September 8, 2010
As the summer wound down and legislative season ramped up, two of our grant partners, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, along with California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, teamed up to host the First Annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice. Over Facebook, Twitter, and on their own blogs, NLIRH gathered and published stories from their members and extended community about the kinds of power they have over their own reproductive and sexual lives — and the times when they didn’t get the care and information they sought out. We asked Miriam Perez and Maria Elena Perez of NLIRH to tell us more about their collaborative, online storytelling campaign.
Third Wave: What was the inspiration for using blogging and social media as a central part of the RJ Week of Action?
Miriam Perez: For the Latina RJ Week of Action we wanted to elevate the dialogue that is already happening across online communities about reproductive justice from a Latina perspective. We wanted to do so in a coordinated and organized way, so folks across the RJ community (and the blogosphere in general) could sense the breadth and depth of our issues and perspectives. We also just really wanted to get folks talking to each other, and about their stories — specifically, this time, their “contraception story.”
We know Latinas have unique experiences when it comes to contraception, sex ed, interactions with providers. We wanted to spend a week pushing those stories to the top and bringing them into the spotlight.
The conversations on Facebook in response to five questions we were asking (one each day) were probably the most successful and direct conversation builders, and we also had over 20 blog posts about the week of action across the web.
Third Wave: What’s been the biggest takeaway or success from the RJ Week of Action?
Maria Elena Perez: The biggest takeaway has been the power of social media and blogs to raise awareness around an RJ issue. The Week of Action was a success on the ground as well, but the coverage we got through the blogosphere was more than we expected. Next year with more time and planning, we want to involve more groups.
Also, I can’t stress enough how instrumental Miriam was to our success with the blog carnival and all the coverage there. She really leveraged her relationships as a blogger to get other Latina bloggers on board to blog about this and then coordinating the interns’ blogs. Miriam, works as a consultant with us on our e-communications efforts and by working with her, we’ve been able to elevate our blog. In the past, before the week of action, interns’ blog posts have been cross posted on RH Reality Check, which was really exciting to see.
Also, for Facebook we had an intentional strategy of having staff and interns respond to the questions. We weren’t getting much dialogue on our page and we decided asking questions would generate some traffic, but more importantly having staff and interns participate. We’ve seen on other pages, once folks from the org and others comment, other people feel more inclined to do so. Something small but definitely made a difference with the dialogue happening on Facebook. People like questions and also feeling like they are getting to know the organization (and people there).
Written by: Melissa Gira Grant