Listening to Unheard Voices

Starshine Christian, Public Health Student, University of Nevada

I have been away from home for officially a week, and today is my favorite day yet. I’ve explored the city, visited the beach, eaten well, but today is different. Today is the second full day that I’m attending the International AIDS Conference.

At this conference I am surrounded by scientists, activists, journalists, sex workers, public servants, government officials, musicians, actors, ranging from all ages, races, identities, and classes. The night before last I saw both Nelson Mandela’s grandson, and Charlize Theron speak on the same stage. Yesterday, I watched a panel consisting of a queer woman from Cameroon, a queer man from Pakistan, a gay Mexican person living in New York, a tranmasculine person from Taiwan, and a woman who is a sex worker from the Netherlands discuss the intersection of sexual pleasure, health, and rights. And today, I have the opportunity to see Bill Gates speak. Continue reading “Listening to Unheard Voices”


The Role of Young Activist Women in the Lutheran Church

Sally Fifield

UNCSW16 - 4I was raised Lutheran, identify as Lutheran, feel comfortable in the Lutheran Church, but I struggle with the church. I question the space the church has made for young women, like me, who crave an institution that questions the status quo, that demands justice, dignity, and protection for all our neighbors, and that puts social justice and activism in the center of the church.

Growing up in the church I was encouraged to participate in service projects and mission trips. While in hindsight that work was problematic in the relationship dynamic it created, it did lay a foundation for faith in service and in action with the community. I craved this active and moving faith that was modeled for me.

As a young adult I have looked for new home churches that reflect my ideals and values, but have found that the way church is structured now is for middle class, white families that are comfortable with tradition. When you are looking for the faith-based activist community for young single 20-somethings, you might want to invest in a community outside of the church. Continue reading “The Role of Young Activist Women in the Lutheran Church”

How to do a Mission Visit

Kristell Caballero Saucedo

Notes from the Ecumenical Women “How to do a Mission Visit” Workshop

Official CSW Documents

IMG_8031Violence Against Women & Girls

  • Sexual abuse must be fundamentally addressed. We focus on it because it might lead to other problems, like sex trafficking, for example.
  • Address true causes, like your government changing policies related to education.
  • There are major truck routes that have major hubs related to sex trafficking, like in Pennsylvania and Florida. What can we do in our homes to stop this from happening?
  • Trafficking flourishes because it is high reward and low risk. For example, 35 thousand dollars are spent per week for sex trafficking around major events, most recently in Denver and Washington.
  • It is easier to criminalize the women than look at the people who are exploiting them.
  • Funding for civil societies and education to help protect these girls is crucial.
  • Ask about the protocol to prevent and suppress trafficking of women.
  • There are faith- based organizations working with nonprofits to help educate girls about sex trafficking.
  • Parallel Event: Wednesday at 8:30 am on the 8th floor (United Nations Church Center)

Access to Quality Education, Decent Work, & Decision-Making

  • Socio-economic disparity
  • Allocate more funds to cities and schools
  • Provide incentives for teachers to stay in schools for longer
  • Most public schools are funded by property taxes
  • It is important to look at the fundamental causes that we can’t undo in a heartbeat
  • Look at the fact that young girls are being sent to jail. What does that school to prison pipeline look like?
  • Privatization of prisons must stop.
  • Parents must be involved in decision making. “You are your child’s first teacher” –Universal preschool
  • Reallocation of funds must go to early childhood: more literacy-based components and skills that need to be ready for first grade level education.
  • Decent work and decision making practices
  • Holistic approaches to parenting. Meet parents where they are. Also consider that some parents may not understand the work and process.
  • There needs to be more regulation for charter schools, while also making public schools better.
  • “There is a brain drain from the community” particularly from charter schools
  • Recruitment from HBCU’s for teachers
  • Livable wage for people is important and interconnected with children’s education.


  • Reproductive rights
  • Women don’t have living wages, and therefore, they don’t have healthcare coverage, meaning their children are also not covered.
  • Inexcusable infant mortality
  • Care of aging relatives. Women care for children and parents. They have difficulty accessing the services. They miss work and lose jobs. By the time they reach the point to receive social security, there is nothing there. It is a systemic issue.
  • Health care coverage in the private sector is more expensive if you have maternal health care coverage.
  • If you are an hourly worker and have to take care of a sick child and family members, you are the most affected.
  • Business hire two or three people for part-time work so that they do not have to pay for access to healthcare for their employees.
  • Big contracted work where employees don’t have full rights of employement, particuarly notable in the IT field.
  • The U.S. tried to ban Planned Parenthood.
  • Maternity leave must be paid.

The Importance of Women in Faith-Based Communities

  • We have access to every community at every level, and therefore, can help bring groups together.
  • Giving the money directly to grassroots organizations that benefits people directly from that grant.
  • We have accountability.
  • Give it directly to the people instead of bigger corporations.
  • Faith-based organizations of women
  • Women for Women
  • Being faith-based does not mean the work is just for women but for all people.
  • If we are family, then we are expected to be with everyone.
  • Undocumented immigration and the intersection between all points listed above.


  • Cathryn Surgenor – Faith
  • Jennifer Allen – Health
  • Marvella and Destinity – Education
  • Cynthia and Gillian – Violence Against Women

Get there early and sit upfront.
Approach: This is what you have, this is what we want, and this is why.