink specials for our evening, including a festive feminist cocktail we named "Intersectionality on the Beach." Hot party photo credits to Mary Ellen Hitt. [gallery orderby="rand"] Check out more photos at where you can sign up for notices about the next LNFP and be sure not to miss out on a good time! Here are the LNFP/NYC Facebook album and Flickr set as well.

Posted in: Blog, Community, Feminism Was Here, Movement Building, Philanthropy, Reproductive Justice

“Nothing About Us Without Us”: A Sex Worker-Made PSA

August 15, 2010

People who have done sex work or been involved in the sex trades -- and their experiences and their expertise -- are all too often shut out of the places where the quality of their lives and their rights are up for debate. Even among those working for public health, including sexual/reproductive health and rights, sex workers can be regarded as "vulnerable" populations, not leaders in their own health and in the well-being of our communities. Want a tool to share the concerns of sex workers with people who care about health, rights, and justice? Participants in Speak Up!, a video advocacy training conducted by Sex Work Awareness, produced a video to educate harm reduction practitioners and community health care providers about the goals that sex workers share with them. The PSA features Naomi Akers, executive director of Third Wave grant partner St. James Infirmary, the first occupational health and safety clinic in the United States run by and for sex workers. St. James Infirmary has been a leader in opposing the police practice of confiscating condoms as evidence from sex workers. In the video, Naomi asks:

If you are a service provider or health official concerned with disease prevention, we encourage you to work with sex workers to end these police practices.
The Speak Up participants have also created a toolkit for harm reduction practitioners who want to learn how to work with sex workers -- not just as a "target" population, but as critical allies in health and justice.

Posted in: d.i.y., Media, Movement Building

A Call To Weave Movements Together

August 11, 2010

We've been doing a lot of reflecting on the points of connection and intersection in our work: where reproductive justice meets and entwines with racial justice, economic justice, justice for LGBTQ people. This call from Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, could not come at a more perfect time. For her 80th birthday, she asks us to consider how we might become stronger by weaving our movements for justice together: (video: Democracy Now!)

Posted in: Blog, Community, Media, Movement Building

Become a Third Wave grant partner

October 4, 2010

Our 2010 Request for Proposals and Application for grant partners is out now. Support is available for non-profit projects, organizations, and collaborations engaged in community-based work to achieve gender, racial, economic and social justice. In addition to reaching out to organizations that explicitly locate themselves within the reproductive justice movement, Third Wave also encourages applications from organizations that have not historically identified with reproductive health and rights movements, but that take an intersectional approach to their work. View our application, learn more about our funding priorities, and join us for a support call with your questions. Our deadline is November 5th, and we'll be making decisions in early December.

Posted in: Community, Movement Building, Reproductive Justice

Celebrate 30 Years of CLPP’s “From Abortion Rights to Social Justice” Conference

April 6, 2011

This weekend Third Wave and our Reproductive Justice Network will be out in full force for the 30th anniversary "From Abortion Rights to Social Justice" conference, held by the Civil Liberties and Public Policy program at Hampshire College. For three days, social and reproductive justice activists from around the US converge on Amherst, MA for workshops and informal opportunities to network and build connections across the issues they're most passionate about. For those who can't attend, be sure to follow along with the conference liveblog.

Posted in: Community, Movement Building

Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day

March 25, 2010

Jahajee SIsters, Third Wave grant partnerMarch 24th is Ada Lovelace Day, which is “an international day of blogging to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology and science.” This day was created in honor of one of the world’s first computer programmers, Ada Lovelace. To learn more about Ada Lovelace Day and the woman herself, you can check out this blog pledge page and Wikipedia. I’m honored to contribute to this day and to acknowledge some unsung heroes that contribute to a field that is oft prone to leaving out women -- especially young women and women of color. For this celebration, I want to write a little bit about one of our grant partners, Jahajee Sisters. Jahajee Sisters is a movement-building organization committed to building solidarity and fostering empowerment of women in the Indo-Caribbean community. They are working to introduce the concept of reproductive justice to young women in their community, and to cultivate the leadership potential of the next generation so they will work for change in the future. As a stepping stone to achieving this, they have held a Young Women’s Summer Leadership Institute, which includes media training for the participants to learn how to effectively use technology to raise awareness of reproductive justice within their community. With these skills, Jahajee Sisters wants their constituents to be able to stimulate dialogue around reproductive health and rights. I find this organization to be particularly amazing because this is a young organization that recognizes and addresses the needs of a marginalized community. In the 21st century, community organizing techniques have grown immensely to include new technologies for community engagement. I applaud Jahajee Sisters by not ignoring this facet of organizing and empowering their girls by teaching them how to be self-sufficient and learn how to use video on their own to reach justice in their community. They even provide the girls in their programs Flip Cams, giving them equipment which may have been inaccessible for them due to socioeconomic status. Technology is not just about sitting in front of computers and creating complicated code. We can make technology accessible for all women and use it to bring social change and justice for all.

Posted in: Blog, Grant Partners, Jahajee Sisters, Media, Movement Building

Choice USA & COLOR: Youth the Vote

September 28, 2010

Last week, Choice USA & COLOR collaborated with NARAL Colorado to bring together activists to defeat Amendment 62, which, if passed on Election Day in Colorado, would redefine a fetus as a legal person and effectively outlaw abortion. Their day-long training, Youth the Vote, covered voter registration and ways to get your community out to the polls. After, Choice USA shared this video on Facebook, showing some of the folks who turned out and why they are passionate about reproductive freedom: [flashvideo file= width=600 height=360 /]

Posted in: Blog, COLOR, Leadership, Movement Building

e-LOLA: Training a new generation of Latina activists nationwide

September 28, 2011

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health activists in Washington, D.C.

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, a Third Wave grant partner, is training even more young activists through its new initiative, e-LOLA:

Our Latinas Organizing for Leadership and Advocacy (LOLA) trainings have been carried out in 11 cities across the country since 2003, and the new e-LOLA has been designed to accommodate the lives of busy young adults by allowing them access to the materials presented at our traditional, rigorous two and a half day LOLA Reproductive Justice Institutes. This webinar training will provide Latina activists with sessions on: the history of the reproductive rights movement, community organizing models and specific skills building tools to prepare participants with the knowledge and resources for launching a campaign. After the training, e-LOLA graduates will continue to be part of NLIRH’s larger network of Latina advocates and become part of the Alumni Network as well as become leaders on reproductive health issues in their communities. The e-LOLA webinar series will occur on October 25th, October 27th, and November 1st at 7pm EST and is free of charge. More information on how to apply is here.
NLIRH's previous LOLA trainings were crucial to developing a reproductive justice network of young Latinas, whose work ranges from securing abortion access to reforming immigration policies. As NLIRH activist Diana Salas writes, “Past trainings provided by the Latina Institute have helped me frame the messages around reproductive health and have connected me with other NYC Latinas working on similar issues. These trainings have been instrumental for someone who does not work in the reproductive justice field.” Through e-LOLA, NLIRH is expanding this vital training to young activists nationwide and strengthening this critical activist coalition. To find out more, check out NLIRH's e-LOLA page and application.

Posted in: Leadership, Movement Building, NLIRH, Reproductive Justice, Youth Organizing

Facing Race 2010: On Power, Money, and Populism

September 30, 2010

"Total philanthropic spaces are at about $120 billion plus. Organizations led by people of color, or serving people of color, is less than 5% of that." - Maria Teresa Kumar, VotoLatino
We were sorry to miss Facing Race 2010 in Chicago this past week, but have been catching up with the videos posted by Colorlines. You can follow them on Twitter or YouTube for the latest. Here's a highlight from their closing plenary, with Rinku Sen, Tim Wise, Van Jones, and Maria Teresa Kumar: (Watch the full video of the plenary here.)

Posted in: Community, Movement Building