Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute
Press Release

RELEASE: Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute

Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress announced today the launch of its Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute—a new program of CAP’s Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative—will train and provide resources to a new generation of faith-based leaders to be public champions of reproductive justice. Twenty participants from around the country were selected to be Leadership Institute participants, including clergy, sexuality educators, advocates, scholars, writers, and staff from mainline Protestant denominations.

A two-day convening March 20–21 inaugurates the Leadership Institute, followed by specialized trainings and events, and a second convening in September. The Leadership Institute will provide new and seasoned leaders with the resources they need to be effective faith advocates for women’s reproductive health.

“Women’s reproductive health is under serious attack,” said Sally Steenland, director of CAP’s Faith Initiative. “Too often conventional wisdom pits religion against reproductive rights. But for most women there is no conflict between their faith and their commitment to reproductive freedom. The Leadership Institute lifts up voices of conscience and faith that are standing up and speaking out for women. Safeguarding personal decision making and affordable reproductive health care is essential to women’s health and to their religious liberty.”

The Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute is supported by a generous grant from the Ford Foundation.

The 2012 Reproductive Justice Leaders include:

  • Urooj Arshad, Director of Equity and Social Justice at Advocates for Youth, Washington, D.C.
  • Rev. Elizabeth Barnum, Associate Minister, Barrington, Rhode Island
  • Darcy Baxter, After-Abortion Hotline Counselor at Exhale, San Francisco, California
  • Rev. Dr. Mariah Ann Britton, Founder and CEO of the Moriah Institute, Chestnut Ridge, New York
  • Rev. Victoria Ferguson, Family Violence Protective Order Compliance Officer for Dekalb County, Atlanta Georgia
  • Samantha Griffin, Program Assistant at the Black Women’s Health Imperative, Washington, D.C.
  • Heather Johnson, John Marshall Law School, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Catherine Levy, Executive Director of Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Columbus, Ohio
  • Kyle Meerkins, Operational Manager at Pro-Choice Resources, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Kimberly Moore, Outreach Coordinator for Christie’s Place, San Diego, California
  • Sarah Morice-Brubaker, Assistant Professor of Theology at Phillips Theological Seminary, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Lyndsey Godwin, Manager of Education, Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee
  • Courtney Hoekstra, Staff for the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns and the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns of the Presbyterian Church, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Rev. Lorena Parrish, Associate Minister of Fort Washington Collegiate Church, New York, New York
  • Rebecca Todd (Toddie) Peters, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Elon University, Elon, North Carolina
  • Caryn Riswold, Associate Professor of Religion and Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois
  • Rev. Madison Shockley, Pastor of the Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Carlsbad, California
  • Kacie Starr Triplett, Elected Member of the St. Louis Board of Alderman, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Rev. Matthew Westfox, National Coordinator for Field Services for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Katey Zeh, Consultant for the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society, Cary, North Carolina