Youth Organizing

“If They Can Do It, I Can Do It”: Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition

June 22, 2011

In honor of their graduation, Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition is sharing video interviews with some of their 2011 program graduates. Here's the first five posted -- four young women who have found community and grown as leaders, working together as peer educators and activists.

Crystal

Amelia

Cassidi

Sade

Emily

Posted in: Community, Healthcare, Youth Organizing, YWCHAC

“No Simple Solutions”: Social Justice and the Sex Trade

May 3, 2011

We know that each of our experiences of the sex trades are unique, and there are no one-size fits all solutions. We are members of families and communities struggling to survive and make the best possible choices given the options available to us. For many of us, the truth about the sex trade is somewhere between a completely empowered experience of the sex trade, which requires only decriminalization to eliminate harms, and a completely harmful experience of the sex trade which negatively presumes all of us to be victims in need of “rescue.”
In response to increased media and philanthropic attention on young people in the sex trade, a collective of radical women of color, queer people of color, and Indigenous people who identify as people in the sex trades, affiliated with INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, are working to center the voices of young people in the sex trades in conversations about policy reform that directly impacts their lives. You can read their statement (excerpted above) in full on the INCITE! blog. Over at Feministing, Jos Truit has a powerful post giving some context and background to how social justice movements can meaningfully include young people in the sex trade. Third Wave has also released a statement (in September 2010) on why we prioritize the expertise of young people in the sex trade.

Posted in: Anti-Violence, Criminalization, Youth Organizing

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

Khmer Girls in Action Listening Campaign Launches in Long Beach

April 13, 2011

Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) empowers young women of Cambodian and Southeast Asian descent in Long Beach, California to be leaders within the reproductive justice movement. KGA's members learn the necessary educational tools and organizing skills to create positive change in their communities, including participatory research as a tool for organizing and action. This Spring, KGA is kicking off a listening campaign to share the results of their first Participatory Action Research project on immigrant and refugee rights, reproductive justice, health, and safety. The youth members of KGA designed the study and carried out the research, collecting findings related to how young people in the Khmer community in Long Beach face harassment and discrimination, and how they are taking leadership to change it. Check out their survey and share their video PSA.

Posted in: Community, Criminalization, Khmer Girls in Action, Participatory Research, Youth Organizing

Nominations Open! 2011 Mario Savio Young Activist Award

May 3, 2011

The Mario Savio Young Activist Award is presented each year to a young person (or persons) with a deep commitment to human rights and social justice and a proven ability to transform this commitment into effective action. The recipient/s will receive a $6000 award in recognition of their work. The deadline to submit a nomination is June 30th. Thanks to Dom Brassey at Tides (who is also a proud Third Wave Board member) for her inspiring announcement, complete with videos featuring some powerhouse poets and activists, like this one: If you'd like to nominate a young activist who inspires you, check out the full details (and videos of free speech activist Mario Savio, for which this award is named) over here.

Posted in: Community, Leadership, Philanthropy, Youth Organizing

Reflections on Third Wave Grant Partner Reports, Part II

June 12, 2012

I am currently an intern at Third Wave Foundation, and this is a continuation of my reflections after reading through 2010 end of year grant reports. All of the groups funded by Third Wave are doing groundbreaking and inspirational things. But I was also struck by the kinds of challenges Third Wave's grant partners are facing. To me, these challenges are significant because they represent the fact that grant partners are doing truly revolutionary, as opposed to popular, work. This lack of "popularity" also underscores the necessity of Third Wave's support, since funding for many of these issues and approaches is hard to come by. One challenge is public perception of issues related to sex and gender, as well as the way these issues are (or are not) represented in the media.  St. James Infirmary tried to get their media campaign posted on billboards and was turned down by CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel because the use of the words “sex work” and “sex worker” was deemed “not family friendly.” Different Avenues also reports that they have to stay away from mentioning “sex work” when interacting with many funders.  This also seems to be an issue with many of our groups fighting to bring comprehensive sexual education into schools.  Conservative school boards have put up many barriers, leaving our grant partners frustrated. Another challenge is navigating the changing fads in philanthropy. Because some issues are hot topics, it is easier for them to get funding. Meanwhile, other equally important issues get overlooked. For instance, many funders are more interested in boys in the system than in girls in the system.  This means they don't want to invest in groups like Different Avenues.  Young Women’s Empowerment Project reports being approached by those who have caught onto the anti-trafficking fad and want to speak with “trafficked victims.” They have difficulty expressing how the trafficking framework does not feel relevant for most of the girls who are a part of YWEP. Rather, “Girls Do What They Have to Do to Survive,” according to the title of their report on the participatory action research they did with street youth in Chicago. Within the context of prison reform, Justice Now reports on the realignment movement in California and the push for “gender responsive prison reforms.” At first glance, these proposed changes may appear to be improvements.  They are certainly getting plenty of support.  But Justice Now explains how they are, in fact, a regression. They are fighting for substantial changes to make the prison system more humane and for a movement towards decarceration. Third Wave grant partners tend to look at issues of reproductive health and justice as they affect and are relevant to under-served communities. It can be a challenge for them to appeal to funders working within a mainstream reproductive rights framework (which can seem focused on providing white women with access to abortions). This framework tends to ignore the ways in which gender, class, and racial privileges intersect. Choice USA, the Chicago Abortion Fund, SPARK Reproductive Justice Now, and New Voices Pittsburgh, are all fighting for a woman’s right to choose and for access to safe, empowering, and affordable reproductive healthcare.  New Voices Pittsburgh organized Pennsylvanians to rally against Senate Bill 732, the Health Care Facilities Act, which would close almost all free-standing or non-hospital affiliated clinics in Pennsylvania.  Despite their success as an organization, they report "resistance to our leadership as young women of color"(NVP 2010 report).  These groups recognize that the reproductive rights of people of color are especially under attack. For example, over the past few year, anti-choice billboards around the country have been equating a black woman’s decision not to have a child with the genocide of black people.  Recently, there have been similar billboards aimed at Latina women.  SPARK, Chicago Abortion Fund, and local chapters of Choice USA (at University of Georgia and University of Missouri) have all mobilized against this assault on women of color. Meanwhile, groups such as COLOR and Kalpulli Izkalli report that many of their constituents are very religious, and have views about abortions that differ from the views of many others fighting for reproductive health and justice. They face the challenge of understanding this fight in different ideological contexts.  COLOR reports: “The conservative religious sentiment in the community drives people to ask how we manage to navigate the relationship between strong cultural religion and reproductive freedoms”(COLOR 2010 report). Kalpulli Izkalli has found it necessary to separate the polarizing issue of “abortion” from the broader issues of reproductive justice, such as reproductive healthcare access.  Working from another angle, Young Women United is supporting young parents, recognizing their accomplishments and expertise, and fighting the stigmatization of teen parenting. All of these groups are negotiating what may seem from the outside to be ideological incompatibilities, and challenging the idea that reproductive justice means only “abortion.” They are working to forward reproductive health and justice in a way that makes sense within their communities, leaving constituents informed and empowered to make the decisions that feel right for them. To me, the very fact that our grant partners are running up against these kinds of obstacles to their work is a sign that they are doing something right.  It also reinforces my appreciation of Third Wave as a grantmaker.  Third Wave seeks out those doing crucial work, even if it is "unpopular," and especially when other sources of funding are hard to access.  

Posted in: Blog, Chicago Abortion Fund, COLOR, Comprehensive Sex Ed, Different Avenues, Grant Partners, Media, New Voices Pittsburgh, Organizing & Advocacy, Reproductive Justice, SPARK, St. James Infirmary, Young Women United, Youth Organizing, YWEP

We’ve Launched our 2010 Annual Report to Kick-Off our 15th Anniversary!

February 28, 2012

We're kicking off the celebration of Third Wave Foundation’s 15th Anniversary Year by sharing our most recent annual report, which documents an incredible year of supporting young leaders in social justice. Thank You! This report shows the ways everyone in our community came together to make this work possible. Because of your energy, commitment and partnership Third Wave was able to: ● Fund 23 feminist youth-led organizations that are developing leaders and organizing young people to transform their communities. ● Support the collaboration of 20 reproductive justice organizations to identify the issues that are immediate threats to the well-being of their communities, and the strategies to confront those threats. ● Provide trainings in financial planning during tough economic times to 25 organizations and blogging for social justice to five grant partner organizations. ● Give funding for emergency abortions to more than 500 young people in need across the United States and Puerto Rico. Download the annual report here.  

Posted in: Blog, Feminism Was Here, Grant Partners, Leadership, Movement Building, Our History, Reproductive Justice, Youth Organizing

Why Comprehensive Sex Education is Part of Ending Violence in Schools

March 10, 2011

Gender JUST is a grassroots organization that seeks to build power and develop leadership among queer youth of color by organizing for racial, economic, and gender justice. Gender JUST has worked successfully within Chicago Public Schools to implement policy changes to ensure that all young people receive a safe and affirming education. With Third Wave’s support, Gender JUST will apply their successful organizing strategy towards winning comprehensive sexuality education and increased access to health resources for queer youth of color in Chicago. In this video, Sam Finklestein, an organizer with Gender JUST, explains why comprehensive sex education that includes all students is a critical part of ending violence in schools. He also discusses their leadership development model for building young people's power to make this kind of change in their own community.

Posted in: Anti-Violence, Blog, Comprehensive Sex Ed, Gender JUST, Youth Organizing