8 Women Activists Addressing the Gap in the South – Reckon South

The South is home to the country’s most diverse peoples, landscapes and culture. We have so much to be proud of. But our governments are often stagnant, disproportionately populated by white men, and ineffective when it comes to caring for vulnerable communities.

But by keeping apart, women lead community activism and lead social welfare organizations to care for their people. People like Catherine Coleman Flowers, who did just that. Through research and activism, she has brought to light the failing water and waste sanitation infrastructure in rural areas of the South. She shed light on how the lack of proper infrastructure maintains these communities, highlighting how it affects their health and increases socio-economic disparities. (The story continues below.)

You are invited to join Reckon Abbey reporter Crain in a conversation with Catherine Coleman Flowers on Tuesday, December 1. At our final Be Better event of 2020, we’ll learn how women can be better activists in their communities. You can ask Flowers questions directly and learn from the best how to get better at activism.

Register here.

We wanted to spotlight some of the women doing activist work and leading change in their own communities.

Cherisse Scott, Tennessee, @SisterReach

Cherisse Scott is the CEO of SisterReacha reproductive justice organization that supports the reproductive autonomy of poor, rural women and adolescent girls of color.

Last year, Cherisse was the only black woman to testify against an anti-abortion bill in Tennessee and had her microphone cut off less than halfway through her testimony.

Rukia Lumumba, Mississippi, @RukiaLumumba

Rukia Lumumba is a human rights activist and the executive director of The People’s Advocacy Institute in Jackson, Mississippi. PAI lobbies for community initiatives in response to crime to prevent the systematic harm and incarceration of people of color.

Stef Bernal-Martinez, Alabama, @stefwithanfany

Stef Bernal Martinez is a photographer, abolitionist and co-founder of 1977 Books in Montgomery, Alabama, an abolitionist bookstore and community space.

Ketura Herron, Kentucky, @KeturahHerron

Keturah Herron is a juvenile justice policy strategist at the Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union. She is working to develop a policy to help end the school-to-jail pipeline in Jefferson County, Kentucky. She is also active in Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Black Lives Matter Louisville and Louisville Family Justice Advocates.

Amanda Beatriz Williams, Texas, @amandabeatrizTX

Amanda Beatriz Williams is the Executive Director of The Lilith Funda reproductive justice organization that provides financial assistance and emotional support to people who need abortions in Texas.

Janisse Ray, Georgia, @TracklessWild

Janisse Ray is an environmentalist activist and author who writes about the changing landscape of rural South Georgia.

Battle of Colette Pichon, Louisiana, @CPichonBattle

Colette Pichon Battle is a Louisiana Gulf Coast human rights and climate advocate and executive director of The Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy. GCCLP is a nonprofit law firm focused on climate justice in communities of color on the frontlines of climate change.

Jilisa Milton, Alabama

Jilisa Milton is a civil rights lawyer and racial justice activist in Alabama. She works on a project in the Black Belt that keeps children with disabilities out of the school-to-prison pipeline. She was the recipient of the Equal Justice Works 2019 Regional Public Interest Award, which honors eight law students who have demonstrated their commitment to public interest law and pro bono work.