A Message From Lift's Co-ED, Lakeesha Harris
The last six months have been a whirlwind of movement building and growth opportunities for leaders in Reproductive Justice, Rights, and Health. At the falling of Roe, which we have all anticipated in some capacity in the deep south and around the nation, I transitioned in as Co-Executive Director with Lift Louisiana, partnering with my longtime friend and comrade Michelle Erenberg in an effort to strategize on a way forward. I want to provide some brief highlights of my very productive time thus far with Lift Louisiana.
Since June, I have:
- Organized a Multistate Campaign Called The Freedom Rides, Bringing Visibility to The Difficulty of Traveling for Abortion Acccess and Trans Healthcare Needs
- Organized and Helped Develop Lift’s 2023 Short-term Strategic Plan
- Assisted in Recruiting and Training New Board Members
- Provided Strategy and Resources for Lift’s Long-term Strategic Plan and Organizational Assessment
- Developed and Rebuilt the MyLASexEd Campaign Strategy (watch this space!)
- Developed Program Strategy and Vision
Additionally, with the assistance of our Communications Team, Michelle and I have bolstered Lift’s profile via national and international media engagement. Due, in part, to these forward facing media strategies, Lift’s analysis is sought after at key policy and strategy tables such as NASTAD and Harvard Law School. Below are a few of the features that I’m referencing:
- WJTV - Decriminalize State Abortion Laws - July 8
- New York Times - The Daily - August 11
- Chicago Sun-Times, Elvia Malagon, “Southern abortion rights advocates arrive in Chicago for ‘Black August Freedom Rides’” - August 17
- Nola.com, Sam Karlin, “New Orleans police are told to investigate abortion but not enforce Louisiana's ban” - August 18
- WBEZ Chicago, Natalie Moore, “Freedom Rides bring reproductive rights activists to Chicago” - August 18
With Lift Louisiana deeply embedded in such a sound way forward, I have decided to accept a new position and will be stepping down as Co-Executive Director, effective January 1, 2023. Lift has always had solid leadership in Michelle Erenberg and will keep moving towards a Reproductive Justice future, by growing its program leadership in 2023.
As I step into my new position as Executive Director of Chicago Volunteer Doulas, and work to build a birth center on Chicago’s south side as a board member of Chicago South Side Birth Center, I carry the life lessons I’ve learned organizing in the deep south for the last several years. They are, in-fact rooted in a Healing Justice praxis, and aligned with the medicine that I migrated from Chicago carrying as a Reproductive Justice leader; Keep your people close, stay ready so you don’t have to get ready, and always carry your mission and medicine with you - we are first our own healers!
Onward and towards a more inclusive Reproductive Justice Future.
Co-Executive Director , Lift Louisiana