Advance Voting Ends TODAY!

As October ends, so does Early Voting!

SPARK CanvassersSPARK has been hard at work throughout October informing our communities of when and where to vote. Today is no different!

You can still vote early at ANY early voting location in YOUR county. To find your advance voting location, visit “My Voter Page” or check out the Advance Voting Information list on the Secretary of State’s website.

Your voice and vote matter! If you have already voted, share your voting experience with us by using the hashtag #SPARKTHEVOTE on Facebook and Twitter.

Please share this reminder with your friends, families, and networks. Our voices are stronger united.

Join us for our #SPARKTHEVOTE Election Day Voter Drive!

SPARK is seeking a few passionate volunteers to help our Get Out the Vote team engage and mobilize voters on November 4th!

Volunteer with SPARK!Volunteers will join us in phone banking and door knocking throughout the day. After, to thank you for your hard work, we invite you to join us for our Election Day Watch Party!

Helping us to #SPARKTHEVOTE is easy. We have shifts available from 9:30AM – 6:30PM. You donate your time; we provide the training, yummy snacks, and great company.

Only have an hour or two to spare? No problem!

You can join our phone banking team from the comfort of your home, dorm, or local coffee shop. We can have everything emailed and set-up for you in less than 15 minutes. All you need a good Internet connection and a telephone. (We recommend using Google voice numbers).

Interested volunteers should complete our #SPARKTHEVOTE Volunteer Application!

Please share this information with friends and families through Facebook, Twitter, and your networks!

We hope you will join us in empowering and mobilizing our community to the polls to have their voices heard!

Have you seen the SPARK, NDWA, and Strong Families voter guide?

Greetings Community,

Election Day is less than two weeks away and we need to make sure Georgia voters are prepared! With many local and state races, it is not always clear whom we are voting for and how these elections will affect our daily lives.

Whos Who in GA PoliticsThat is why we are excited to share “Who’s Who in Georgia Politics.” Created by Strong Families, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance – Atlanta Chapter, this tool is a quick and easy way to explain the responsibilities of Federal, State, and Local positions in Georgia and what these elected positions mean for our communities.

The guide can be downloaded in PDF and a mobile-ready responsive version is available online for use on your smart phone, tablet, and in the voting booth!

Click here to check out our guide and share it with your friends.

As the election draws near, this guide could be helpful for you and your family in starting discussions and sharing information about what is at stake in the upcoming election. Please share this guide with your friends and help us ensure all Georgia families have the resources to understand why their vote matters!

Thank you for your support!

Luisa F. Cardona, Esq., Field Director
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW

SPARK Canvassing Positions Available

SPARK is a reproductive justice (RJ) organization based in Atlanta, GA advocating for policies that protect and expand access to the full range of family planning options, abortion, and sexual health education for women and youth of color in the state of Georgia. Importantly, SPARK ensures the voices of women of color, young parents, and LGBTQQ youth of color living in the south are included in the reproductive rights and justice movements.

SPARK is seeking professional and outgoing individuals to conduct door-to-door and phone canvassing in Fulton County. Canvassers will provide voter education and engage the public on their experiences with accessing health care. No prior experience is required.

Responsibilities

  • Educate and engage voters through door-to-door or phone canvassing
  • Complete daily and weekly reports on progress and meet all goals and metrics
  • Effectively use technology tools to ensure accurate and timely data entry
  • Participate and complete all required training

Qualifications

  • Must be over 18 years old
  • Must have excellent communication and people skills; must be comfortable speaking with strangers and people from different backgrounds
  • Ability to work with other staff and canvassers in a team
  • Ability to work under deadlines
  • Experience in phone or door-to-door canvassing is a plus
  • Political Campaign experience is a plus
  • Must be able and willing to walk for long distances outside in a variety of weather elements (door-to-door canvassing)
  • Licensed and insured drivers are desired; fuel reimbursement is available (door-to-door canvassing)

Hours & Hourly Rate

  • Door Canvassers work 8 hours/week (late September – early November). The position pays $10/hour.
  • Phone Canvassers work 9 hours/week (late September – early November). The position pays $9/hour.

Location
The candidate must be located in or willing to relocate to Atlanta, GA.

Application Process
Please complete the online application at https://sparkrjnow.wufoo.com/forms/canvasser-application. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Thank you for your interest. No phone calls please.

SPARK is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, parental status, national origin, age, disability, family medical history or genetic information, political affiliation, military service, or any other non-merit based factor.

The Next Chapter

Dear SPARK Family, Friends, Supporters & Allies:

This past week has been filled with change for SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW. We have recently undergone a leadership transition and will soon be pursuing new executive leadership to actualize the mission of our organization. We want to extend our sincere gratitude to our former Executive Director, Ms. Malika Redmond for her stalwart stewardship of the organization over the last two years.

The Board of SPARK is committed to the long-term health and longevity of the organization. The queer and reproductive justice communities of the South needs SPARK and we are committed to ensuring that our vision for reproductive justice reflects the interests of our communities in our programmatic work. Reproductive Justice is a social justice movement rooted in the belief that individuals and communities should have the resources and power to make sustainable and liberatory decisions about their bodies, genders, sexualities, and lives.

To that effect, an experienced interim-executive director, Ms. Benétta M. Standly was put in place immediately and was also joined by a new senior field director, Ms. Luisa Cardona.

We value your support, partnership and commitment to SPARK. We look forward to continued collaboration with each of you during this transition period.

Sincerely,

Heidi Williamson                                    
President, Board of Directors                  
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW

Highlights from the 2014 FMJC with Personal Note from Youth Leader Jordan Scruggs

2014 FYRE Media Justice Camp

2014 FYRE Media Justice Camp

By Quita Tinsley, SPARK Youth Organizer

SPARK’s 2014 Fierce Youth Reclaiming & Empowering Media Justice Camp (FMJC), in collaboration with Advocates for Youth, brought 10 queer and trans youth of color from across the Southeast to Atlanta to reimagine and create their own media. This year participants advanced their blogging and vlogging skills and learned how to incorporate it into their activism.  The trainings included reproductive justice, digital storytelling, and the following topics: closing the coverage gap, abortion access (1 in 3 Campaign), and violence against queer and trans youth of color and women of color.

In 2011, Funders for LGBT Issues found that Georgia received only $526,783 or less than $2 per person in LGBTQ funding. This lack of financial support often means that organizations are forced to make difficult decisions about how best to serve a growing, underserved community. The SPARK FYRE program does this by providing opportunities for queer and trans youth of color from the Southeast to develop relationships, get hands on media training, and gain reproductive justice organizing and leadership skills. Importantly, it gives participants a platform to amplify their voices, lived experiences, and accelerate their activism.

The 2014 media campers produced three short videos and wrote three blogs, which will roll out later this fall.

Jordan Scruggs

Jordan Scruggs, FMJC ’13 Camp Attendee, FMJC ’14 Camp Peer Leader

Jordan Scruggs, one of SPARK’s youth leaders, was a 2013 FMJC participant and returned this year as a 2014 FMJC peer leader. “I wanted to be a peer leader because I know how important the voices and stories of QPOC lives are,” says Jordan. “We’re a beautiful, diverse, and complex community and our lives and stories matter. They deserve to be told and I believe that blogging is the perfect medium to do it.”In her spare time, Jordan runs several blogs, one of which is Jordan Ponders. As we mourn the loss of another black youth at the hands of state violence, now more than ever, we must recognize the psychological impact it has on those living at the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality.  In the wake of current events, Jordan’s recent post, “Absence of Hope,” is on her journey with mental health and depression. As a true to life activist, she uses her own experiences as a way to help others and fight for justice!

It is the voices of young people like Jordan that SPARK strengthens. To learn how to support SPARK’s FYRE Media Justice Camps, visit our website here.

Apply NOW to the 2014 FYRE Media Justice Camp!

2014 FMJC Post CardCamp Dates: July 24-27, 2014
Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Priority Deadline : Friday, June 13th – Applications reviewed on a rolling basis after the deadline. Space is limited.

The FYRE Media Justice Camp is a dynamic 4-day/3-night gathering of Southern lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, and questioning youth of color (LGBTQQ), ages 18-25, reimagining and creating media for our resilience, our lives, and our communities.

This year, we’re amplifying the voices of LGBTQQ Youth of color through social media and blogging! Participants will engage in interactive skill shares about reproductive justice, media justice, and artivism while gaining the skills needed to create liberatory media.

You must be able to attend the camp in its entirety to be accepted. To apply, please complete the 2014 FYRE Media Justice Camp online form. Please answer each question to the best of your ability. We thank you for your interest in this amazing gathering and look forward to reading your responses.

Nia Mitchell Named New Speak Justice Take Action Field Director

Nia Mitchell

Nia Mitchell, MPH, CPH

Greetings Community,

On behalf of SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, I am pleased to announce Nia Mitchell, MPH, CPH, as the new Speak Justice Take Action Field Director.  Nia joins the SPARK team effective immediately.  Raised in Georgia, Nia brings a dynamic set of public health and grassroots organizing experiences deeply rooted in reproductive justice values.

For the past ten years, Nia has coordinated a number of leadership development and health promotion programs for communities of color (i.e., immigrant and refugee, LGBTQ, women, youth) in Atlanta, GA. She has also participated in and led civic engagement activities on several racial and reproductive justice issues (e.g., abortion access, comprehensive sex education, interpersonal and state violence, school to prison pipeline, sterilization abuse). In 2012, Nia received a Master of Public Health from Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). While at MSM, she organized events on health disparities impacting LGBTQ people of African descent, and worked with the Phoenix Foundation, Inc. to develop a sexual health program for HIV-positive gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men in the Old Fourth Ward community. Additionally, she was awarded funding through MSM’s Center for Community Health & Service-Learning to implement a reproductive justice program for young women at North Clayton High School in College Park, GA and Mays High Schools in Atlanta, GA.

Prior to assuming the position at SPARK, Nia was an Evaluation Fellow with CDC’s Office of Women’s Health and the Office of Health Equity in the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. She worked with the offices on planning and implementing evaluations, and developing an “easy-to-use” toolkit for community-based organizations evaluating women and girls’ health programming.

As the Speak Justice Take Action Field Director, Nia leads SPARK’s program department including our newly formed integrated voter engagement campaign efforts.

“I am honored to serve as SPARK’s new Speak Justice Take Action Field Director.  As a former volunteer and supporter, I am excited to lead the organization’s leadership development and civic engagement activities to ensure that those most impacted by reproductive oppression have the opportunity to make the healthiest and safest decisions regarding their bodies, families, and communities.”

Please join the Board and staff as we welcome Nia Mitchell, MPH, CPH, to the SPARK team.

All the best,

Malika Redmond, MA
Executive Director

SPARK LGBTQQ Giving in the South!

Give OUT Day 2Greetings SPARK Community,

Today SPARK will participate in the 2nd Annual Give OUT Day and join more than 500 organizations across the country mobilizing for the fiscal sustainability of our work for social change for LGBTQQ communities.

In 2011, Funders for LGBT Issues found that the U.S. South barely saw 3% of the year’s LGBTQ funding despite the fact that over a third of the U.S. population lives in the 13 states that make up the southern region.  Georgia, for example, received only $526,783 or less than $2 per person that year.

Based in Georgia, SPARK recognizes how essential it is to invest in the leadership and voices of women of color, young parents, and LGBTQQ youth of color in the fight for reproductive justice. Your financial support allows us to ensure that these voices – the ones most impacted by reproductive injustices – can bring their deep understanding of the political conditions of the South to our movements and work. Give OUT Day is your opportunity to demonstrate the power of prioritizing Southern leadership in Southern movements!

SPARK seeks to raise $2,500.00 in our first Give OUT Day campaign to offset the expense of our well-received annual Media Justice Camp for queer and trans youth of color.  This 4th annual 4 day and 3 night program is fully funded by SPARK for youth leaders interested in incorporating the latest in diverse media technologies for their organizing efforts.  Of course, we want to exceed our goal, and this year Give Out Day is ramping up their incentive program with additional funds up to $8000.00 for any organization leading in their drive through the generosity of multiple donors: Bolder Giving/Give OUT Day!

How Can You Help?

  1. Give! You can make your donation RIGHT NOW through our Razoo fundraising page. In order to count towards our goal, all donations must be made between 12AM-11:59PM EST on TODAY, Friday, May 16th!
  2. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay updated on our progress on Give OUT Day. You can use the hashtag #SPARKRJGIVING to follow our posts.
  3. Spread the word! Forward this email to your family, friends, and colleagues along with a personal note as to why YOU support our work and why they should give!

Stand with us TODAY and let’s demonstrate the power of Southern giving!

My best to you,

Malika Redmond, M.A.
Executive Director

Mama’s Day 2014 Round UP!

Mama's Day 2014 Post CardThis year, SPARK participated in the Strong Families Mama’s Day campaign by penning and contributing to a number of powerful articles and blogs on the experiences of Black women on issues from breastfeeding to healthcare access. Check out the following writings from SPARK staff and youth leaders for #MamasDay 2014!

SPARK Organizer Bianca Campbell talks Black Women, breastfeeding, and our maternity policy needs for The Root. http://bit.ly/RDc8Y2

On Ebony.com, SPARK Youth Leader Quita Tinsley reiterates the importance of the Strong Families #MamasDay campaign and her work with SPARK for Medicaid expansion and affordable health care in Georgia. http://bit.ly/1shHYVi

SPARK intern Leandra Lacy calls on us to “Give Affordable Healthcare This Mother’s Day” on the Strong Families Blog and shares what Medicaid expansion would mean for Black women. http://bit.ly/1fC0nMb

SPARK intern Alissa Robbins details our partnership with the Atlanta Chapter of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and our fight to expand Medicaid eligibility in Georgia and forever alter the healthcare destinies of the estimated 838,000 low-income uninsured women in our State. http://bit.ly/1gEPcO2