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RELEASE: CAP Launches 2014 Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute

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Contact: Chelsea Kiene
Phone: 202.478.5328
Email: ckiene@americanprogress.org

Washington, D.C.  Today, the Center for American Progress announced the launch of the 2014 Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute—a program of CAP’s Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative—trains and provides resources to a diverse group of faith-based leaders and advocates around the country to be champions of reproductive justice.

Nineteen participants were selected from a competitive pool to be Leadership Institute participants. They include clergy, advocates, educators, organizers, and writers.

“The Leadership Institute connects faith to reproductive justice, supports personal decision making, and champions affordable reproductive health care as essential to women’s health and their religious liberty,” said Sally Steenland, Director of CAP’s Faith Initiative.

“Women’s reproductive health is under serious attack,” Steenland added. “More than 70 state laws were passed in 2012 that restrict access to crucial health services. Our opponents often cloak their work in religion and religious liberty. But we know that for most women, there is no conflict between their faith and their commitment to reproductive health. Furthermore, we know that reproductive health and rights are core issues of justice.”

A convening from January 1416 is bringing the Leadership Institute participants to Washington for interactive sessions to strengthen their work and voices. The convening will be followed by specialized trainings and events.

The Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute is supported by a generous grant from the Ford Foundation. The first Leadership Institute was convened in 2012.

The 2014 Reproductive Justice Leaders include:

  • Rev. Emma Akpan, 360˚ Support at BluePrint NC, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Rabbi Daniel Brenner, Chief of Education and Program at Moving Traditions, New York, New York
  • Rev. Carol Burnett, Founder and Executive Director of the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative, Biloxi, Mississippi
  • Rev. Kelli Clement, Executive Director of the Minnesota Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Rev. Charles Conkin, Associate Pastor of Central Baptist Church, Lexington, Kentucky
  • Rev. Lacette Cross, Pastor of Christian Education at the Abundant Life Christian Center International, Hopewell, Virginia
  • Matthew Ellis, CEO of the National Episcopal Health Ministries, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Rev. Dr. Marvin Ellison, Willard S. Bass Professor of Christian Ethics (retired) at the Bangor Theological Seminary, Portland, Maine
  • Courtney Fowler, Great Plains Conference Lay Leader for the Kansas East Annual Conference/Great Plains Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Manhattan, Kansas
  • Rev. Kathleen Green, Minister of the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, Ridgewood, New Jersey
  • Vernita Gutierrez, Director of Community Engagement for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest–San Diego County, San Diego, California
  • Rev. Angela Herrera, Associate Minister of the First Unitarian Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Laura Herrera, Development Associate for the California Women’s Law Center, Los Angeles, California
  • Jennifer Kinne, Volunteer Ministries Coordinator for the Fountain Street Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Rabbi Michael Namath, Program Director for the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, or RAC, Washington, D.C.
  • Lenee Richards, Community Engagement Specialist for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  • Jennifer Rudinger, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, of North Carolina, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Cherisse Scott, Founder and CEO of SisterReach, Memphis, Tennessee
  • Rev. Shannon Speidel, Supply Minister for the Great River Region for the Christian Church, or Disciples of Christ, North Little Rock, Arkansas

For more information, contact Chelsea Kiene at ckiene@americanprogress.org or 202.478.5328.

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