Public Voices Fellowship
The Ms. Foundation Public Voices Fellowship is an initiative that was created to amplify the voices of the underrepresented by disrupting the dominant narrative featured in mainstream media.
The fellowship, which was launched by The OpEd Project in partnership with the nation’s leading universities and foundations, will provide a diverse cohort of 19 Ms. Foundation grantees with resources, skills, and access, in order to ensure their ideas shape not only their respective fields of reproductive and economic justice and safety, but also the greater conversations about gender in America.
The full list of participants includes:
- Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA)
- Reproductive Justice Collective
- Young Women United (YWU)
- Garment Worker Center (GWC)
- Black Women’s Blueprint
- Mississippi Women’s Economic Security Initiative
- California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ)
- SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW
- WV FREE
- Center for Frontline Retail
- Parent Voices
- Puget Sound Sage
- All Our Kin
- Women with A Vision
- National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH)
- OLÉ Education Fund
- Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity (URGE)
Charmaine Lang – Director, Reproductive Justice Collective
Charmaine is a writer, fifth year doctoral student, and the Project Director for the Reproductive Justice Collective, a project of Wisconsin Voices. Her dissertation research examines the self-care and stress management techniques of Black women activists in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She believes that the voices of Black women are essential in pointing to new directions that will help facilitate a balance between activism and self-care.
She is a fellow of the Echoing Ida Program, and the Ms. Foundation Public Voices Fellowship. Through these avenues, she hopes to explore the intersections of class, and wellness amongst Black women, and connecting it to the long tradition of Black women’s activism.
‘Overworked and Underpaid’: On Organizing, Black Womanhood, and Self-Care, originally on Rewire (4/15).
Auntie Conversations: Black Women Talk Sex, Self-Care, and Illness, originally on Rewire (7/19).
Milwaukee Officials: Black Youth, Single Mothers Are Not Responsible for Systemic Failings — You Are, originally on Rewire (8/17).
Esperanza Dodge – Mama’s Justice Organizer, Young Women United (YWU)
Esperanza is a proud New Mexican Hispanic and is YWU’s Mamas Justice Organizer. Being a mother to 8yr-old Julián has fueled her passion to work hard for justice for all families, including families living through addiction and incarceration. She also serves as an active member in local and national breastfeeding coalitions in an effort to making breastfeeding advocacy more inclusive of families of color, LGBTQ families, young parents and low-income families.
Creativity and art is at the core of Esperanza’s well-being and is what helps ground and inspire her in doing this challenging, yet exciting work. Esperanza holds a BA degree in Sociology and a MSW in Bilingual/Bicultural Social Work.
There are better ways to create healthy families, originally on Medium (3/22).
Breastfeeding on This Side of Trauma, originally on Rewire (4/8).
When Depression and Breastfeeding Come Together, originally on MomsRising (8/2).
Respect Is An Everyday Thing: Why Young Parents Need Support, originally on Medium (8/25).
Why Survive When You Can Thrive?, originally on MomsRising (10/18).
When Halloween is over, moms of black boys will still be afraid, originally on MomsRising (10/31).
Kierra Johnson – Executive Director, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
Kierra heads the leading pro-choice organization working to mobilize and provide ongoing support for the diverse, upcoming generation of leaders who promote and protect reproductive choice both now and in the future. With many years of experience in the field, Kierra is a leader in the reproductive justice and progressive movements.
She has lifted up the value of regional and cross-movement collaborations to foster youth leadership development that will strengthen the pro-choice progressive base in crucial communities in the United States. She serves on the National Action Committee of the National LGBTQ Taskforce and on the board of the Groundswell Fund.
What Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Protesters Were Saying Outside the Supreme Court Today, originally on Slate (5/2).
Why the Supreme Court Abortion Clinic Ruling Was a Win for Black Women, originally on Ebony (6/27).
‘These laws will fall’: Abortion rights regain lost ground with Supreme Court ruling, originally on Mashable (7/2).
How Kierra Johnson Is Ensuring Young Women Have A Say In What Happens To Their Bodies, originally on Bustle (7/6).
On Dallas, Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights: As long as The Matrix exists the human race will never be free, originally on Medium (7/8).
Reclaiming Our Rights: Going Proactive to End Discriminatory Abortion Restriction, originally on The American Prospect (9/19).
At Contentious House Abortion Hearing, a Rare Agreement, originally on NBC (9/23).
Congress members casually compare abortion to slavery, black genocide, and killing puppies, originally on Vox (9/23).
#BlackWomenVote Campaign Seeking to Turn the Tide in the Election, originally on Ebony (11/2).
Andrea Serrano – Deputy Director, OLÉ Education Fund
Andrea is an Albuquerque native who has been working in non-profit and social justice organizations since 1999. Her experience includes Community Educator at the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico; program coordinator at South Valley Academy as well as extensive involvement in community organizing and activism with various community organizations.
Andrea began working with OLÉ in 2012 as a Conservation Organizer and is currently Deputy Director of the organization. Andrea is also a writer and performance poet and uses various forms of self-expression to organize community members. Andrea has been published in various anthologies including ¡Ban This! The BSP Anthology of Xican@ Literature and LowWriting: Shots, Rides and Stories of the Chicano Soul.
Opinion: Reconciling Dolores Huerta the icon and Dolores Huerta the political spokesperson, originally on Fox News Latino (2/26).
Trump This: Why GOP Actions Speak Louder Than Ads, originally on Medium (3/21).
Immigrant Detention Centers Are Not Day Cares, originally on Truthout (5/28).
Latinos Deserve Total Equality Not Political Pandering, originally on TIME (8/8).
‘Soy yo’ sings to the joy of being unique – even as a chubby young Latina, originally on Fox Latino (9/22).
The Trump Effect: What is Left After The Election Is Over?, originally on Medium (11/8).
RaeAnn Roca Pickett – Senior Director of Communications and Public Affairs, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH)
RaeAnn brings expertise in both corporate and non-profit strategic communications, most recently as a Senior Associate at SKDKnickerbocker, one of the preeminent public affairs firms in the country. Prior to that, Rae served as Senior National Communications Manager for Young Invincibles, where she created and implemented all communications strategies and tactics.
RaeAnn’s tireless work on behalf of reproductive health, civil rights, social justice and celebrity clients has expanded her breadth of media relationships. She has presented on numerous panels on how to leverage media and the marriage of policy and organizing through earned media.
Trouble in Nerdland: A Blow to Progress on Diversity + Inclusivity on TV News–and An Opportunity, originally on New Black Man in Exile (2/26).
An Open Letter to New Moms About Mothers Who Don’t Feel Compassion for Michelle Gregg, originally on xoJane (6/3).
The Beautiful Way These People Are Coming Out About Mental Illness, originally on Oprah.com (7/16).
Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces Are Necessary, originally on TIME (8/31).
Deon Haywood – Executive Director, Women with a Vision
Deon Haywood is the Executive Director of Women With A Vision, a New Orleans-based community organization founded in 1991 to improve the lives of marginalized women, their families, and communities.
In 2009, Deon oversaw the launch of WWAV’s NO Justice Project, a campaign to combat the sentencing of women and trans* people arrested for street-based sex work under Louisiana’s 203-yr-old “crime against nature” felony-level law, which resulted in the removal of more than 700 women from the sex offender registry. She has been honored with the 2011 “Political Activism Award” from Forum for Equality, received the 2012 “Teri Estrada Memorial Award” from AIDS Law Louisiana, and was named BET.com’s 2012 “Health Hero”.
Should Prostitution Be a Crime?, originally in The New York Times (5/8).
Stop Criminalizing Sex Workers, originally on Black Agenda Report (6/7).
What TV Show ‘The Girlfriend Experience’ Gets Wrong About Sex Work, originally on Alternet (6/17).
Jessica Sager – Co-Founder and Executive Director, All Our Kin
Since Sager co-founded All Our Kin in 1999, its work has been highlighted by the US Offices of Child Care and Head Start, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Yale University, and Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child. Sager’s honors include the US Small Business Administration’s “Women in Business Champion” award (2012), the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame (2013), New Profit’s “Extraordinary Social Female Entrepreneur” designation (2014) and the Roslyn S. Jaffe Award Grand Prize (2015). A graduate of Barnard College and Yale Law School, Sager co-teaches a seminar on child care policy at Yale.
It’s Campaign Season, Ask Candidates About that New Child Care Bill, originally on Women’s eNews (3/11).
Candidates Should Stop Acting Like Children, originally on Time (3/16).
Children’s good health: Not just for Olympic hopefuls, originally on The Hill (8/17).
We Should Treat Early Childhood Educators as Valued Employees, originally on TIME (9/5).
The Empathy Gap and How to Fill it, originally on Education Week (10/5).
How Irregular Hours Hurt Low-Wage Parents, originally on TIME (10/13).
Rebecca Saldaña – Executive Director, Puget Sound Sage
Rebecca Saldana is the Executive Director of Puget Sound Sage. She builds powerful partnerships and a strong foundation for staff to lead winning campaigns for good jobs, affordable housing, clean and healthy environment, and strong communities where all families can thrive.
Rebecca brings 16 years of experience in public speaking and coalition organizing across faith, labor and community sectors for worker and immigrant advocacy, food justice, women’s rights, racial equity, civic engagement, affordable housing, transit equity and equitable development. Before joining Sage, Rebecca served as the Community Liaison for Congressman Jim McDermott. Rebecca graduated from Seattle University in 1999.
Racist in Seattle: What the Country Can Learn From the Region’s Shifts, originally on Huffington Post Impact (3/25).
Low Pay for Women of Color = More Clout Needed in Politics, originally on Women’s eNews (8/16).
Mary Ignatius – Statewide Organizer, Parent Voices
Mary Ignatius is the Statewide Organizer of Parent Voices, a parent-led grassroots organization fighting to make quality child care accessible and affordable for all families. As the Statewide Organizer since August 2005, she coordinates the work of its 17 chapters and implements the leadership development model Parent Voices has crafted for 20 years.
Under her tenure, Parent Voices has won campaigns to update income eligibility guidelines to qualify for subsidized child care, restore a child care program that was eliminated, and protected child care subsidies for thousands of families. She holds a Master of Social Work, Administration and Social Planning from Temple University and a Bachelor of Social Work from Rutgers University.
Beyond Rhetoric: Campaigns Need Real Answers to Child Care Needs Nationally, originally on Medium (4/4).
A Real Mothers’ Day Gift: Better Child Care Assistance, originally on Women’s eNews (5/6).
Immigrant Detention Centers Are Not Day Cares, originally on Truthout (5/28).
Extra spending for child care still leaves some families behind, originally on SF Chronicle (7/25).
The Single Women Are Coming, originally in Bethel New Life (8/2).
The Nightmare Continues: California’s Broken Child Care Subsidies System, originally on Truth-out (8/22).
Anika Campbell – Executive Director, Center for Frontline Retail
Anika Campbell is the Executive Director of the Center for Frontline Retail (CFR), where she guides the strategic ‘services to organizing’ vision and internal and external organizational development. With over ten years of experience in workforce development, program management, organizing and employment in the retail industry, Anika understands the hardship of workers in the industry and aims to win against unfair scheduling practices, low wages and racial and gender discrimination. Anika graduated from CUNY Brooklyn College with a Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
More, More, More: Why $15 Per Hour Still Not Enough for Retail Workers in NY, California, Anywhere, originally on Medium (4/18).
Luna Ranjit – Executive Director, Adhikaar
Regarded as an expert on emerging immigrant communities, Luna ensures that underrepresented voices are at the center of organizing and advocacy efforts, particularly for immigrant rights, domestic workers, nail salon workers, labor trafficking, and language justice. She has extensive experience in organizing, activism, and participatory action research in the US and South Asia.
Luna is a co-founder of the New York Healthy Nail Salon Coalition, and serves as an advisory group member of the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance. Prior to Adhikaar, she worked at Andolan, APICHA, and New Voices National Fellowship Program. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College, and a master’s degree in public and international affairs from Princeton University.
After Reforms, Why Are Nail Salon Workers Not Seeing Swift Justice?, originally published on Truth Out (3/17).
Give Them A Break: Hourly Workers Need Meals, Breaks Protected Nationally, originally on The Huffington Post (6/9).
Families Fractured by Immigration Need Reform, Regrouping More Than Ever, originally on Women’s eNews, (6/29).
First Timer: Why I Must Vote as a U.S. Citizen, originally on Women’s eNews (8/16).
In Our Own Words: Reflections on the 15th Anniversary of 9/11, originally on Colorlines (9/11).
The Ugly Truth: Demanding A Woman’s Right To Choose Non-Toxic Cosmetic Products, originally on The Huffington Post (10/19).
Tisha Gay Reed – Deputy Director, WV FREE
Tisha Gay Reed began her career in reproductive health administration as a Family Planning Program Specialist in 2006. She served as West Virginia’s Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative Director before becoming the Family Planning Program Director and Title X Administrator for West Virginia in 2011.
During her tenure, Tisha proudly chaired several groups and committees including the State Family Planning Administrators Executive Committee for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association and the Apexus 340B Title X Advisory Council. She graduated from Marshall University with a BA in history and political science minor, and was later awarded a MA from Marshall in Education. She is currently pursuing a MFA from Ashland University.
No Freedom from Religion, originally published in The Hill (2/19).
Cortez Wright – Digital Communications & Development Coordinator, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW
Cortez Wright is a Black Queer Femme feminist digital organizer and writer. They are the Digital Communications & Development Coordinator of SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, a reproductive justice organization working to build new leadership, change culture, and advance knowledge in the South to ensure individuals and communities have resources and power to make sustainable and liberatory decisions about our bodies, gender, sexualities, and lives.
Grounded in principles of harm reduction, queer liberation, and radical visioning, they have been a trainer across movements. They are a recent alum of the New Organizing Institute’s Digital BootCamp and a content writer for The Body Is Not An Apology.
The Anger Uncovered by the Orlando Shooting, originally on Ebony (6/13).
Susy Chavez – Communications Manager, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ)
Susy Chávez Herrera holds a BA in Studio Arts with an emphasis on Graphic Design and a MA in Social Cultural Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a proud first generation college graduate. As California Latinas for Reproductive Justice’s Communication Manager, she is responsible for all the organization’s communications’ efforts including media relations, website content management, and social media updates.
Before joining CLRJ, she worked on issues of social justice with a race and gender lens on both sides of the U.S. Mexico border. She has spent time organizing, sharing, listening, being inspired and learning from the experiences of the women she has worked with in different parts of the U.S. & Mexico.
Respect Is An Everyday Thing: Why Young Parents Need Support, originally on Medium (8/25).
Cassandra Overton-Welchlin – Director, Mississippi Women’s Economic Security Initiative, a Project of MLICCI
A licensed social worker, Cassandra received a Master’s from Brandeis University. She works with organizations at the local, state, regional and national level to develop strategies and create opportunities to address the social, political, economic and ecological injustices in low wealth communities of color that grows out of racial inequities in public policy.
Cassandra works to build local leadership and partnerships in order to organize their efforts and support their community’s power for the purpose of eradicating racial inequality. Currently, she serves as the Child Care Matters Director for the Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative and Director of the Mississippi Women’s Economic Security Initiative.
Low income mothers need policy agenda to overcome healthcare obstacles, originally on The Hill (10/20).
Sevonna Brown – Human Rights Project Manager, Black Women’s Blueprint
Sevonna Brown is the Human Rights Project Manager at Black Women’s Blueprint in Brooklyn, New York where her work centers on the human rights of women of African Descent, reproductive violence and the intersections of sexual violence. She is a Reproductive Justice Advocate as well as a full-spectrum doula and birthworker through Ancient Song Doula Services and the Doula Project NYC.
As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellow at Williams College, she previously produced research on Black Maternal Survival, public health disparities, as well as infant and maternal mortality rates in Black communities.
American Girl’s ‘Civil Rights’ Doll Doesn’t Reflect Black Girlhood, originally published on Time.com (2/25).
No Plan B: For Colored Girls Who Pursue Holistic Reproductive Care When the Emergency Room is Not Enough, originally published on Womens eNews (3/3).
It’s Time to Put an End to Gender-Based Violence, originally published on Slant (3/21).
Breastfeeding on This Side of Trauma, originally published on Rewire (4/8).
Why Black Women Don’t Cry When the Pain Is as Serious as a Heart Attack, originally on the Huffington Post (4/11).
Erykah Badu Sparks Social Media Firestorm After Twitter Rant On How Girls Should Dress, originally on News One (4/13).
Removing the Blindfold: Reimagining Reproductive Futures, originally on Ebony (5/17).
How Doctors Traumatize Pregnant Women With Unnecessary Procedures, originally on For Harriet (8/16).
Ellen DeGeneres’ Usain Bolt Tweet Has a Greater Context, originally on Motto (8/17).
Denial of Right to Wear Locs Means Denial of Black Freedoms, originally on Ebony (9/22).
Why Black Studies matters in an age of liberal arts angst, originally on The Huffington Post (9/22).
Marissa Nuncio – Director, Garment Workers Center (GWC)
Marissa has been an advocate of worker’s rights for over 15 years, including as a Program Coordinator for Sweatshop Watch.
Marissa practiced law as a labor and employment attorney for seven years. She earned a Loyola Law School Post–‐Graduate Fellowship to work as a staff attorney with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in 2006. In 2008, she joined Bush Gottlieb Singer López Kohanski Adelstein & Dickinson as an associate, primarily representing car wash workers and a variety of other worker groups and unions. Marissa brings a demonstrated commitment to organizing with low–‐wage immigrant workers to the Garment Worker Center.
Fair Wages Now: Why Immigrant Women Workers Are Paying for It Every Week, originally on The Huffington Post (4/6).
Turn Up the Heat on Fairness: American Garment Workers Deserve Better, originally on TruthOut (10/17).
Juana Flores – Co-Director, Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA)
An immigrant from Mexico, Juana has taken a leadership role in key local, statewide, and national campaigns, such as the campaigns to defeat statewide propositions 187, 227, and 209 and local proposition 21 and efforts to protect statewide prenatal health care programs.
Juana moved into her current role as Co-Director in 2001 where she is responsible for planning and implementing all of MUA’s programs with a specific focus on building MUA’s collaboration with domestic violence and sexual assault service providers, ensuring the representation of immigrant women within our political coalitions and campaigns, and developing MUA’s member-led Board of Directors.
El Papa y Su Llamado A Reflexionar Sobre Los Migrantes, originally on Hoy (3/22).
Donald Trump no es un Aladino, originally on Medium (8/26).