Frequently Asked Questions About the RISE Initiative
What is the RISE Initiative?
The RISE Initiative is a program that will bring together qualitative research, leadership development, and movement-building strategies to increase the visibility and engagement of young people around reproductive justice issues. The RISE Initiative begins with bringing young people together to talk about what matters to them through a series of Young People's Leadership Alliances (Alliances) in cities throughout the country. The members of the Alliances will work with PEP and our allies to organize a Young People's Assembly on Reproductive Justice at the United States Social Forum (USSF) in 2010.
What is a Young People's Leadership Alliance?
A Young People's Leadership Alliance (Alliance) is a key part of the RISE initiative. The Alliances will be spaces for young people to come together and identify the sexual and reproductive health and rights issues that are important to them and strategize about ways to advocate for themselves.
Each Alliance will be made up of members from a community whose voice is seldom heard in the conversation about sexual and reproductive health and rights: young women of color, including indigenous women; low-income young women; and lesbian, bisexual, and queer young women, transgender and gender non-conforming young people.
How will the RISE Initiative improve the lives of young women, transgender, and gender non-conforming young people?
By demonstrating that young people have distinct needs and concerns around sexual and reproductive health and rights, we make a case for why these voices must be an integral part of policy decisions that affect them. By providing tools, training, and resources to help young people advocate for their own needs, we ensure that they are equipped to represent themselves effectively in those policy conversations.
What will Alliance partner organizations do?
Each Alliance will partner with a local organization or group that will provide support for the Alliance meetings and work with PEP to recruit members. Partner organizations will work with PEP to establish what each organization is responsible for, depending on organizational capacity. Partner organizations will receive ongoing support from PEP to deepen and strengthen the relationships between Alliance members and partner organizations in order to raise the voices of Alliance members in local organizing work. The RISE Initiative is designed to increase partner organization's capacity to be inclusive of and accountable to young people.
Do partner organizations have to be reproductive justice organizations?
No, any organization or group that is interested in building relationships with and developing accountable programming for the Alliance community can be a partner organization. Each Alliance will focus on a different community, either young women of color, including indigenous women; low-income young women; and lesbian, bisexual, and queer young women, transgender and gender non-conforming young people.
If my organization is already organizing young people around reproductive justice issues and sexual and reproductive health and rights, can we be part of the RISE Initiative?
is committed to avoiding duplicating or competing with existing
organizing efforts. We're currently working with 8 partner organizations to conduct focus groups around the country this winter. The
results of the focus groups will help us develop the
content and agenda for the Young People's Assembly at the US Social Forum. If you
want to be involved with
planning the Assembly or are planning something else for the Social Forum and want to coordinate efforts, please email [email protected]
Who are the Alliance members?
Alliance members are young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who identify as part of the Alliance community (either young women of color, including indigenous women; low-income young women; and lesbian, bisexual, and queer young women, transgender and gender non-conforming young people)., as well as allies. Some Alliance members might be already involved in advocacy and activism, while others may be new to the movement. All Alliance members will have the opportunity to take leadership and bring their unique perspectives to the US Social Forum and the movement in general.
PEP staff and the partner organizations will work together to recruit Alliance members through existing relationships and outreach on blogs and in local media outlets.
Who will run the Alliances?
The Alliances will be facilitated by Alliance members with support from PEP and partner organization staff. All Alliance facilitators will be given a comprehensive one day training on November 9th in Washington DC and will participate in the planning of the Alliance meetings.
Do Alliance members have to attend the US Social Forum?
No, but the Alliance members are encouraged to attend, and there will be resources available for members who want to attend but don't have the economic resources to do so.
Can other organizations be part of organizing the Young People's Assembly on Reproductive Justice?
Of course! PEP is looking forward to collaborating with other organizations to create the Assembly. We recognize that there are many communities, individuals, and organizations working on reproductive justice issues with a focus on young people, and we look forward to collaborating to develop a vibrant and inclusive Assembly. Organizations can participate on the planning committee for the Assembly, which will be convened in late Fall of 2009. Allied organizations interested in participating in the planning process should contact Nora Dye ([email protected])
Why is it important to have a Young People's Assembly on Reproductive Justice at the US Social Forum?
The reproductive justice movement has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past few years, and more and more organizations and communities have embraced the reproductive justice framework. However, young people have distinct needs and concerns that aren't always represented in movement conversations about achieving reproductive justice. The Assembly will create opportunities for young people to make connections and collaborate with other activists in a non-tokenized space built and facilitated by young people and their allies.
What's the relationship between Alliances and the Young People's Assembly on Reproductive Justice at the US Social Forum?
The US Social Forum is designed to be an organizing space for movements to come together to articulate principles as well as specific political positions. The Alliances will guide and shape the creation of the Young People's Assembly by asking and answering questions about what reproductive justice issues are important to young people and what they need to achieve reproductive justice for themselves and their communities.