YWA 2017 Finalists: Reproductive Justice & Women’s Rights
A woman who promotes the pro-choice values of WIN through their work in reproductive justice and women’s rights. Nominees in this category advocate on behalf of woman’s right to choose in their personal or professional life.
Erin Carhart is the Manager of Youth Organizing and Engagement at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She first joined the Planned Parenthood family in 2011 when she began organizing in her local community for proactive reproductive health policy change. Erin has been organizing alongside young people throughout her personal and professional career seeking an intersectional movement that reflects all experiences of young people. Her commitment to centering young people and those most impacted has been at the core of all of her work especially in developing the best and brightest new leaders for this movement. Prior to working with Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Erin worked as a Project Manager for Home Headquarters and Syracuse Model Neighborhood ensuring access to affordable housing and assisted the Bureau of Research in the City of Syracuse in various projects. In addition, Erin has spoken at many colleges/universities and conferences on a range of topics including reproductive rights, LGBTQ justice, economic and housing justice, the impacts of policy change, and more. Erin graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in policy studies and women’s and gender studies. In her free time, you can find Erin in the pottery studio, snuggling her fur-babies, and traveling the world with her wife, Diana.
Chitra Panjabi is President & CEO of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) where she advances SIECUS’ efforts to reshape social, cultural and political narratives around sex, sexuality, and sexual and reproductive health. Leading with an intersectional vision, she is spearheading SIECUS’ work of addressing the impact of sexual stigma and shame on individuals across age, race, gender, gender identity and expression, class, sexual orientation and ability; advocating for comprehensive sexuality education in public schools across the country; and affirming that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one worthy of dignity and respect.
Chitra, a feminist activist with a professional background in nonprofit management and fundraising, has previously served as a national executive officer (Vice President Membership) for the National Organization for Women (NOW) where she was responsible for managing operations, communications, fundraising, and membership engagement. Under her tenure, Chitra increased NOW’s membership by nearly a third in a single year, led the most successful end-of-year online campaign in the organization’s history, and implemented multi-year strategic planning to execute NOW’s extensive policy agenda. Chitra has also held roles at The Women’s Foundation in Hong Kong, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), and the National Woman’s Party at Sewall-Belmont House & Museum in Washington, DC (now known as the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument).
A WIN member since 2008, Chitra has previously served as the Advisory Council Director on the 2015-2016 WIN Executive Committee and currently serves on the Board of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Foundation. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from King’s College London, a Master’s degree in International Journalism from City University, London and a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies from The George Washington University. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she spent her formative years in Asia and another five years in London before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2008. She lives in Arlington, VA with her husband, Pete, and adorable dog, Izzy.
Renee Bracey Sherman
Renee Bracey Sherman is a reproductive justice activist committed to the visibility and representation of people who have had abortions in media and pop culture. Renee is a member of Echoing Ida, a Black women’s writing collective and project of Forward Together, and an expert on personal abortion storytelling. Her work has been featured on BBC, The Guardian, The Washington Post, EBONY, Salon, Fusion, TIME, The Atlantic, and many others. In 2014, Renee authored Saying Abortion Aloud, a guide to abortion storytelling, and in 2015 she co-authored Speak Up & Stay Safe(r), a multi-lingual digital guide on handling online harassment. In 2015, she was named one of Planned Parenthood’s 99 Dream Keepers in honor of Black History Month, and last month Colorlines named her one of 16 women of color who made history in 2016. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics and sociology from Northeastern Illinois University and a Master’s degree in public administration from Cornell University. Currently, Renee is the Senior Public Affairs Manager at the National Network of Abortion Funds where she runs We Testify, an abortion storyteller leadership program that supports people who’ve had abortions in sharing their stories at the intersections of race, class, and gender. Renee also sits on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Lindsey Wahowiak is a health writer and advocate based in Washington, D.C. For more than a decade, she has been a leader in reporting on the intersections of health and disparities. She’s senior editor of The Nation’s Health at the American Public Health Association, where she has led award-winning coverage of a variety of public health issues, including reproductive justice, minority mental health, salon workers’ rights and head injury prevention. She is also a freelance health writer. Lindsey has served as the volunteer manager on the DC Abortion Fund’s board of directors since 2014. In her time on the board, she has grown the volunteer base from 65 to more than 300 and instituted its first mentoring program.