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2018 Fellowship for Leaders in Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Fellows announced!

By January 18, 2018October 9th, 20193 Comments

Photo by Crystal Shaw via Unsplash

Rockwood is proud to announce the 2018 Fellowship for Leaders in Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Fellows.

This fellowship brings together 24 leaders from across the nation, an exciting cross-section of the movement that spans different strategies, demographics, and regions. It is designed to give leaders an opportunity to delve deeper into their leadership development and build stronger partnerships for a greater impact on the reproductive health, rights, and justice movement.

The 2018 Fellowship for Leaders in Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Fellows are:

Sara L. Ainsworth, Advocacy Director, Legal Voice

Sara is Advocacy Director at Legal Voice, an organization that works to advance women’s and LGBTQ rights in the five northwest states. Sara’s work has focused on civil legal protections for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and advocacy to secure the rights of all people to reproductive health and freedom. Previously, she worked for National Advocates for Pregnant Women, an organization that works to ensure the civil and human rights of pregnant people, especially those most vulnerable to state surveillance and punishment. Sara has also taught law school at Seattle University School of Law and the University of Washington School of Law, teaching courses on gender-based violence, reproductive rights and justice, and poverty law. Sara is a founder of Surge Reproductive Justice, and a board member of If When How. She is proud to be from the Pacific Northwest, and humble in her role as a mom.

Elizabeth Ona-Marie Black Bull, Administrative Program Director, Native American Community Board

Elizabeth is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Recently, she was nominated and appointed a seat on the Station Advisory Committee for the Native Public Media Board of Directors. She is certified by FEMA for emergency operation planning and managing public information. She also has several certifications under the Department of Justice in the field of domestic violence and sexual violence. She is a survivor of domestic abuse and is currently living and raising her family on the Yankton Sioux Reservation. She has been working with the Native American Community Board since 2011 and currently is the Administrative Program Director, which includes management of KDKO 89.5 FM station located in Lake Andes, South Dakota. She has been in the nonprofit sector for 10+ years and also enjoys volunteering at the local Boys and Girls Club on the Yankton Sioux Reservation.

Kelly Blanchard, President, Ibis Reproductive Health

Kelly is an expert on clinical, quantitative, and qualitative research on medication and surgical abortion, oral contraception, and HIV/STI prevention. Kelly leads the team supporting the Free The Pill campaign, a multi-year movement building effort to make birth control pills available over-the-counter in the U.S. She is published in The Lancet, American Journal of Public Health, New York Times, and the Boston Globe, among others. Before launching Ibis’s Johannesburg office in 2003, Kelly worked at the Population Council and studied traditional religion in Ghana. She lives in Somerville, MA, and recently spent her sabbatical improving her Spanish in Oaxaca, biking around Martha’s Vineyard and reading critical race theory.

Orisha A. Bowers, Programs Director, SisterReach

Orisha currently oversees the innovative and emergent programming at SisterReach, and serves as the principal investigator on the Fetal Assault Law research efforts. She is a native of Memphis who has worked in reproductive health, rights, and justice for the last 20 years. Orisha’s diverse experience in social services, nonprofit leadership, grants management, program design, and civic leadership are rooted in her commitment to the liberation and healing of all people. Her greatest accomplishment yet is being the mother of her three brilliant children, affectionately known as “The J’s.”

Renee Bracey Sherman, Senior Public Affairs Manager, National Network of Abortion Funds

Renee is a reproductive justice activist committed to the visibility and representation of people who have had abortions in media and pop culture. Renee is a member of Echoing Ida, a Black women’s writing collective and project of Forward Together. Her work has been featured on The New York Times, The Guardian, and Washington Post, and honored with a Salute to Excellence Award by the National Association of Black Journalists. In 2016, Colorlines named her one of 16 women of color who made history in 2016. Currently, Renee is the Senior Public Affairs Manager at the National Network of Abortion Funds where she runs We Testify, a leadership program for people who’ve had abortions sharing their stories at the intersections of race, class, and gender. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Cornell University.

Fabiola Carrion, Senior Attorney, National Health Law Program

Fabiola is a senior attorney at the National Health Law Program, an organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the health rights of low-income individuals. Based in Los Angeles, Fabiola works to expand access to reproductive health care services. Before joining NHeLP, Fabiola was an Advocacy Program Officer at Planned Parenthood Global, where she designed, developed, and oversaw projects on sexual and reproductive rights in Latin America. She also served as the Director of Government Relations at Planned Parenthood of New York City and as a Policy Advisor for a network of progressive state legislators and state-based advocates from across the United States. Fabiola began her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Joseph Maltese in New York’s Supreme Court, and worked for various national and international human rights organizations before and during law school. Fabiola is also the Board Vice-Chair of United for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE).

Juana Rosa Cavero, Director, California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom

With a strong commitment to reproductive justice, Juana Rosa is committed to building power for transformative change. She has dedicated her professional career and community advocacy to projects that make real improvements to people’s lives and encourage long-term collaboration. This vision has been crafted by roles within reproductive justice, public health, Latino/a policy research, and civil rights advocacy. She gained her experience within the U.S. and globally with organizations such as the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), Pacific Institute for Women’s Health, Advancement Project, Women’s Policy Institute of California, and CoreAlign Generative Innovation Project, where she leveraged the policy advocacy process to improve health. Her passion drives her to create dynamic collaboratives driven by reproductive justice principles that seek to achieve policy change. Currently, she is Director of the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (CCRF), a statewide alliance of nearly 35 diverse organizations advancing sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice.

Laura Mariko Cheifetz, Deputy Director of Systems & Sustainability, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)

Laura is Deputy Director of Systems & Sustainability at NAPAWF where she oversees operations and grants. Prior to NAPAWF, Laura was Vice President of Church and Public Relations at the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC) in Louisville, KY; the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Forum for Theological Exploration (formerly the Fund for Theological Education) in Atlanta, GA; and Director of the Common Ground Project (formerly the Asian American Discipleship for Vocational Exploration, Nurture, and Transformation Project, or AADVENT Project) in Chicago, IL. Laura has a BA from Western Washington University, an M.Div. from McCormick Theological Seminary, and an MBA from North Park University. The fourth generation of her family to be born in California, Laura grew up in eastern Oregon and western Washington. She lives with one spouse and two rescue Shih Tzus in Decatur, GA. She loves systems, political banter, her nieces and nephews, food, and watching bad movies with friends.

Sandra Criswell, Senior Manager of Programs, CoreAlign

Sandra’s love of innovation is rooted in her experience working with red state organizers, especially folks of color and queer folks, whose creativity within constraint inspires her to explore the intersection of race, power, and innovation as the Senior Manager of Programs at CoreAlign. A recipient of the URGE Generations Leadership Award, Sandra’s past reproductive health, rights and justice work includes communications, organizing, facilitation, and leadership development for Oklahomans for Reproductive Justice, Provide, Trust Women, and Take Root, as well as serving on the board of directors for All-Options. Based in Oklahoma for 15 years, Sandra has recently returned to her childhood home of California, where she lives and works in Oakland, cooking and serving dreamy outdoor dinners to her loved ones, and training to be a Pilipinx matriarch.

Ravina Daphtary, Director of State Strategies, All* Above All

Ravina is the Director of State Strategies at All* Above All where she collaborates with state-based organizations to develop innovative strategies for abortion coverage advocacy while working to confront and help correct entrenched disparities in power. Prior to her time at All* Above All, Ravina worked in Arkansas and Mississippi, where she advocated against a number of threats to reproductive autonomy and organized youth in both states. She uses the same method for trying new strategies as she does for jumping from heights: a few fearful small steps, and then just leap and see what happens. She sits on the board of the Abortion Care Network, and holds a BS in Economics from New York University and an MA in Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Scorpio, southpaw, first gen, Hufflepuff.

Margie Del Castillo, Associate Director of Community Mobilization, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Margie is a first-generation Virginian, dedicated mother to Luna and Sherman, committed partner to Jacob, overprotective sister to Natalie and Ricky, and proud Peruvian-American daughter whose parents emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1980s. She has been an activist, organizer and advocate for social justice and human rights for over a decade, working alongside communities of color around diverse issues in Virginia and at the national level. Margie started her career as a social worker, primarily working with Spanish speaking immigrants of color and has spent time working on national campaigns to win comprehensive immigration reform. Currently, Margie serves as the Associate Director of Community Mobilization for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, where she oversees and directs the fieldwork for NLIRH, including the organizing, leadership development and grassroots advocacy efforts carried out by the Latina Advocacy Networks in Virginia, Florida, New York and Texas. Margie holds a Master of Arts degree in Women’s Studies from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Previously, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double concentration in Psychology and Women’s Studies from College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA.

Alison Dreith, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri

Alison holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Missouri and has spent the past 10 years working on reproductive health and rights. Since moving to St. Louis in 2008, Alison has worked at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition. Currently, she serves as Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, sits on the board of Missouri Family Health Council, and is Vice President of the St. Louis chapter of Empower Missouri and President of the Freedom of Choice Council. She is a 2017 graduate of Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership program and is a 2017-2018 FOCUS St. Louis Leadership St. Louis cohort member. In 2017, she was named one of the 50 Political Pros You Need to Know by The Missouri Times. Alison and her husband, Jake, live in St. Louis with their two dogs, Lola and Blue.

Andrea Ferrigno, Vice President of Growth and Innovation, Whole Woman’s Health

Andrea is Vice President of Growth and Innovation for Whole Woman’s Health and a member of the Abortion Care Network Board of Directors. Andrea double majored in English and Spanish, with a double minor in French and Political Science, from the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, TX. She began her career in reproductive healthcare 18 years ago in the Rio Grande Valley, and in 2004 joined Whole Woman’s Health where she works across silos; from growth and acquisitions to regulatory compliance, advocacy, and direct patient care. This work has allowed her to experience first-hand the impacts of restrictive abortion laws across the country. In 2013 she was an expert witness in the case against the Texas HB2 -PPGT and Whole Woman’s Health, et al., vs. Abbott, and in 2016 brought her testimony and women’s stories to the Supreme Court of the United States during the hearing of Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt.

Liza Fuentes, Senior Research Scientist, Guttmacher Institute

Liza Fuentes is a Senior Research Scientist at Guttmacher Institute. Her research has focused on access to contraception, the evaluation of abortion restrictions, and clinical training in reproductive health. Previously she was a senior project manager at Ibis Reproductive Health, where she worked on research regarding miscarriage management, self-managed abortion, and the evaluation of HB 2, a restrictive Texas abortion law, part of which was successfully challenged in the Supreme Court decision Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. She has also been an organizer and researcher at National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, where she conducted qualitative research and policy analyses on the implications of immigration and health policies on Latina, immigrant, and adolescent reproductive health. She holds public health degrees from Columbia University and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.

Amber Garcia, Field and Advocacy Manager, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity & Reproductive Rights (COLOR)

Amber is the Field and Advocacy Manager at the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR). She studied Ethnic Studies and Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science at the University of Colorado Denver. For the last five years, Amber has run grassroots voter engagement, community advocacy, and youth leadership development programs through a reproductive justice framework to mobilize the Latinx community in Denver. During her time in college, she educated and organized students on campus and in the community to get engaged in electoral politics and the legislative process. Her work in the broader social justice movement includes working with community partners on policies to provide drivers’ licenses for undocumented folx, and increasing the minimum wage for all Coloradans. Amber is passionate about young people and would love to see more women of color hold political office.


Deon Haywood, Executive Director, Women With A Vision

Deon is a southern black queer woman, an activist warrior, a mother and grandmother, and a breast cancer survivor. As the Executive Director of Women With A Vision (WWAV) in New Orleans, she led the organization after Hurricane Katrina in successfully striking down a “crime against nature” statute being used to criminalize street-based sex work, thereby securing the removal of more than 800 people from the Louisiana sex offender registry. Deon has served as a representative from the U.S. South to the Front Line Defenders Dublin Platform, and has testified in front of the United Nations Global Commission on HIV and the Law. In recognition of her more than two decades of leadership at the intersection of HIV/AIDS, harm reduction, LGBTQ rights, reproductive justice, and anti-criminalization, she has been honored with numerous awards by groups across the United States, including the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and SisterSong.

Kwajelyn Jackson, Community Education & Advocacy Director, Feminist Women’s Health Center

Kwajelyn currently serves as the Community Education & Advocacy Director at Feminist Women’s Health Center (FWHC) in Atlanta, GA, where she manages volunteer engagement, leadership development, education programs, community outreach, and legislative advocacy work to improve reproductive health, rights and justice in Georgia. Since 2013, she has been committed to expanding FWHC’s statewide and national impact, and deepening community partnerships. Kwajelyn also sits on the Board of Directors for All-Options, Abortion Care Network, Soul Food Cypher, and ProGeorgia, and on the steering committees of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance and Mife Coalition. In all of her work, Kwajelyn is interested in opportunities to use a reproductive justice lens to spark dialogue, transform perspectives, develop leaders, and cultivate change. Prior to joining FWHC, she spent three years as the Program Manager for WonderRoot Community Arts Center and eight years as a Credit Risk Manager with Wachovia Bank’s Community Development Finance Group.

Katrina Maczen-Cantrell, Executive Director, Women’s Health Specialists, a Feminist Women’s Health Center of California

Respected as an agent of change, Katrina embodies a holistic vision and commitment to inclusion. For 40 years, Katrina has been active at the grassroots level in working for reproductive justice, indigenous land and resource rights, abortion and LGBT rights, environmental responsibility, and economic equality. Executive Director of Women’s Health Specialists, Katrina champions’ self-determination and access to abortion in rural Northern California, promoting self-cervical exams as a method of decolonization and liberation. She has helped to establish self-help groups in which women conducted vaginal self-exams with great enthusiasm, moving beyond the fear and reluctance that characterizes women’s negative body images to active empowerment. Cantrell has the ability to bring everyone to the table, creating a safe and stimulating space for people to find and share their voice. Katrina’s lifelong passion is learning from others and sharing their stories. While many administrators marginalize high-risk populations, Katrina identifies the community population as an expert.

Nikki Madsen, Executive Director, Abortion Care Network

Nikki was born, lives, and works in Minnesota, and has dedicated her career to ensuring reproductive freedoms in the Midwest and throughout the U.S. In 2015, Nikki became the Executive Director of Abortion Care Network. Since that time, the organization has grown five-fold with an expanded membership, staffing, and new programming specifically designed to support the well-being of Independent Abortion Care Providers. Prior to working at ACN, Nikki was the Associate Director at Pro-Choice Resources, a founding member of the National Network of Abortion Funds. As the granddaughter of a strong and fun-loving Midwestern woman who had a nearly-fatal abortion prior to Roe v. Wade, Nikki is honored to work every day to ensure that all people in need of abortion care can access the health care they need from high-quality, compassionate abortion care providers, like those who are members of Abortion Care Network.

Brittany Mostiller, Program Director, Chicago Abortion Fund

A southside of Chicago native, Brittany is passionate about centering Black women and mothers in her work. Drawing from her own life journey and vulnerability, Brittany uses her writing to elevate the lived experiences of Black women and mothers in America. She has been featured in outlets such as Teen Vogue, Cassius Life, and Vice. As the Executive Director and a former grantee of the Chicago Abortion Fund, Brittany leads local efforts to promote abortion access and reproductive freedom at the intersections of gender, race, and class. There is nothing Brittany enjoys more than dancing it out with her four daughters, and catching up on How to Get Away With Murder.

Chitra Panjabi, President & CEO, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)

Chitra is President & CEO of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), where she advances SIECUS’ efforts to reshape social, cultural, and political narratives around sex, sexuality, and sexual and reproductive health. A feminist activist with a professional background in nonprofit management and fundraising, Chitra has worked for more than a decade to advance social justice and the rights of women. She currently serves on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Foundation, working to ensure that abortion access is a reality for the people of Virginia. Chitra received her BA in Philosophy from King’s College London, MA in International Journalism from City University, London, and MA in Women’s Studies from The George Washington University. When not working for justice and equity, she likes to enjoy good food, bad TV, spending time with her family, and cuddling with her adorable puppy, Izzy.

Lisa Stern, Vice President of Medical Services, Planned Parenthood Northern California

Lisa is a nurse practitioner and historian based in San Francisco. She currently serves as Vice President of Medical Services at Planned Parenthood Northern California. Her main focus in this role is increasing the patient-centeredness of research and clinical care. Previously, Lisa served as Associate Director of Research at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and as a clinician in multiple sexual & reproductive health settings. Lisa teaches medical students at University of California, San Francisco. Lisa’s historical research focuses on the origins of the pregnancy intention construct. She has presented her findings at the North American Forum on Family Planning and the Organization of American Historians. Together with her spouse, Becca Wolff, Lisa is co-artistic director of SCOTUS Theater, an art company that brings audiences together to hear and considers U.S. Supreme Court cases. Lisa’s passions include hiking, biking, travel, and entertaining.

Edwith Theogene, Act for Women Campaign Manager, Center for Reproductive Rights

Edwith has faith in the links of all things and works to figure out how all of us, our resources, and all the pieces can be arranged so we can all live our full lives with dignity, love, and respect. She is the Act for Women Campaign Manager at the Center for Reproductive Rights. The Act for Women campaign unites organizations committed to reproductive health, rights and justice to advance the Women’s Health Protection Act as a federal policy solution to a growing national crisis in access to abortion care. She works to make the Women’s Health Protection Act and the Act for Women campaign a consistent priority for the movement. She also sits on the board of SisterReach. Edwith was born and raised in South Florida and is first generation Haitian-American. She loves TV shows from the 90’s, fried plantains, and is in a longstanding relationship with coffee.

Nik Zaleski, Cultural Strategies Consultant, Illinois Caucus of Adolescent Health & CoreAlign

Nik is a director, facilitator, playwright, and cultural activist rooted primarily in the reproductive justice movement. She is a co-founder of the FYI Performance Company, which designs participatory theater experiences about sexual health and sexual violence. Professionally, she consults on arts-based strategy for the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, CoreAlign, Arizona State University, and other organizations. Nik is an Artistic Associate for Sojourn Theater, and has directed performance for FYI, Redmoon Theatre, Northwestern University, and Erasing the Distance, where she is also a company member. She completed her undergraduate degree in Performance Studies and Gender Studies at Northwestern University, and holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies from DePaul University, which combined Public Health and Directing coursework.

Please join us in congratulating our new Fellows!


Rockwood Community Call

Cecily Rose Engelhart

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July 25 | 12 PT / 3 ET