As we move into 2010, all of us at PEP have been working hard to take advantage of recent organizational changes and increase our ability to raise the voices of young people around reproductive and sexual health and rights. We are excited to announce the release of our 2010 strategic plan, created collaboratively by PEP staff, Board of Directors, Young Women's Leadership Council, and designed to leverage our strengths and respond to the needs of our constituency. You can read the plan here: (link to plan) and check out our newly revised program areas here.
We're also pleased to have successfully completed the first phase of the RISE initiative. We collaborated with our RISE partners to host 8 focus groups around the country exploring young people's attitudes and experiences with reproductive and sexual health, relationships, and the health care system. Keep an eye out for more exciting announcements about the next phase of RISE in the coming months.
The Young Womenís Leadership Council convened in November 2009 at the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collectiveís National Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C. After a day of orienting new Council members, reviewing the yearís projects, and creating priorities for the upcoming months, YWLC members and PEP Staff found themselves literally in the middle of the Stupak Amendment turmoil.
Council quickly mobilized to support SisterSong organizers in crafting a unified response to the proposed devastating legislation. We marched on the Hill, visited our legislators, and joined voices with our SisterSong colleagues to urge our representatives to stop the Stupak amendment and anti-immigration amendment from being included the with Houseís healthcare reform bill.
Since November, YWLC members and PEP staff have continued to be vocal in healthcare reform. Council members and staff have been back to Washington, D.C. and organized in their local communities. PEP Executive Director, Aimee Thorne-Thomsen lent her voice to the fight against the Stupak/Nelson amendments. Council has also focused internally to review meaningful youth participation on PEPís Board of Director and planning is underway for Councilís 2010 programming which includes participation at the United States Social Forum.
We plan to continue to be engaged in the health care reform debate, and you can read PEP Program Assistant Bianca Velez's take on the 'Stop Stupak' day of action here. But even as we work for comprehensive health care reform, we're turning our attention to a policy issue that greatly impacts the lives of many young people - immigration reform.
In this issue of Raise Your Voice, you'll find articles from our PEP YWLC members about the intersections of immigration, incarceration, and birthing; a personal reflection on the protests at the University of California campuses; and how you can connect with reproductive justice-based immigration advocacy organizations.
The five Council members who came on board in the fall have also brought new life to our newsletter. We are introducing two new columns: Imagining Reproductive Justice and Council Conversations. We are also bringing back the Raise Your Voice column where Council members and staff individually weigh on immigration reform. Finally, we are saying farewell to Council member, Lauren Mitchell who leaves us with Notes from a retiring Council member.