About Echoing Ida:
Echoing Ida is a program of Forward Together that supports the leadership and amplifies the voices of Black women, developing generations of thought leaders and skilled communicators for the social justice movement.
Grounded in the legacy of Ida B. Wells-Barnett who wrote extensively about the devastating truths of racism and sexism in the United States – documenting lynchings, exposing Jim Crow, fighting for quality education, and pushing for women's suffrage – we endeavor to create an echo chamber of our truths that moves us all toward wholeness and justice.
Who We Are
Recognizing the need for a platform for Black women's thought leadership, Forward Together supported the formation of Echoing Ida in the Fall of 2012. We write truths around issues of race and gender and provide provocative commentary on conversations in which our voices are not frequently heard like health care, contraception, voting rights, pain management, cancer, our foremothers, our biological mothers, allies, safe sex, abortion, maternal health, and teen parenting, among many others. To date, we have written over 100 pieces on over 20 media outlets. Our success is only possible because we support one another to break down walls of isolation among Black women: brainstorming together, setting and achieving writing goals, finding our voices, and celebrating each other's success for it benefits us all.
Our thought-provoking work is frequently featured on EBONY.com, RH Reality Check, The Root and Salon in addition to many other online sites. We also present at conferences and can be contacted individually for speaking and freelancing opportunities (see below for individual writers' biographies and contact information). You can follow us on Twitter @EchoingIda.
For more information, reposting, and to discuss partnership, please contact Forward Together's Movement Building Director, Alicia Walters by email.
Alicia Walters staffs Echoing Ida as the Movement Building Director at Forward Together. She began Echoing Ida to showcase Black women's leadership, heighten their visibility, and create space for building authentic relationships and developing writing skills. As an organizer and policy advocate Alicia has worked to end the shackling of pregnant incarcerated women, address mass incarceration and the treatment of folks inside, combat the school to prison pipeline, ensure comprehensive sex education, and fiercely counter the manipulation of Black people's realities for political or financial gain. Her writing interests span the many intersections of race, gender, sexuality, personal growth, spirituality, and art. As the coordinator for Echoing Ida, Alicia happily edits and supports her sisters while building media partnerships that ensure their $uccess. Follow Alicia on Twitter at @aliciamwalters and reach out if you're interested in joining or would like to partner with Echoing Ida.
Improving Health Equity in Georgia (co-author), The Atlanta Voice, February 2014.
On Being in the Blackground, Creative Justice Works, September 2013.
Policing African American Motherhood from Every Angle, RH Reality Check, January 2013.
Amber J. Phillips
Amber J. Phillips is a social justice organizer who works to advance the rights of women, young people, people of color, and low-income communities. Amber is deeply committed to galvanizing her skills as a political and digital organizer to identify, train, and empower new leaders to spark social change within their own communities.
Previously, Amber was the Field Organizing Director of the Equality and Culture Project at UltraViolet organizing women across the country to help build and run a strategic national campaign around women’s reproductive rights. Prior to UltraViolet, Amber was the Manager of Campus Organizing at Advocates for Youth where she help to mobilize activists as they fought for sexual health awareness, LGBTQ rights, gender equality, and ending the stigma around abortion through the 1 in 3 Campaign. Amber supported dozens of sexual health and reproductive rights organizers throughout the year and has also influenced viral messaging content for Advocates’ “Don’t Be Trich’ed” campaign and the 1 in 3 Campaign Valentines.
Currently, Amber is a member of Echoing Ida, a project of Forward Together that amplifies the voices of Black women around critical social justice issues. She also serves on the board of directors of SisterSong: Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. She holds a degree in Social Work and Cultural Studies with a concentration in African-American Studies from Chatham College for Women.
Banning "Bossy" Won't Help Black Women and Girls Seeking Justice, RH Reality Check, April 2014.
Love Thy Self Fiercely: How Self-Love Makes for Better Health Care, RH Reality Check, March 2014.
"Babe, I'm Pregnant...", Amplify Blog, June 2013.
Bianca Campbell practices and researches full spectrum doula work in Atlanta, GA through a queer reproductive justice lens. Her work also involves supporting the leadership of queer and trans people of color loving in the US south. In addition to being published on Echoing Ida, her writing has been posted on The Root, For Harriet and Flyover Feminism. Her work and commentary have also been highlighted by several media outlets including the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Washington Post, Colorlines Magazine, and 3 radio shows on Atlanta's WRFG. When time allows, she also dives into her side projects improv comedy, dance and drawing. She hopes to interact with you and other activists online at @biancaacampher.
The Resilience of Black Breastfeeding, The Root, May 2014.
We're Listening to Ourselves: Black Women Rebuild and Reclaim the South, Strong Families Blog, April 2013.
Dr. Cynthia R. Greenlee
Dr. Cynthia R. Greenlee is a writer and historian. A native Southerner, Cynthia has a master's in journalism from the University of North Carolina and a doctorate in American history at Duke University. She specializes in African-American women's and legal history of the late nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. She began her writing career with an unintelligible picture book at age 5, worked as a newspaper journalist and editor, and later in communications for international health organizations. Today, she writes historically informed pieces that connect the contemporary (and sometimes the personal) with current events and policies related to race, the arts and reproductive issues. She fundamentally believes that it is possible – and imperative – for academics to be socially and politically engaged. She is a founding board member of the Carolina Abortion Fund, a board member of NARAL Pro-Choice NC, and also on the board of National Advocates for Pregnant Women. Her writing has been published at the now-defunct Africana.com, Dissent, EBONY.com, The Independent Weekly, Ms. Magazine, and RH Reality Check, among other outlets. She consults with reproductive health organizations and foundations, and she is currently at work on two projects: a manuscript about black girls and the law, and a second book about African-Americans and abortion. You can follow her @CynthiaGreenlee.
Hobby Lobby Ruling Opens the Door to Method Discrimination for Black Women, The Root, June 2014.
Dear Thom Tillis: How Long Does It Take for a Black Person to Become a Traditional North Carolinian?, The American Prospect, June 2014.
Collective Memory Runs Deep: A Southern Reflection on the Voting Rights Act Decision, Ochberg Society for Trauma Journalism, July 2013.
Elizabeth Dawes Gay
Elizabeth Dawes Gay believes that health is a human right and has devoted her life's work to helping create a world where all people have the necessary tools, resources, and opportunities to live well and healthy lives. She has a particular passion for maternal, reproductive, and sexual well-being.
Elizabeth works as a reproductive health, rights, and justice advocate in Washington, DC. She is also an active member of the Women's Information Network and served as co-chair of both the Women's Health Policy and Women of Color sub-networks where, among other activities, she helped plan and implement the network's first political leadership training to address issues specific to women of color. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @edawesgay. Learn more about her work at elizabethdawesgay.com.
How the Hobby Lobby Decision Impacts Black Women, EBONY.com, June 2014.
Do We Love Black Mothers Enough?, Huffington Post, May 2014.
Stress Kills: Economic Insecurity and Black Women's Maternal Health Outcomes, RH Reality Check, March 2014.
What YOU Need to Know About Emergency Contraception, EBONY.com, February 2014.
Emma Akpan works for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic in Raleigh, North Carolina, as the Triangle Field Organizer. Last year, Emma participated in the Moral Monday protests at the state capitol, offering a closing prayer on Reproductive Rights Advocacy Day. Emma has a master’s degree in divinity from Duke University. She serves on the board of NC Women United as well as the Resource Center for Women in Ministry in the South. In her free time, Emma likes running and starting book clubs. She doesn't believe a nice day should be wasted inside, and time shouldn't be wasted eating bad food.
Gloria Malone is an outspoken and unapologetic proud teenage mother and advocate in New York City. She has been featured in major news publications like the New York Times and on the O'Reily Factor discussing teenage pregnancy prevention through comprehensive sex education and supporting teenage families, not abstinence only sex education and stigma.
Politics, policy, and people are her passions and she hopes to further pursue them with her public affairs degree from Baruch College. Gloria also writes for several online publications and blogs regularly on her personal blog teenmomnyc.com and realteenagefamilies.tumblr.com you can follow her on Twitter @gloriamalone.
Gloria Malone Dispels the Myth of the #NiceGentrifier, Strong Families Blog, July 2014.
Lack of Support Structures Creates Impossible Decisions, Huffington Post, April 2014.
Teen Moms Win Too: Why I'm Glad I Had My Daughter at 15, Vitamin W, March 2014.
Jasmine Burnett is a national organizer, writer and strategist in the Reproductive Justice movement. She currently serves as the Field Director with New Voices Women of Color for Reproductive Justice where her focus is leading and expanding their work in the "Rustbelt Region," which is home to the most politically volatile and racially conservative Northern states. She accomplishes this work through supporting Black women, women of color, and LGBTQ people of color with leadership development, policy advocacy and community organizing on issues that address health care provision, reproductive health access as well as systemic and environmental factors that impact the lives, body and labor of Black women and girls.
As a national organizer she has organized successful grassroots campaigns in New York City through SisterSong NYC and the New York Coalition for Reproductive Justice leading a grassroots women of color coalitions and rapid response campaigns on racist billboard ads and legislation shaming Black women's lives and reproductive decisions. As a founding member of the Trust Black Women partnership, she wrote and narrated the film, "We Always Resist: Trust Black Women," the first film of its kind that examines the critical intersections of race, gender, class and the ways in which they exacerbate abortion stigma, and limits access in the African American community. As a writer and collaborator with Echoing Ida, Jasmine’s writing centers the voices and experiences of Black women and girls leadership in their families, lives and communities and the very real and transformative impact those have on our society.
In 2012, she received the "Women of Vision" Award presented by the Ms. Foundation for Women, and was also honored as a "Champion for Choice" by the New York Abortion Access Fund. Recently, she was honored by Planned Parenthood Action Fund as a "Doer" as one of their 99 Dream Keepers. Jasmine received her B.A. of History and African American Studies from Purdue University. She also completed graduate coursework at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University where she received a scholarship to study abroad at the University of Bologna in Bologna, Italy and the University of Kwa Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa.
Follow Jasmine on Twitter at @BlkFeminst.
The Real Work of Rosa Parks: Not Just Refusing to Move to the Back of the Bus, But Combating Sexual Violence, RH Reality Check, August 2013.
The Brutal Lust of the "Jigaboo" Fantasy "Mammyfied" Through Fashion, RH Reality Check, October 2012.
Jazmine is a big fine woman who specializes in reproductive justice and agricultural economic development. Her dedication to public scholarship and activism is driven by a passion to amplify feminist and reproductive justice discourse around black women and girls, especially those in Mississippi and the broader South. You can also find her blogging at Still Furious & Brave and strengthening southern leadership and organizational capacities at Jazmine Walker Consulting.
Follow Jazmine on Twitter at @JAZonyaMINE.
The Politics of Fat and Emergency Contraception, RH Reality Check, December 2013.
The 50th Anniversary of Mississippi's Freedom Summer: Remembering What Fannie Lou Hamer Taught Us, RH Reality Check, June 2014.
Saving the Boobies Will Not Save Me, RH Reality Check, October 2012.
Malika Redmond is a Black feminist researcher, writer, and human rights advocate bringing 15 years of leadership experience both nationally and internationally with organizations such as the International Black Youth Summit, Political Research Associates, Choice USA, National Center for Human Rights Education, and Spelman College Women's Research and Resource Center developing and managing projects that focus on reproductive justice and LGBT rights for communities of color.
Redmond was one of the youngest national field organizers for the 2004 March for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C, an event that brought nearly 1 million participants to the National Mall and is considered one of the largest marches in U.S. history. She currently sits on the boards of Our Bodies Ourselves and SisterSong, and her writings are featured in RH Reality Check, Truthout, The Women's Health Activist, and AlterNet. She holds a B.A. from Spelman College and a M.A. from Georgia State University in Women's Studies. Follow Malika on Twitter at @MalikaRedmond.
Improving Health Equity in Georgia, The Atlanta Voice, February 2014.
The Right's Attack on Roe at 40: The Hyde and Helms Legacy, Truthout, January 2013.
Quita Tinsley is a self-described “city girl with small town roots.” As a femme, feminist, and woman of color, she believes in the power of storytelling and validation of lived experiences. At SPARK, Quita has written on the importance of closing the coverage gap for Black youth, which was subsequently quoted in the Cornell Policy Review, and has contributed to a write-up of the Strong Families’ Mama’s Day campaign published on Ebony.com. She is also a content creator for the The Body Is Not An Apology, “an international movement committed to cultivating global Radical Self Love and Body Empowerment”.
Quita currently serves as the Youth Activist Network Organizer at SPARK, where she hopes to continue fighting oppression and uplifting the voices of silenced and marginalized young queer and trans folks. She holds a B.A. in Journalism with a minor in Sociology from Georgia State University (GSU).
Renee Bracey Sherman
Renee Bracey Sherman is a reproductive justice activist who shares her own abortion experience to encourage others who have had abortions to speak out and end the silence and stigma. Renee is the author of Saying Abortion Aloud: Research and Recommendations for Public Abortion Storytellers and Organizations. Renee's work has been featured on BBC Radio World Newshour, The Guardian, EBONY, Salon, Fusion, TIME, The Atlantic, RH Reality Check, and Feministing.com. In 2013, Renee received the Justice Award by ACCESS Women’s Health Justice for her volunteerism housing and giving rides to women traveling 4-5 hours for their abortions. Previously, Renee worked with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied youth as they shared their stories to California policymakers to pass landmark anti-bullying, gender identity, and LGBT history legislation. Renee holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and sociology from Northeastern Illinois University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration from Cornell University. She sits on the board of directors of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation.
Follow Renee on Twitter at @rbraceysherman.
Roe Under Attack: Why Telling Abortion Stories Is Necessary, EBONY, January 2015
Whitewashing reproductive rights: How black activists get erased, Salon, February 2014
Let’s Use Our Abortion Stories to Push Policy Reforms in 2015, RH Reality Check, January 2015
How to Listen When a Loved One Says, "I Had An Abortion", EBONY, January 2014
Ruth Jeannoel is a mother, wife and a lead organizer with the Power U Center for Social change in Miami, FL. Ruth was born and raised in Cambridge, MA by her Haitian mom who emphasized education in her life. Ruth studied Social Thought-Political Economy & Women's studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where she built her political consciousness and got involved in on campus organizing.
As a breast feeding mother, parent and black women Reproductive Justice is central to Ruth's daily life through both her personal and organizing work. She continues her organizing work in spaces were it relates to uplifting the stories of black and brown youth voices against the school to Prison Pipeline and highlighting the gender justice components around school push out.
Ruth is a believer in the personal being political and has a strong commitment to developing new leaders to fight for the sake of black liberation and self-determination.
Samantha Daley is a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Her major of study was Biomedical Sciences and Health Sciences with a minor in Women's Studies. Currently Samantha serves as a health educator full time and works with adolescent girls for an Evidenced based Safer Sex program. Samantha has helped perform research on bullying and harassment in middle schools, and currently is the Alumni board member of the Women and Gender Studies Program at the University of Central Florida. Samantha is passionate about all things surrounding reproductive justice, and one day hopes to open up a women's clinic and provide programming for girls on issues of sexual and reproductive health as well as leadership.
In participating as a Choice USA blogger, she has been able to share her points of view on a number of issues. Samantha has helped perform research on bullying and harassment in middle schools, and also volunteers at The Inspiration Family Birth Center in Winter Park Florida. Samantha is passionate about all things surrounding reproductive justice, and one day hopes to open up a women's clinic.
Lessons From the Kitchen, Strong Families Blog, April 2014.
Shanelle Matthews is an award-winning communications strategist with eight years of experience in journalism, legislative, litigation, rapid response, and campaign communications. She formerly worked as a strategist for the ACLU and Forward Together where she engineered the development, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive strategic communications plans aimed at internally and externally communicating the organizations goals. She believes in using communications both as a tool for social change and to win. As an alumna of Progressive Women’s Voices, the Women’s Media Center’s premier media and leadership training program for women, Shanelle has executed her training as a spokesperson in outlets like Al Jazeera and NPR. Her writing can be found in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Ebony Magazine, The Root (Washington Post affiliate), Women’s eNews, Women’s Media Center, Colorlines, and ClutchMagazine among others. She holds a degree in Journalism and New and Online Media from the Manship School of Mass Communications at Louisiana State University. She is a lover of cheese, Miles Davis, and full-bodied Spanish wines. She lives and plays in Oakland.
Follow Shanelle on Twitter at @TheShanelleM.
When Sexual Harassment is on the Menu, EBONY.com, June 2014.
Enough is Enough: Poor Women Are Not Having Babies for Money, RH Reality Check, May 2014.
Is "Orange Is the New Black" Entertainment or Education?, The Frisky, August 2013.
The Story That's Taken 10 Years to Tell, Crunk Feminists Collective, May 2013.
Shantae Johnson has gained a solid background in community organizing. She began her humble beginnings as an International Center for Traditional Childbearing Full Circle Doula and ICTC Oregon State representative 10 years ago , which fueled her love for maternal and child health. She is a graduate of Portland State University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Science.
Shantae has worked at WIC as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for the past 3 ½ years, and helped to create Oregon’s first African American Breastfeeding group during her time there. She is a Healthy Birth Initiative mom alumni and served as HBI Consortium Chair.
She helped to advocate for community health care workers by sitting on the Traditional Community Health Care workers steering committee through Oregon Health Authority. Member of ORCHWA Oregon Community Health Care Workers Association, member of MCHD CHW coordination team, currently a CHW Research Intern.
Participated in the Braave (Building Reproductive Autonomy and Voices for Equity) reproductive justice co-hort, Former Board member of Backline and a member of the African American Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon.
Shantae is very passionate about public health, social justice and, engaging the community in regards to eliminating health disparities and inequities. She is currently working for Multnomah County Health Department Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program The REACH program is looking to end health inequalities in chronic diseases for African American’s in Multnomah County.
She enjoys taking a 5 minute shower by herself in her spare time, writing when she has a free moment, camping, hiking, and having dance battles with my kiddos in the living room.
At the end of the day she is a parent, healer, chef and referee to 6 beautiful children.
Taja Lindley is a courageous, truth-telling creature. An unapologetically proud queer femme feminist. Daughter of a single mother. Eldest of three sisters. Committed to the wellness, creativity and reproductive justice of women and girls of color.
An 80's baby born in New York and raised in the South, she currently lives in Brooklyn. In 2007 she received her B.A. from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she designed her own major concentrating in public policy and knowledge production with a focus on health and women of color. For the past 11 years she has worked in non-profits, research institutes, and government on policies and programming that impact women and girls, communities of color, low/no/fixed-income families, queer people, youth and immigrants.
She is the founder and Managing Member of Colored Girls Hustle, LLC, an Associate Artist with Body Ecology Performance Ensemble, a full-spectrum doula with The Doula Project and a proud member of Echoing Ida.
Her writing has appeared on RH Reality Check, Feministe and Racialicious. You can follow her on twitter @tajalindley.
Exam Rooms and Bedrooms: Navigating Queer Sexual Health, RH Reality Check, March 2014.
One of New York's 2.7 Million Uninsured Asks: Will I Finally Be Able to Afford Health Insurance?, RH Reality Check, September 2013.
Pleasure Politics Part I: Employment, Economic Justice, and the Erotic, Feministe, June 2013.
As of May 1, 2015, Yamani is the Executive Director of the National Network of Abortion Funds. Yamani has been a tireless leader and spokesperson in the Reproductive Justice movement, making appearances on MSNBC Shift with Krystal Ball and sharing her story as part of the 1 in 3 Campaign. As Executive Director and spokesperson for the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Yamani has written articles and been heavily quoted on abortion access for young people in RH Reality Check, Progress Illinois, The Reader, Ebony and The Nation. She was awarded the 2012 Margaret Carr Wiley Bright Horizons Award by Planned Parenthood of Illinois, honored as an AmeriCorps National Alumni Leader, and presented with the Visionary Leader Award in 2012 by her own staff. Yamani has been a proud member of the Strong Families leadership team, and she recently became a writer for Echoing Ida, a program of Forward Together that supports the leadership and amplifies the voices of Black women.
More broadly, Yamani is a staunch advocate for the equity and self-determination and empowerment of all people, including youth. She has over a fifteen years of experience working from an asset based approach in program design, implementation, management and evaluation in non-profit organizations and public institutions in Chicago She holds a B.S. from Cornell University where she independently studied the intersections of politics and place and an M.Arch from University of Washington where she studied and developed a framework for activist architectural practice. Outside of school, she has studied leadership, community organizing, social entrepreneurship and non-violent communication. Throughout her inter-disciplinary work history, she has worked with diverse populations of people ranging from girls and women who are homeless to men who are incarcerated in maximum-security prisons, on topics ranging from art and culture to personal and community development, social change, work-force development, civic participation and philanthropy. She firmly believes in the inter-related nature of social justice issues and uses both a creative and analytical skill set to tackle some of the most critical challenges of our time.
Yamani lives in Chicago where she co-parents her 14- and 9-year-old children. In her spare time she runs, practices yoga and volunteers as a provisionally certified ICTC doula with Chicago Volunteer Doulas.