On March 1st and 2nd, more than 100 Leadership Alliance and affiliate activists from over 26 campuses in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas traveled to the FMF Los Angeles area office to participate in the first ever FMF Southwest Feminist Leadership Institute.
Keynote speaker Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers and long time feminist and labor rights leader, led a call to action, rallying the packed room of student leaders with chants of “Si Se Puede!” (Spanish for “Yes we can!”). Huerta also shared mass mobilization strategies and tips from her decades of experience organizing migrant workers across the country.
Other speakers included California pre-Roe v. Wade abortion rights pioneers, Elizabeth Canfield and Dr. Gale Anderson, as well as Mavis Leno, Chair of the Campaign to Help Afghan Women and Girls, Katherine Spillar, FMF Executive Vice President, Dr. Olga Lazin, UCLA Globalization and Feminist Studies faculty, and Nohelia Canales, 1996 Stop-Prop 209 affirmative action campaign organizer.
The Institute brought together feminists seeking to establish their own Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance at their school! The following campuses are beginning to form their founding core membership and plan on hosting first general interest meetings by the semester’s end: ANTELOPE VALLEY COLLEGE, CAL STATE-DOMINGUEZ HILLS, CLAREMONT COLLEGE, CAL POLY POMONA, CAL STATE-LONG BEACH, OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE, PITZER COLLEGE, SANTA MONICA COLLEGE, SCRIPPS COLLEGE, UC IRVINE, and UCLA. We can’t wait to hear of the activism and recruitment successes of these new groups!
FMLAs and affiliates represented at the Institute include: CERRITOS COLLEGE, CAL STATE-FULLERTON, CAL STATE-LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO STATE, CAL STATE-SACRAMENTO, FULLERTON COLLEGE, NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY, UC SAN DIEGO, UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA – RENO, USC, and the UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS – EL PASO (UTEP). UTEP FMLA leader Gabriela Montoya came all the way from El Paso, Texas by bus-take about determination!
This Institute is the first of many Leadership Alliance and campus events to take place in the new FMF conference space and made quite an impact with students. According to Colleen Lucey, core member of the up-and-coming FMLA at OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE in Los Angeles, “It really put focus into what we can do as a feminist group on campus to support reproductive rights. Plus, I networked with many activists from all over the southwest; it was an invaluable experience.”
Pictures from the event will be posted online soon – we’ll keep you posted!