Thursday, March 29, 2018
How do women of color create and sustain their leadership styles? Going beyond what is visible on the surface, what fuels their drive? How do they navigate the worlds they seek to change? How does their unique insight illuminate a clear path for themselves and others? The women behind the veil are the leaders, change makers and agents renovating the landscape of their communities. The panelists, Laura Jiménez, Aurea Montes-Rodriguez and Eveline Shen will outline their process and the way to forge a path for the future.
Laura Jiménez is the executive director of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ) based in Los Angeles, California. After obtaining a B.A. in Ethnic Studies from U.C. San Diego, Jiménez began her career with the National Latina Health Organization in Oakland, California where she led a girls’ mentorship program and initiated a collaboration between the organization and U.C. Berkeley to offer a class entitled, “Redefining Latina Health: Body, Mind and Spirit,” as well as an Intergenerational Conference on Latinas, Sex and Sexuality. Jiménez completed her Master’s degree in Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University and then established the same college course and conference at Hunter College in New York City. Jiménez has enjoyed a long and distinguished career with several leading women’s groups, including the Dominican Women’s Development Center in Washington Heights, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, and most recently CLRJ. Since joining CLRJ, she has been engaged in Reproductive Justice policy advocacy, community engagement and community informed research efforts.
Aurea Montes-Rodriguez is the executive vice president at Community Coalition, a social justice non-profit based in South Los Angeles. Born in Mexico but raised in South LA, Montes-Rodriguez has been a key leader in ensuring unity with the black and brown community around shared concerns such as the economy, child welfare, law enforcement issues, and education. She has worked at Community Coalition for over 20 years, where she has been responsible for building the organization’s youth programs to fight for educational equity, leading efforts to keep children in family care and out of the foster care system, helping to build organizing capacity in South Los Angeles, and leading a capital campaign to transform the organization’s headquarters in to a state of the art community hub for community organizing. Montes-Rodriguez is a co-founder of Partners for Children South LA, a multiagency initiative that seeks to improve children’s development and reduce the risk of involvement with the child welfare system. She is also a member of the Building Movement Project working to build capacity within the non-profit sector to promote social justice at the national level.
Since Eveline Shen's leadership began in 1999, Forward Together has become widely recognized for its innovative role in the Reproductive Justice Movement—working with grassroots communities; providing thought leadership; developing effective tools and resources for evaluation, training, and documentation; and organizing for long-term systemic change. In 2010 Shen and other leaders launched the Strong Families Initiative, which now works with over 220 organizations to change the way people think, feel and act in support of families. Shen served as principal investigator for two National Institutes of Health grants that explore the intersection between environmental justice and reproductive justice. She is a recipient of the Gerbode Fellowship, was named one of Women's eNews' 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, was awarded the 2015 San Francisco Foundation Community Leadership Award, and was awarded the Lani Shaw Award for Courage and Compassion in the Pursuit of Reproductive Justice by the Funders for Reproductive Equity in 2017. Shen holds a Master’s in Public Health from UC Berkeley in Community Health.
This conversation is part of the Behind the Veil: Women, Race, and Leadership in the Social Change Nonprofit Sector (“BTV”) speaker series. BTV explores leadership models and perspectives by harnessing the power of first person narrative and storytelling by nonprofit CEOs on the frontlines of social change.
View Video: YouTube with Behind the Veil