Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Thursday, Jul. 17 1:00 PM (Eastern)
Ends: Thursday, Jul. 17 2:15 PM (Eastern)
For too long the abortion debate has been too far removed from thoughtful, or even respectful, conversation on the real lives and experiences of women. The tidal wave of overly intrusive and harmful anti-abortion legislation is often justified by religion, so much so that one might assume that to be religious is to be anti-choice—and conversely, that one cannot be both a person of faith and a supporter of abortion access. But the truth is, just like women’s own lives, the role religion plays in reproductive health and rights is complex, nuanced, and deserves to be heard. This panel is for anyone interested in the intersection between abortion access and spirituality.
Emma Akpan is an ordained itinerant deacon in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a 2010 graduate of Duke Divinity School. Currently, she is one of the Policy Council members for NC Women United, a coalition working to make sure women’s voices are heard in the North Carolina General Assembly. When not advocating for reproductive justice, Emma loves running and joining book clubs. She doesn’t think time should be wasted eating bad food or spending a sunny day inside.
Michelle Martinez is a graduate of Stony Brook University, Class of 2014. Psychology and Sociology Double Major and Women and Gender Studies Minor. Throughout her college career she has been very involved on her campus with Planned Parenthood. She help found the first VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood Chapter at Stony Brook University. She has attended The Youth Organizing Policy Institute Conference in Albany, NY in September 2012 and The Youth Organizing and Policy Conference, in Washington, D.C. in July 2013 to represent her campus and Planned Parenthood. As well as the Advocates for Youth, Urban Retreat in September 2013, as part of the 1 in 3 Campaign to become a Campus Organizer. She also participated in ElectHer on her campus.
Carolyn Meagher is the co-president of the Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice, where she works to overcome the social injustices that contribute to disparities in pregnancy, abortion and family planning. She has given reproductive justice presentations and consultations for other churches, church conferences, synagogues, nursery schools, universities, rallies and the Spirit and Place Festival. In the year 2000, she worked on a team to launch the Our Whole Lives Sexuality and Our Faith program for preK through grade 12 at her home congregation, First Congregational United Church of Christ in Indianapolis. She also facilitates comprehensive sexuality education for Indianapolis congregations and a community center. Carolyn is a graduate of Michigan State University in Social Science.
Amber J. Phillips, Manager, Campus Organizing, inspires and mobilizes young activists as they fight for sexual health awareness, LGBTQ rights, gender equality, and ending the stigma around abortion. Amber is a lead coordinator of on-the-ground efforts such as the 1 in 3 Week of Action, #Vision4SexEd and the 1 in 3 Week of Artivism and conducts trainings at national conferences. Amber supports dozens of sexual health and reproductive rights organizers throughout the year and has also influenced viral messaging content for Advocates’ Don’t Be Triched campaign and the 1 in 3 Campaign Valentines. Prior to joining Advocates, Amber trained organizers, developed leaders, and created civic engagement field plans for the Bus Project and Young People For. She attended Chatham College for Women in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she earned her Bachelor’s of Social Work and Cultural Studies with a concentration in African-American Studies.
Other sessions: Youth Caucus: Let’s actually talk about sex
Kashif Syed is currently the Reproductive Justice Fellow (LSRJ) with Advocates For Youth where he is responsible for policy areas relating to young people’s confidential access to sexual and reproductive health services. In law school, Kashif focused on sex and gender equality under the law. He has previously worked on a variety of legal projects, including trans-inclusive housing & restroom policies in higher education, sex discrimination in intercollegiate athletics under Title IX, and sexual harassment in schools. As a student, he served as a volunteer domestic violence legal advocate. Prior to entering law school, Kashif staffed a Michigan state lawmaker’s office and volunteered as counselor/trainer at a crisis intervention center. Kashif earned his J.D. at the Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2013 and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Michigan State University.