Student delegations from seven campuses attended FMF's CHOICES Campus Leadership Program's Southern Leadership Summit in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Feminist Majority Foundation's CHOICES Campus Leadership Program held the Southern Leadership Summit: Feminist Grassroots Activism for Social Change on October 6 at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. The conference focused on how corrupt government policies at the federal, state, and local levels have failed the people of the Gulf Coast and how similar policies impact women, people of color, and the poor around the world. New Orleans was chosen as the venue for the conference because the city still remains in crisis, even two years after Hurricane Katrina.
The conference began with a welcome event with speakers Kassidy Johnson, National Campus Organizer from the Feminist Majority Foundation; Crystal Kile, Assistant Director for Programs and Projects, from the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women; and Beth Blankenship, Director, from the University of New Orleans Women's Center.
Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation and keynote speaker for the event, challenged conference attendees to get fired up about corrupt public policy and work locally to make a change. New Orleans native and President of the National Organization for Women, Kim Gandy concentrated on the ability of women voters to take the future into their own hands while expert of health, Jatrice Martel Gaiter, former President and CEO for Planned Parenthood Metropolitan Washington focused on how the health needs of women are still not being met, especially the needs of poor women.
Student activists from seven campuses from Louisiana and Alabama all came with great energy and commitment to making a difference locally, nationally and globally. Participants examined and discussed the ways in which failed governmental interventions that lead to corruption affect people of color and the poor in a gender specific context. The Southern Leadership Summit also included skill building workshops on the politics of women's health, community organizing, environmental racism, combating violence against women domestically and globally, and how to effectively stand with our sisters around the world when advocating for reproductive health and rights.
The conference was concluded with a plenary that focused on how attendees can get involved in their communities and the most important issues that are at stake for women here and worldwide.
Conference participants were from seven different colleges and universities: Delgado Community College, Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge, Loyola University, McNeese State University, Tulane University, University of New Orleans and University of Southern Alabama.
The conference was concluded with a special Ms. Magazine reception following the activities of Saturday which allowed conference attendees to meet each speaker individually and network with all who attended.
Co-sponsors of the Southern Leadership Summit included: Feminist Majority Foundation, Newcomb College Center for Research on Women, Katrina Warriors Network, University of New Orleans Women 's Center and Women's Studies Program, National Organization for Women, and Ms. Magazine.