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Activist Interview: Nzingha Hall

| Reproaction

By: Evonnia Woods

This installment of our Activist Interview series features Nzingha Hall, Manager of Youth Programs at SisterLove, Inc. [1] The interviewee submitted their typed responses to the questions and participated in the editing process prior to publication.

How do you make sense of your work to people who are unfamiliar with what you do?

I am the Manager of Youth Programs at SisterLove. [1] I conduct youth programming and workshops and educate youth and young adults about HIV prevention, reproductive health, and of course reproductive justice (RJ). My job is to help people from all walks of life understand that they play a role in advancing RJ. Whether their role looks like education reform, policy, health care, or STEM (science, technology, education, and mathematics), we all have a voice and we all have the power to envision and create our models of equity and liberation.

How did you get into reproductive justice?

I have been interested in social justice and revolution since childhood. In high school, I participated in two youth programs that changed my life. The first was a program called Anytown. Please note, I am an old-school Anytown alum. Those who know, know. I am also a class 5 graduate of Cultural Leadership. In high school, I knew that my career would be in social justice/activism. In college I was involved in a lot of diversity initiatives as well. I was very active in the Black Student Union. Reproductive justice really clicked for me when I was in graduate school and I was selected to be an amazing fellow as a part of the Erinn J. Vuley Fellowship. The fellowship is a one-year program that uses the reproductive justice framework to strengthen and build leadership skills for folks interested in advocacy around gender and racial justice. This fellowship led me to my first reproductive justice job working as a health educator at Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

What are some things that make your work the most frustrating? 

Being the new kid on the block can be discouraging at times. I work really hard to establish and make new connections with people. Sometimes outreach is successful, other times it is not so successful. The most important thing is to celebrate your triumphs, especially with people who love you.

What are some things that make your work the most fulfilling/rewarding?

I am so fortunate and blessed to work for an international organization that is committed to global health equity. In 2019, I had the privilege of traveling to Kigali, Rwanda for Women Now!  Women Now! is a conference for women of the African diaspora. Attendees set a global agenda for addressing reproductive health injustices and eliminating gender-based violence for Black women and girls. It was phenomenal! I was able to travel to Africa during the Year of the Return, and I will be forever grateful! [2] What fulfills me, is knowing that I am doing work that I am very passionate about. I have mentors, friends, and family members who are on this path with me. I am grateful for their guidance and support, especially my Aunt Idaline, “Auntie.”

What have been the guiding principles of your work through the years? Have these principles changed? If so, what led to these changes?

I try every month to create a vision board because I like to set an agenda for my goals. My vision board isn’t anything fancy, just a dry erase board from an office supply store. On the board I have different sections: aspirations, quotes, apps, etc. It helps me stay organized and it also helps me reflect on the goals I want to achieve. In a way, writing and rewriting strategic goals and visions has become a guiding principle for me as it keeps me focused.

Self-preservation is another guiding principle. From meditation, to spending time in nature to browsing Twitter to learn pop-culture history facts, self-rejuvenation is key and essential.

It’s common for people to reflect on how much their work has impacted others, but how has your work impacted you?

My roles in reproductive justice have inspired me to imagine more and seek abundance. It has taught me that I am my best advocate. Every day I learn more and more that I am a valuable resource. I know I am doing this work for the next generation of Black girls and I am so excited and honored to advocate for their rights.

In reproductive justice, you always learn something new; whether it’s a new skill, learning facts about your colleagues, or even about the history of the work we do. I never stop learning and I am grateful to be in this space with so many educators and mentors.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want the next generation of the public health workforce introduced and immersed in reproductive justice. I’m not just talking about the folks like me who are reproductive health focused. I mean everyone, from epidemiologists, to therapists, to health navigators. I want to create reproductive justice-centered, precision-curated programming for people in all fields of public health because we need inclusive methods working to eliminate health disparities and improve health outcomes.

I want Black girls and women to be connected to an infinite amount of resources that include healthcare, entrepreneurship, public policy, education, and STEM. [3] We belong in all spaces, and I genuinely believe there is room for us. I often find that Black girls and women get left out of conversations for issues that most directly impact us. I want my legacy to ensure that Black girls and women are always in the room. I want to be remembered as the reproductive justice “Auntie” who ensured voices of the next generation were heard.

_______________________________

Originally from Saint Louis, MO, Nzingha Hall is an Atlanta transplant who recently completed her Master’s in Public Health at Morehouse School of Medicine with an emphasis in global health, health communications, and reproductive health. She is currently the Manager of Youth Programs at SisterLove in Atlanta, GA., but also has experience in the abortion care setting as a health educator, counselor, and financial coordinator. Nzingha is a professionally trained diversity and inclusion facilitator and conducts presentations and workshops centering around unconscious bias, health literacy, and culturally-competent sexual education. She is an alumna of the Erinn. J Vuley fellowship program, a leadership development progam of Feminist Women’s Health Center. Nzingha is the founder of “This is Black Sex ED!” – a multi-media trivia game focusing on pop-culture and reproductive justice through a Black lens. Her passions include youth empowerment, women’s health, reproductive health equity, and Black liberation. Nzingha speaks Mandarin Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese. Nzingha loves traveling, swimming, and is the Headwriter and Co-Producer of the podcast “The Panel ATL.” Last, but certainly not least, Nzingha is a member of the Marietta-Roswell Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

  1. https://www.sisterlove.org/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_of_Return,_Ghana_2019
  3. https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2011/09/what-does-stem-stand-for
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