Cassy! We’re so excited to have you join the team. Can you introduce yourself to our supporters?
I am so very excited to be here! I’m known as Cassy (she/her). I am a social entrepreneur dedicated to improving the lives of marginalized people globally but specifically in Detroit. My background is in social justice having served as Board Chair for Sisters Acquiring Empowerment (SAFE) for domestic violence survivors.
For the past 10 years, I have been the executive director of my own body-positive non-profit, The International Fuller Woman Network, and have produced initiatives centered on advocacy for people of size in Bali, Indonesia, Nigeria and here in Detroit.
Can you tell us a little bit about why it’s so important to intentionally hold space for black organizing in reproductive justice work?
I believe that organizing needs to be culturally specific. In most social justice movements, those that suffer the most consequences simply for being who they are or who they love are rarely the loudest voices.
I am very fortunate to find that Planned Parenthood believes that if black women and girls are not centered in the discussion around reproduction access and freedom, we are doing a disservice. The way we experience our bodies’ dictate how we move in the world and it leads to what we feel we deserve.
I want to develop a program that brings all of who we are to the discussion around the demand for reproductive access and then make sure those voices are elevated and centered. Black people historically have been in a constant fight to reclaim our bodies. We aren’t asking for permission.
You will be spearheading our new Black Organizing Program. Can you tell us a little bit about your vision for the program?
I hope that the initiatives we create will lead the way to more advocacy and reproductive health access. We will do that by elevating the voices of black women in Detroit, developing programming that will focus on education around issues facing black women and connecting with other social justice activists to help make this work a standard rallying cry. We will also work to address any cultural stigma surrounding Planned Parenthood, past and present. That’s just a few things! We have a lot of work to do.
What are you most looking forward to in this new position?
I am so excited to bring ALL of me to this position. My blackness, fatness, all of who I am has led me to fight for every aspect of my existence. Planned Parenthood encourages me to bring the advocacy that I already do in the body positive movement to the work here. Our collective fight for bodily autonomy proves we are already so closely aligned. I can’t wait to get started in this new yet familiar space.
Why do you stand with Planned Parenthood?
I am very fortunate to be part of the second class of National Storytellers of Planned Parenthood. It is through the support and culture fostered there that I found the courage to tell my own story in a way that protected myself and encouraged others. I learned the importance of healing in the midst of advocacy.
As a volunteer, I have seen first-hand the scores of people who have benefited from the services provided. I can’t help but stand with an organization that has been so integral in healthy outcomes for me and my family.
What do you like to do outside of organizing?
I love fashion and pushing all its limits! I also love escaping into reality TV and documentaries when I have time. Finding ways to connect with fierce women to share and uplift each other is another passion of mine. I am always open to new experiences, so let me know where I need to be and I am there!
How can people get in contact with you about opportunities to get involved?
They can give me a call at 313.364.9511 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!