Thank you to everyone who joined us for this two-day event for faith leaders of all traditions and stakeholders within faith communities.
In many faith communities, abortion, contraception, and queer sexuality are polarized and politicized. Yet, at the heart of these debates are real lives caught at the intersection of toxic theology and harmful policies. It's time to shift the conversation and engage in compassionate teaching and advocacy.
The 2019 Faith Leaders Summit featured guest plenary speaker Toni M. Bond.
For almost 30 years, Toni Bond has worked tirelessly to make the voices of Black women heard around issues of reproductive and sexual health, rights, and justice. In 1994, Ms. Bond was one of the twelve Black women who gave birth to the concept of “Reproductive Justice,” creating a paradigm shift in how women of color would add their collective voices to the fight for reproductive autonomy and freedom. Reproductive justice was created to shed light on the combined forms of oppression that contribute to women of color’s reproductive oppression and as a systematic way to develop practical strategies of resistance and liberation.
Additional speakers included:
Kelley Fox, formerly Kelley Lewis, is the host of the de/masc/ed podcast. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Literature and in Creative Writing from Ohio Northern University. She is now a Masters of Practical Theology and Masters of Social Justice candidate at The Methodist Theological School in Ohio, with a specialization in Feminist and Womanist Studies. Her work has appeared in Fearsome Critters, Penumbra, ReCap, Polaris and Indolent Book’s HIV Awareness Month Poem-a-day Series. Her goals are to create a world where people can live the way they want to without fear of ridicule or persecution. She believes that a lot of that ridicule and persecution comes from rigid gender roles and stereotypes that society enforces. Although these roles are deeply ingrained in American society, she hopes to bring liberation to all people affected by societal expectation. An activist with multiple marginalized identities, she seeks to lift up all people through love, writing, spirituality, and service. Her cats, Moses and Florence, keep her company—as well as her husband, Jordan. The Podcast can be found at https://demasced.podbean.com/ and on iTunes and Spotify.
Gaby Garcia-Vera is the States Program Manager at Catholics for Choice (CFC), where he works with pro-choice Catholic policymakers, state partners, and activists to engage, educate, and mobilize people across the U.S. to advance sexual and reproductive rights. He employs his wealth of experience forging and sustaining coalitions, mobilizing grassroots activists, and engaging state policymakers to deliver analysis and to develop and implement CFC’s Domestic State Program through statements, positions, and resources that make the moral case for abortion rights and access. Recently Gaby was featured in Playboy as part of their faces of Resilience campaign highlighting the lifesaving work of the Trevor Project in working to combat LGBTQ Youth Suicide. In 2016 he co-founded the Coquí Language Collective, a Florida based collective working to promote social justice throughout Florida and the country through interpretation and translation service. Gaby is formerly the Executive Director for GetEQUAL, and the Florida Field & Advocacy Manager for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, where he honed his acumen in fortifying relationships with advocates, policymakers, and partners in organizations throughout the country. (Photo by Ryan Pfluger)
Lyndsey Godwin is the Assistant Director for the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality at Vanderbilt Divinity School. With over a decade as a sexuality educator and community facilitator, she works to connect academics, activist, organizers, artists, faith leaders, and educators in order to have deeper conversations and develop more impactful justice practices. She primarily approaches her work looking at religion, gender, and sexuality first, and prioritizes learner-centered, practical approaches that seek to disrupt/dismantle systems of oppression and white supremacy. She’s a queer, white, feminist facilitator who is seeks to develop anti-racist, liberatory spaces that center engaged, shared learning. She serves as the Secretary for the SisterSong Board of Directors, Co-Chair for the Steering Board of Healthy and Free Tennessee; and was one of the founding directors and board members for Launch Pad, a grassroots community initiative to provide safe, LGBTQI affirming, emergency shelter for young adults 18-24.
Peter J. Haas
Professor Haas received his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1970 after which he attended Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, receiving ordination as a Reform rabbi in 1974. He served as an active U.S. Army chaplain for three years, remaining in the Army National Guard chaplain corp. for another 19 years. Upon completion of active duty, Rabbi Haas enrolled in the graduate program in religion at Brown University, earning a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies in 1980. He joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University in 1980, where he taught courses in Judaism, Jewish ethics, the Holocaust, Western religion, and the Middle East Conflict. Dr. Haas moved to Case Western Reserve University in 2000 and served as the appointed chair of the Department or Religious Studies from 2003-2015. He fully retired in the summer of 2016. Rabbi Haas currently serves with the pastoral care team at South Pointe Hospital, as a CASA for Juvenile Court and as a docent at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Natalie Hall is a Surgical Assistant for Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio. She also serves as a Full Spectrum Doula, providing compassionate and loving care no matter the pregnancy outcome. She enjoys spending time with her family, thrifting, writing poetry, and reading about feminism, occultism, and philosophy.
Mason Hickman is a queer and transgender activist in Columbus who currently serves as a Field Organizer for Equality Ohio. He formerly served as a Campaign Manager with Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE) as well as an Intern at Planned Parenthood. He holds degrees in both Political Science and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies from The Ohio State University. His area of passion is securing reproductive justice for all LGBTQ+ people.
Don Jones is one of two dads alongside his husband Andrew. The Jones-Kohn family began over 13 years ago in Washington, D.C. Since then, they have owned 5 houses, have welcomed 2 children into the world, and have loved a pot-bellied pig named Bacon. The family is politically active, raising funds for folks that stand-up for their family and the rights of LGBT folks in their community, state, and across the country. Don is a native of Cincinnati, an Ohio State grad, and works from home for Booz Allen Hamilton, supporting the firms digital marketing efforts. Don was raised Catholic, moved to the Episcopal church where their children were baptized and they were married sacramentally, and now they are both members of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus.
Rev. Vincent Lachina
Rev. Vincent Lachina has served as Planned Parenthood’s Northwest Regional Chaplain for almost 15 years, providing support to patients and community members in Washington, Northern Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and now the Hawaiian Islands. This is a unique position since it is the only chaplain position is Planned Parenthood in the U.S. Additionally, Rev. Lachina works to create an active network of progressive congregations in the Northwest who support Reproductive Justice for women, currently numbering more than 750. Rev. Lachina holds a B.A. in Religion and English from Samford University in Birmingham, AL, and the MRE in Religion and Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX.
Angie Marie Luna
Angie Marie Luna is a first-generation Mexican-American currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Medical Physiology at Case Western Reserve University. She is originally from Chicago and completed her B.A. in Biology and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois of Chicago. Angie hopes to attend medical school in the near future. She is a member of Youth Testify, a program under the National Network of Abortion Funds and Advocates for Youth. Angie has shared her abortion story in various platforms in order to end abortion stigma.
Jaime Miracle serves as the Deputy Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. A native of Columbus, Jaime started with the organization as a field organizer in June 2004, and moved to policy director in 2010. Prior to working with NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, she conducted research into vision development at the OSU College of Optometry and breast cancer prevention at the Ohio State University Medical Center. Jaime has a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy with a focus on Women’s Health Research and Activism from the Western College Program at Miami University in Oxford, OH.
Catrina Otonoga-Shaffer is Preterm’s Policy and Partnerships Manager and is responsible for working with elected officials, government agencies, community members, and nonprofit and for-profit partners to help create an environment that reduces abortion stigma and increases reproductive health access in Ohio through policy, engagement, and community building. Prior to her work as a staff member at Preterm, she served as a Preterm board member, was a fundraiser at Beck Center for the Arts, and worked as a consultant on progressive candidate and issue campaigns throughout Ohio. Catrina has her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and is a proud The Ohio State University Alumni. Catrina was raised in Olmsted Falls, and currently lives in the Tremont neighborhood with her husband and dog, Banjo.
Elaina Ramsey serves as the Executive Director of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. With a decade of campaign, advocacy, grassroots organizing, and communications experience at the intersections of faith and politics, Elaina has worked for various nonprofits and campaigns — including Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, Women’s Action for New Directions, and Obama for America. She holds master's degrees in both Theological Studies and International Peace & Conflict Resolution from Wesley Theological Seminary and American University, respectively. In 2019, she was recognized as a Coolidge Scholar by Auburn Theological Seminary for her work in religion and Reproductive Justice.
Prince Shakur is a queer, Jamaican American writer, traveler, and activist. His works, which centers on Black masculinity, Caribbean culture, mass incarceration, coming of age in Black Lives Matter America, and queer culture, have been published in Teen Vogue, Daily Dot, AfroPunk, Electric Literature, and more. He is co-host of Liberadio and the 2017 recipient of GLAAD’s Rising Stars Digital Innovator award. He is a part of the leadership core of the Black Queer and Intersectional Collective.
Alex Shanks is Rachel’s husband, Ella Marie’s papa, and a transman. He considers himself a thinker, woodworker, story teller, servant leader, and spiritual seeker. After studying Organizational Communication, Religion, and Entrepreneurship at Ohio Northern University, he held various ministry roles before working for LGBTQ centered nonprofit organizations. Most recently he worked for Equality Ohio as Project and Field Director. Currently he works for Equitas Health as Prevention Project Manager. He lives with his family and seven dogs in Pataskala, OH.
Marshall Troxell joined Equality Ohio first as a volunteer, and then as a fellow, in 2017. During this time, he worked to further Equality Ohio’s efforts to educate about the LGBTQ community and to advocate for LGBTQ-inclusive policies such as statewide nondiscrimination protections and bans on conversion therapy. Marshall received his B.S. in Neuroscience with a minor in Global Public Health from The Ohio State University in 2018. While a student at OSU, Marshall served as President of Primary Care Progress at OSU, a student organization committed to promoting primary care as a means of addressing health disparities, improving health outcomes, and reducing healthcare spending. Marshall has also served in various volunteer capacities at Riverside Methodist Hospital and Equitas Health. In his role as Policy Coordinator, Marshall hopes to advance Equality Ohio’s mission by educating decisionmakers about the issues that impact LGBTQ Ohioans and advocating for policy solutions.
Rev. Terry Williams
Rev. Terry Williams serves as a part-time Faith Organizer with the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. He is also an Ordained Minister of the United Church of Christ, currently serving as pastor of a congregation in Chillicothe, OH. A native of southern Appalachian Ohio, he is active in ecumenical and social justice movements across the greater Ohio region that center the voices of marginalized persons in the determination of their own future. Educated at Ohio Wesleyan University and The Methodist Theological School in Ohio, Rev. Williams has earned a B.A. in Religion; a M.Div. with a specialization in biblical languages and texts; and an MTS degree with an emphasis in Christian Theology and Ethics
Rev. Laura Young
Rev. Laura Young is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. She considers herself a “tent-making” pastor, earning her living outside the church. She is a previous director of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and before that, worked to end child poverty through education at Children’s Defense Fund, expanding their summer Freedom Schools program throughout Ohio. Most recently the pastor of Summit on 16th UMC in Columbus, Rev. Young is currently on personal leave from church ministry. She is one of the out LGBTQ clergy in her denomination in Ohio. Working now for a small Granville law firm in her former career as a paralegal, she enjoys advocating for LGBTQ and reproductive rights and officiating at the occasional wedding (and funeral). She is the mother of two grown children and lives in the Columbus area with her family.
Thank you to our sponsor:
Catholics for Choice - Community Leader Sponsor
This summit was co-hosted by:
Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio
Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region
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