On May 23, 2007 Choice USA celebrated our 15th anniversary by recognizing the leadership and courage of the 2007 Generation-to-Generation Celebration awardees! Read about this amazing group below.
Leading by Example: Leadership Awards
Recipients of Leading by Example Awards demonstrate their outstanding leadership skills and helped foster further development in others.
Melody Nelson, 22, Las Vegas, NV
Commitment to Leadership Award
Melody is a Wimmin's Studies Major at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. A native of Los Angeles, California, Melody divides most of hir time in Las Vegas between school and developing new ways to facilitate discussion around reproductive issues with her group, the Pleasure Educations Resource for the Vegas VAlley (PERVV). Zhe is a black queer activist who is dedicated to eradicating all forms of homophobia and transphobia using the reproductive justice framework. Zhe is a participant in the Southwest Partnership with Choice USA and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and a graduate of Choice USA's 2006 National Gloria Steinem Leadership Institute.
Shelley Chinnan, 24, Athens, GA
Student Leader Award
Shelley is a Senior at the University of Georgia where she intends to persue a Public Interest Law degree. Over the past 3 years, Shelley has been involved in a number of community service projects, volunteer organizing, and activist projects. Shelley is the President of her university's Choice USA chapter and is a graduate of the 2006 National Gloria Steinem Leadership Institute.
Challenging the System: Courage in Action Awards
Recipients of Challenging the System Awards demonstrate courage by crossing lines and standing up to injustices affecting reproductive health and choices.
Marvelyn Brown, 22, New York
Courage Under Fire Award
A 22 year old from Tennessee, Marvelyn began dedicating her life to activism after a serious sexual health issue hit close to home. In 2003, at 19 years old, Marvelyn was diagnosed with HIV. Since then she has committed her life to HIV and AIDS awareness through the route of working to provide teens with adequate sexual education. She speaks at colleges, give presentations on television, and works to ensure teens have access to HIV testing. She is also Ambassador and Community Outreach Coordinator for POZ and Real Health magazines.
Priscilla Huang, 28, Silver Spring, MD
Courting Justice Award
Priscilla was a student attorney who devoted endless hours to helping lower-income clients. She is the co-founder and executive board member of the Law Students for Choice American University Chapter, she has sat on the board of the Women’s Law Association as well as the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. She is currently the Project Director/Women's Law Fellow with the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum. Priscilla recently spoke about immigrant women and reproductive rights at the National Advocates for Pregrant Women conference.
Organizing for Justice: Organizer Awards
The Organizing for Justice Awards show their guts and gumption while organizing and mobilizing activists, leaders, and communities around pro-choice campaigns nationwide.
Nora Dye, 26, San Francisco, CA
Outstanding Organizer Award
Nora is the Bay Area Field Manager for the ACLU of Northern California. She's a dedicated activist who has spent time with organizations such as Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Law Students for Choice, and the ACLU. Nora was a lead organizer for the ACLU of Northern California's campaign to defeat anti-choice ballot referendum Proposition 85 in the November 2006 election cycle. Through the Bay Area Campaign for Real Teen Safety to defeat the proposition, more than 50,000 voters in the region were contacted. The referendum was soundly defeated.
Diana Salas, 27, Woodside, NY
Crossing the Lines Award
Diana Salas was born in Ecuador and is currently the chief researcher for the Women of Color Policy Network, an organization dedicated to ending the invisibility of women of color in public policy through research, advocacy, public education and mentoring. Ms. Salas worked as an organizer focusing on students, low-income women of color and immigrants and has been an activist with Latinas Organizing for Leadership and Advocacy (LOLA) at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. She obtained a master’s in Public Policy from the Wagner School at NYU and her Bachelor’s degree from Queens College.
Setting the Message Straight: Communications Awards
Recipients of Setting the Message Straight Awards play an important role in challenging assumptions, educating peers, and tackling misinformation around reproductive choices.
Courtney Martin, 26, Brooklyn, NY
Setting the Message Straight Award
Courtney E. Martin is a writer, teacher, and filmmaker. Her book, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body, will be published on Simon & Schuster's Free Press in April of 2007. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Bust!, and Bitch Magazine. She is currently an adjunct professor of Women’s Studies at Hunter College where she focuses on activism and third wave feminist scholars.
Liz Funk, 18, Voorheesville, NY
Generation Next Award
Liz Funk is a freelance writer, college student, progressive activist, and graduate of Choice USA's 2005 National Gloria Steinem Leadership Institute. Her writing has appeared in Newsday, Women’s eNews, and The New Humanist
(UK), among other publications. She writes a blog on young feminism for the Albany, NY newspaper the Times Union
and a sex column for The Pace Press
. She has also written for the Huffington Post and WireTap, has been syndicated on AlterNet and the Nation.com and is working on two non-fiction book projects and a novel pertaining to young women and feminism. She is a member of the National Organization for Women Young Feminist Task Force, a 2006 fellow of Young People for the American Way, and a recent inductee to the REAL Hot 100.' She is a sophomore at Pace University Honors College, studying English and gender/sexuality studies, and lives in Manhattan.
Spirit of Communications Award
Turning feminism into a verb with their constant analysis, discussion, and ideas about the world around them, giving women who often don't have a voice the opportunity to share their ideas, and standing up for women everywhere has helped make Feministing.com one of the most popular blogs on the internet. The five Feministing.com staff are profiled below:
Jessica Valenti, 28, New York
Jessica is a 28 year-old feminist writer from New York. She has a Masters degree in Women's and Gender Studies from Rutgers University and has worked with organizations such as NARAL Pro-Choice America, Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund), Planned Parenthood, the Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) and Ms. magazine. She is also a co-founder of the REAL hot 100, a campaign to highlight the important work that young women are doing across the country. Her writing has appeared in Ms. magazine, Salon, The Guardian, Alternet, The Scholar & Feminist and Guernica. Her book, Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters, will be available in Spring 2007.
Vanessa Valenti, 26, Brooklyn, NY
Vanessa is a 26 year-old feminist and graduate of the BA program in Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. She has worked with the Mount Sinai Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program and NARAL Pro-Choice America. She is currently receiving her Masters degree in Women's Studies at SUNY Albany. In the meantime, she works with the lovely ladies of The Real Hot 100, is a Communications Assistant at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the Institute for Reproductive Health Access.
Samhita Mukhopadhyay, 28, San Francisco, CA
Samhita is a 28 year old grad student and blogger living in San Francisco. She is currently finishing up her MA in Women's Studies at San Francisco State University. She is also working as a blog consultant for New American Media. A graduate of SUNY Albany's Women's Studies/Sociology programs, Samhita's passions are trans-national feminisms, veganism, theories of knowledge production, electronic music and fashion. She lives in the Mission District and is a reformed party girl.
Ann Friedman, 24, Washington, DC
Ann survived her thoroughly Midwestern, devoutly Catholic upbringing and lived to call herself a committed feminist. She works as the assistant web editor at The American Prospect, and was previously an editorial fellow at Mother Jones magazine, a program associate at Legal Momentum, and a reporter for several local newspapers in Missouri and Iowa. She just moved to D.C. and misses San Francisco already.
Celina De Leon, 28, Brooklyn, NY
Celina is a 28-year-old social justice journalist from Hartford, CT. She has a Master's Degree in Human Rights from Columbia University, and a B.A. in print journalism from Northeastern University in Boston. She spent her college years and much of her 20s as the senior editor of Teen Voices Magazine, and loved every minute of it. She now lives in Brooklyn, NY, and is a contributing writer for AlterNet.org. When she's not interviewing cool women and trying to get press for the amazing work that they do, she's sipping mojitos.
Jen Moseley, 27, Washington, DC
Jen Moseley, a 27-year-old Philadelphia native, works for NARAL Pro-Choice America in Washington, DC. Prior to joining NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2002, Jen worked at the National Abortion Federation. She has been involved in the Reproductive Rights movement forever, as she was lucky enough to study under the most amazing feminist icon you’ve never heard of - her mother.
Protecting the Future: Sex and Health Education Award
Recipients of Protecting the Future Awards are ensuring that future generations have the know-how to ensure their health and well-being.
Teen Advocates for Sexual Health (TASH), St. Louis, MO
Sex Educator Award
Teen Advocates for Sexual Health is a group of 37 teens (grades 9-12) representing diverse backgrounds from the greater St. Louis Metropolitain Area. TASH creates, develops, plans and implements programs that move toward a greater understanding and appreciation of healthy sexuality based on teen rights, respect and responsibility.
Generations of Leadership: Mentor and Legacy Awards
Recipients of the Generations of Leadership Awards demonstrate years of leadership, shared learning, mentoring, and intergenerational organizing to support the next generations of pro-choice leaders.
Vicki Saporta, Washington, DC
Mentor of the Year Award
Since the beginning of her work with the National Abortion Federation in 1995, Vicki, now president and CEO, has created great change and expansion in the organization. Vicki has been a mentor to countless women in the reproductive health movement, including some who've gone on to become founders of their own women's organizations. Under her guidance, NAF has set the standard for quality abortion care, introduced the US to the concept of medical abortion, and educated 16,000 health care professionals in the administration of medical abortions.james wagoner
James Wagoner, Washington, DC
Gloria Steinem Sharing the Legacy Award
Since 1997 James has been the front line of Advocates for Youth, a leading national organization on adolescent reproductive and sexual health. He previously served as vice president of NARAL Pro-Choice America directing the organizations communications, policy and public education campaigns. Advocates for Youth empowers young people through their "Rights. Respect. Responsibility." campaign, embracing young people as partners in determining their own sexual health and well-being.
If you'd like to support the annual program, please consider making a donation.