Our coalition was first formed in 2012 as an idea brought to life under the leadership of Rebecca Terrell, Executive Director of CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health. Leaders from across the state came together to affirm the need of a statewide coalition that would bring progressive organizations and people together who understood that full rights and equality of reproductive freedom and sexual health is imperative to people’s ability to have full autonomy over their lives.
Since then HFTN has grown into a strong and respected force within our state, and we’re incredibly grateful to all who have been leaders within our coalition. We’re excited to announce a big transition in leadership. Read more to hear from staff themselves.
From Allison Glass, State Director: I am so incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with HFTN for the past 4 years. I was the first staff person with the coalition at a mere 10 hours a week when I first came on board. We grew quickly with the Amendment 1 campaign and have been moving full speed ahead ever since. I connected deeply with the vision of building a statewide movement for which would encompass those who care about abortion access along with advocates who want to expand birth options and lower barriers to compassionate care, expanding and protecting sexual health within the LGBTQ community, and fighting against the criminalization of our bodies and our lives. I am so proud of the coalition we’ve built; the organizational and individual partners who have joined to say that we know we are more powerful united and that we will come together and fight together for all of our rights, with no one being left behind.
I have learned and grown alongside HFTN, and I feel so privileged to have been a part of a movement and community that has the courage to move towards the challenges and growth that working in coalition necessitates in a deep red state. I am incredibly excited to announce that Briana Perry and Anna Carella will be coming onboard as Co-State Directors as I transition out of my staff role with HFTN. I have no doubt that they will lead the coalition even further along the path towards liberation. While my family is relocating out of Tennessee this summer, my heart will always be here in TN and with all of you who are doing this important work. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity and for building alongside me, and I look forward to being HFTN’s biggest supporter from Atlanta.
From Dana Asbury, former West TN State Organizer: I’ve been so privileged to enter and learn the work of reproductive freedom and sexual health advocacy in Tennessee and as a part of HFTN. I learned in real time the power of cross state collaboration. The whole state was my office and I got to work everyday with people I love. I got to watch resilient folks build and rebuild community spaces and safety nets. I was graciously welcomed to take part in that visioning and building and rebuilding too. I got to join hands and voices and actions with so many of you when our lawmakers and institutions either refused to represent us or actively tried to hurt us, our families, and our rights and access to decision making over our own bodies. I learned that we win when we strategically organize our power. I’m grateful for these lessons and experiences and am so proud to have been a part of this work in this way. I’ve had to physically leave Tennessee to be with family elsewhere but my commitments to Tennessee haven’t and won’t ever leave. I’m so excited to see how HFTN will morph and grow under the leadership of Briana and Anna and all the awesome people who will keep doing the work and joining in. Onward with much much love.
About Briana and Anna:
Briana is a native Memphian. She moved to Nashville in 2009 to attend college at Vanderbilt where she majored in Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies. She recently obtained her Master of Education in Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Before completing her master’s degree, Briana moved back to Memphis to teach for two years. It was during this time period that she began doing work with HFTN around the Fetal Assault Law and the Vote No on 1 Campaign. Briana was able to bring her interest in Black feminism to the work, especially her salient interest in issues that affect Black mothers. Briana serves on the coordinating committee for the Official Black Lives Matter Memphis Chapter and on the steering committees for HFTN and the Nashville Feminist Collective. She is excited about transitioning into Co-Director of HFTN, and she feels that her passion for reproductive justice and examining issues through an intersectional lens will aid in expanding the work of HFTN.
Anna has been proud to call Nashville home since 2009. She’s a Ph.D. candidate at Vanderbilt in Political Science with a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. She became interested in community organizing while working overseas, inspired by international human rights activists who connect local advocacy to global justice and vice versa. She has lived and worked in France, Senegal, Bangladesh, Rwanda, and Afghanistan. She began working on reproductive freedom in Tennessee during the Vote No on 1 campaign and has been involved with feminist organizing ever since, including the fight against the Fetal Assault law. She led successful lobbying efforts for Advocates for Women's and Kids’ Equality (AWAKE) reducing sentences for HIV+ sex workers and strengthening legal protections for victims of domestic violence. She was a founding member of the Nashville chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) and the Nashville Feminist Collective. She is eager do statewide work as Co-Director of Healthy and Free and is looking forward to growing and deepening relationships with members and coalition partners.
The HFTN Team