On July 6, 2000, forty-three young women representing forty-one college campuses nation-wide, gathered at the 4th annual Feminist Majority Leadership Institute in Arlington, Virginia to learn pro-choice organizing strategies. The intense and exciting four-day Institute involved twelve hours of workshops per day, covering topics ranging from How to Fight the Right-Wing Backlash to How to Build a Feminist Resume. The goal of the Institute is to teach young feminists valuable leadership and organizing skills that will enable them to launch Feminist Majority Leadership Alliances or to strengthen current FM Leadership Alliances on their college campuses. In addition to pro-choice organizing, students learn how to implement FMF’s Choices Campaign using the Study and Action Manual.
Students had the opportunity to immediately put study into action by organizing a pro-choice Get Out the Vote pledge drive and rally held Saturday, July 8 in front of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Together with field representatives from the Feminist Majority Foundation, participants in the Leadership Institute marched with pro-choice signs and cheers, approached pedestrians on the street and on the National Mall to sign a pledge to vote pro-choice in the November elections, and caught the attention of passing cars with a street-side burma shave that urged “Protect Abortion Access! Vote!” The highly successful event gave students hands-on experience they will use to organize similar Get Out the Pro-Choice Vote pledge drives and rallies upon their return to campus within the next couple of months.
Participants had time over the four days to share ideas and network with fellow feminist students attending the conference and with the eight Field Representatives leading the Institute. At the end of the Institute, inspired by the words of Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal and armed with skills in leadership and organizing, participants left prepared to implement feminist activism upon returning to their college campuses and to strengthen the current wave of the feminist movement.
For more information on the next Feminist Majority Leadership Institute, the Choices Campaign, or how to organize a Get Out the Pro-Choice Vote pledge drive and rally on your campus, contact a member of the Campus Team at (703) 522-2214 or email us a Campusteam@feminist.org.