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Reproductive Justice Symposium Highlights

Updated: Jun 3

We are still energized from "Where Do We Go From Here? A Reproductive Justice Symposium!" It was a powerful day of learning, connection, and community.

We gave the mic to grassroots leaders creating tangible change for communities across Greater Boston and Shafia Monroe, internationally renowned midwife and doula trainer — and one of Boston Women's Fund's very first grantee partners from the 80s!

Here's a photo recap of the moments that made our day.


Boston Women's Fund Executive Director, Natanja Craig Oquendo, kicking us off and reminding us all that our work in the reproductive justice movement is grounded in seeking true liberation for all.

Boston Women's Fund Board Chair, Akosua Ampofo Siever, sharing a little BWF history.

Our keynote speaker, Shafia M. Monroe, captivated the room with her journey into midwifery work, including early inspiration from the Black "Granny Midwives," how grassroots action has been integral to reproductive justice gains, and ideas for continuing the movement.

Nashira Baril, Executive Director of Neighborhood Birth Center, moderated a fireside chat and lively Q&A with Shafia Monroe. Nashira's perspective as a leader working to open Boston's first birth center alongside Shafia's decades in the reproductive justice fight made for an incredibly dynamic conversation on the movement today.

Depicted from left to right: Stephanie Crawford, Propa City Community Outreach; Julia Lotin, Melanin Mass Moms; Yaminah Romulus & Jallicia Jolly, Birth Equity & Justice MA; Natanja Craig Oquendo, Boston Women's Fund.

Our first panel of the day, "Where Do We Go From Here: A candid conversation with local grassroots leaders in reproductive justice centering challenges, systemic issues, hope, and liberation," featured grassroots leaders and BWF partners illuminating their perspectives in the movement and ideas for what's next. They also unpacked their very personal connections to the work they're doing today, along with the challenges grassroots leaders face in Boston's philanthropic landscape.

Nicole Flynt, Not Your Average Yoga Instructor, led attendees through a trauma-informed wellness session that got everybody out of their seats through stretching, breathing and mindfulness exercises, and a little laughter along the way.

From left to right: Brandon Augusto Baez, senior at Boston Community Leadership Academy; Ailson Lopes Carvalho, Program Manager, Young Man with a Plan; Emily Centeio, Director of Family Engagement, Epiphany School; Ariel Childs, Executive Director, Vital Cxns.

The final panel of the day, "What's Your Birth Story? Why Maternal Health Equity Isn’t Just About Birthing People," presented by The New Commonwealth Fund, unpacked their initiative developed in coordination with Mass General Bringham creating conversation toolkits and support for bringing audiences beyond birthing people, like young people and men, into the reproductive justice conversation.

Massachusetts State Representative, Christopher J. Worrell, honored Shafia Monroe for her outstanding impact on the midwifery movement and the Boston Women's Fund for 40 years of radical philanthropy supporting movements advocating for social and gender justice with official citation recognitions from The Commonwealth of Massachusetts!


On top of all the insights, this was truly a day of genuine connection and relationship building, uniting folks from across Greater Boston who are passionate about seeing real change in the reproductive justice movement. Boston Women's Fund is honored to have created such a space!

Check out Boston Women's Fund's Instagram and LinkedIn for video highlights!

To learn more about our 40th anniversary happenings,


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