In Healthy and Free TN’s second year of our statewide Youth Leadership Council (YLC), council members participated in and/or organized over 25 events across the state. Examples of events include a best practices for youth organizing panel at Healthy and Free TN’s first annual statewide convening where a YLC member served as a panelist; a youth organizing workshop at the 2017 Women’s March 2.0 in Nashville in which a YLC member spearheaded the workshop and 3 other YLC members led portions of the workshop; and the Out in Front LGBTQIA+ college conference at Vanderbilt where a YLC member coordinated and led a workshop on reproductive health and rights for women of color. Two YLC members organized an Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign production at Vanderbilt that garnered 80 attendees; attendees included Vanderbilt students and community members. This was the first student-led event at Vanderbilt, as far back as anyone on staff could remember, that explicitly discussed abortion. A YLC member was invited by a Black sorority to present on Black women’s experiences with reproductive health at an event on health for women. YLC members supported and attended Healthy and Free TN’s Lobby Day and attended the Take Root Conference in Oklahoma. A YLC member represented the Council at Sex Week at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville at a tabling event. YLC members also attended screenings of Death by Delivery, a documentary film that examines the rising maternal mortality rate in the U.S., particularly the staggering mortality rate of Black mothers, that HFTN hosted across the state. These screenings were part of the first-ever Black Maternal Health Week. A YLC member coordinated Bowl-A-Thon: Strike Out the Patriarchy, a fundraiser for CHOICES’ Patients Assistance Fund that helps hundreds of people access abortion services. Over $4,000 was raised through the fundraiser. This year's cohort created social media accounts including Facebook & Instagram and YLC members signed up each week to post content on the pages.
The 2017-2018 Youth Leadership Council also hosted a youth summit on reproductive health, rights, and justice for young people ages 15-25 in Memphis on July 7, 2018. The goal of the summit was to share information on an array of topics affecting young people including birth control options, combatting rape culture, and healthy relationships, as well as provide tangible ways for people to become involved in reproductive health, rights, and justice work in Tennessee. Registration was free and breakfast and lunch were provided.
"Gateway to Liberation: Your Body, Your Rights, Your Life"
Saturday, July 7th 2018
Location: Planned Parenthood, 2430 Poplar Ave. Memphis, TN 38112
Keynote speaker: Tami Sawyer, Social Justice Activist and Leader of #TakeEmDown901
Facebook event here.
Breakfast: 8:30-9:00 AM
Welcome/Opening Remarks: 9:00-9:15 AM
Workshop 1: 9:15-10:15 AM
Birth Control 101
Lorraine Stigar, Health Educator
Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi
Workshop 2: 10:15-11:15 AM
Rape Culture on College Campuses/What is Rape Culture
Sarah Jordan Welch, Prevention Educator and Victim Resource Specialist
Project Safe Center, Vanderbilt University
Break: 11:15-11:30 AM
Workshop 3: 11:30 AM-12:15 PM
Julia Reticker-Flynn, Director, Youth Organizing
Advocates for Youth
Senior Manager, Youth Activist Network
Advocates for Youth
Lunch/Keynote: 12:15-1:15 PM
Workshop 4: 1:15-2:00 PM
Supporting LGBT Youth
Stephanie Bell, Youth Services Specialist
Break 2:00-2:15 PM
Workshop 5: 2:15-3:15 PM
My Name Isn’t… Hypersexualization & Sexual Harassment
Sydney Kesler & Terri Conley
Youth Leadership Council
Workshop 6: 3:15-4:15 PM
Building and Sustaining Healthy Relationships
Elisabeth Bradner, Director of Education
Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi
Closing: 4:15-4:45 PM
2017-2018 YLC Cohort Members
Kenzie Butera is originally from Nolensville, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville. She is currently a junior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga working towards a degree in Women's Studies and Entrepreneurship. Chattanooga is a beautiful place to hike, raft, trail run, etc., all things she really enjoys. Kenzie has many professional role models, but the first that comes to her mind is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Adichie is a feminist author and speaker who wrote a beautiful speech entitled "We Should AllBe Feminists" which served as one of Kenzie's first interactions with feminism and inspired her to debunk myths about how the feminist movement is perceived. She aspires to be a social entrepreneur and venture capitalist. To achieve these goals, she is currently developing a sex education curriculum for her honors thesis which she plans to license out as well. She is developing two curriculums with the help of her mentors at The Company Lab in Chattanooga that address gender biases in the process of gaining capital investment. Kenzie is passionate about reproductive and abortion rights because she believes that women deserve to have control over their lives and their future.
Bailea Coleman is from Memphis and is a senior Anthropology and Spanish major at the University of Memphis. They were honored in 2017 with the Young Volunteer of the Year award from Planned Parenthood-Greater Memphis Region and served as an Advocacy Intern for three semesters. Bailea is a Patient Educator at CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, is an abortion doula, and is in the process of completing certification as a birth doula through the Madriella Doula Network. They are currently serving as the Support Director for the Memphis Full Spectrum Doula Collective. Bailea's pronouns are they/them.
Terri Conley is a proud Memphis native. She recently received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Christian Brothers University. She is so excited to be a part of this year’s Healthy and Free Tennessee’s Youth Leadership Council. She is looking forward to working with like-minded people who are just as passionate about reproductive justice as well as the de-stigmatization of abortion. Terri also hopes to gain more knowledge in community organizing and continue to build stronger relationships through her work with Healthy and Free TN.
Milo Curd is 21 years old and is from Knoxville, Tennessee. He attends Full Sail University as a Music Engineering major. Milo is a youth ambassador for the Trans Empowerment Project in addition to being a member of the Youth Leadership Council. He is a passionate advocate for sexual health and reproductive rights and is excited to make a change and difference in his community and all around the world.
Malik D. Hollingsworth was raised in Memphis, TN and is currently a 5th year senior at Vanderbilt University studying Women's and Gender Studies. He has been involved with sex education work on campus for 3 years, and he has come to love it and make it an integral part of his daily life.
Sydney Kesler was raised in Knoxville TN, but currently attends the University of Memphis as an African American Studies major. In her free time, Sydney boxes and enjoys going to listen to local Memphis musicians. She is a strong believer in grassroots organizing and moving the masses of people towards liberation. Sydney is so excited to be working towards bodily autonomy with Healthy and Free Tennessee’s Youth Leadership Council.
Shawn Reilly is in their final year of study at Vanderbilt University, where they will graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Organizational Development with a focus in mentorship and education. They have worked in youth development for several years, through organizations like the Oasis Center, the Pencil Foundation, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and most recently, Mr. Bond's Science Guys. After graduation, Reilly plans to pursue further degrees in education and youth development, with a focus on informal learning centers. They enjoy working and organizing with young people and for youth communities. They are on the youth advisory board of Youth+Tech Health, working to develop technological solutions to youth health problems. They also work as the National Field Organizer for The Change Project, an arts and advocacy organization working to elevate the voices of LGBTQI folks through art. Beyond young people and education, Reilly has a special interest in succulents and air plants, insects, bugs, games, graphic novels, and their two cats, Camus and Frankenstein.
Emilia Romero, a Social Work major, was born and raised in Knoxville. She loves sweet tea and believes most problems can be solved with a new pantsuit. Her calling is advocating for social justice, and her true passion is bringing accessible resources to low income urban and rural communities. Emilia is thrilled to be a part of this year's Healthy and Free Tennessee's Youth Leadership Council and making her young voice heard!