Pamela Merritt, Honorary Chair (Collinsville, IL)
Pamela Merritt is executive director of Medical Students for Choice. She is a longtime writer, progressive activist, blogger, and co-founder of Reproaction, having served as co-director from 2015-2020. Her blog site AngryBlackBitch.com was named one of the world’s 50 most powerful blogs by The Guardian in 2008. A featured contributor on National Public Radio (NPR), her writing has also been published in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Guardian UK, Rolling Stone and Salon. She is a founding member of the Trust Black Women Partnership. She served as the online manager for the Mississippians for Healthy Families campaign that successfully defeated an initiative for a statewide personhood amendment in 2011. In addition to her personal blog, Merritt is a contributor to Rewire News Group.
Aimee Arrambide (Austin, TX)
Aimee was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She was inspired to go into reproductive health, rights, and justice by her father who was an abortion provider in central and south Texas. She studied Philosophy at the University of Texas and received her Juris Doctor from New York Law School. She co-wrote the Public Leadership Institute’s Playbook for Abortion Rights, serves on the advisory council of Reproaction and is a We Testify Storyteller. She was an intern at Avow in 2006 and 2007, the political affairs director in 2013 and 2014, and joined as the executive director in 2018.
Shivani Desai (Cedar Rapids, IA)
Shivani Desai is a proud Midwest and AAPI feminist. She began her work in reproductive rights and intersectional feminist advocacy as a campus activist in St. Louis, interning with Planned Parenthood and serving as a fellow with Reproaction. She then spent two years in DC at the Feminist Majority Foundation, working to organize campus activists on anti-violence, abortion access, and equal rights causes. In that time, she had the opportunity to work with independent abortion clinics across the Midwest, helping to train volunteers in legal observation and clinic escorting. Shivani is honored to join the Reproaction Advisory Council due to her belief in the unapologetic organizing tactics of Reproaction, as well as her respect for Pamela Merritt’s powerful voice, which was seminal in building her involvement in reproductive justice work. Shivani is currently organizing, door-knocking, and calling every single person for Elizabeth Warren in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, working to ensure that a progressive feminist who believes in overhauling the system takes the White House in 2020.
Laura Craig Mason (Suburbs of Maryland)
After spending time in the tech and government realms, Laura Craig Mason has found her home in the non-profit sphere, where she helps people keep their organizational and personal information secure. She was motivated to join the Reproaction Advisory Council after witnessing how vibrant and energetic the organizers are. Laura has vowed to help the reproductive justice movement grow by advocating for all bodies and being intentional about taking space. Apart from her reproductive rights and justice activism, she enjoys short runs, ballet, cooking, knitting, and generally trying to live creatively in the Maryland suburbs she calls home.
Oriaku Njoku (Atlanta, GA)
Oriaku Njoku is the co-founder and Executive Director of Access Reproductive Care-Southeast. The idea to start an organization that would help Southerners break through barriers to abortion came after working as a phone advocate at an abortion clinic in Atlanta. Through her work in facilitating abortion access, Oriaku vows to help the reproductive justice movement grow by creating safer, braver spaces for Southerners to speak out against reproductive injustice. She joined the Reproaction Advisory Council for the opportunity to learn about cutting edge strategies in the movement. In her free time, Oriaku enjoys planning stay/workcations with her partner, hanging out with their puppies (Marley, Charlie, and Ruthie June aka RJ), getting cupcake wasted, dreaming about new tattoos, and listening to music. Raised in Bowling Green, Kentucky, she currently calls Atlanta home.
Cicely Paine (Atlanta, GA)
Cicely Paine is working toward a day that all Black people can experience a boundless and fulfilling sexuality. She manages the Community Engagement and Advocacy Network at Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta, which houses the organization’s policy and advocacy, organizing, education, and leadership development programs. Cicely was motivated to join Reproaction’s Advisory Council because of their approach to enacting policy and legislative change through direct action. Outside of her reproductive rights and justice work, she enjoys baking, traveling to warm places, and cuddling all the dogs. Cicely was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Cherisse Scott (Memphis, TN)
Cherisse Scott hopes to reclaim the reproductive justice movement’s original intent of centering the leadership, expertise, and human rights of women of color. For more than 10 years, she has worked as a reproductive justice educator, activist, and advocate. Weaving these experiences together, she founded SisterReach in 2011, Tennessee’s only reproductive justice organization. Under her leadership, the organization has produced an informative report on the need for comprehensive sex education for Southern youth of color; organized a clergy cohort that trains faith leaders on social justice issues; and presented to the United Nations in opposition to Tennessee’s fetal assault law. She joined Reproaction’s Advisory Council because of her strong belief in the leadership of Pamela Merritt. Outside of her SisterReach work, Cherisse is an artist and songwriter and has independently produced two albums.
Libby Skarin (Sioux Falls, SD)
Libby Skarin is a former layer, avid reader, and civil rights enthusiast. After practicing law for several years in her home state of Iowa, her frustration with her inability to change systemic problems on a case-by-case basis pushed her headfirst into a career in policy advocacy. Since 2014, her professional efforts have focused on advancing civil rights and civil liberties – including reproductive rights and abortion access – for all South Dakotans. She is inspired by people who do hard work in hard spaces and is deeply committed to doing her part to enshrine a reproductive justice framework in both the legal and social norms of rural Midwestern states, including in carceral settings. Reproaction’s direct action philosophy and refusal to play by the rules favored in traditional power structures motivated Libby to join the Advisory Council. When she’s not working, Libby can often be found with a book in hand surrounded by her pack of scruffy rescue pets and her husband, volunteering with a local non-profit that provides support to transgender youth, or taking a nap.