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Springing Forward: Celebrating the Next Generation Leadership Institute's Graduation Retreat

Springing Forward: Celebrating the Next Generation Leadership Institute’s Graduation Retreat

As the flowers bloom and the air fills with the promise of new beginnings, there’s no better time to celebrate the achievements of the 2024 Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI; Next Gen) fellows. Serving across seven Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nationwide, these fellows are a beacon of hope, proving that there is promise in training the next wave of leaders in Reproductive Justice.

The Graduation Retreat culminated two years of hard work, dedication, and advocacy. This celebration served as a testament to the unwavering commitment of these young leaders across their various campuses. With a “Springing Forward” theme, the retreat celebrated their  accomplishments and was an opportunity to look towards a future where reproductive rights are upheld and championed for Black women and girls.

The Next Generation Leadership Institute was founded in response to the urgent need for youth leadership in Reproductive Justice; NGLI has been instrumental in empowering HBCU students to navigate complex issues surrounding sexual and reproductive health. In the wake of challenges such as the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the proliferation of restrictive abortion bans, NGLI has remained steadfast in its mission to equip student leaders with the tools they need to make informed decisions about their bodies and futures.

One of the most notable achievements of the 2022-2024 cohort has been distributing safe sex kits on their campuses. With these, many fellows within the cohort developed engaging programming institutional change, including developing Safe Sex Hotlines to service student needs. Other notable achievements include servicing underserved communities by providing menstrual products to incarcerated women and distributing postpartum care products to support birthing mothers. For more information on other campus programs created by our fellows please check out the 2023 Spring Report.

From fostering leadership and advocacy skills to promoting access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, the impact of Next Gen resonates far beyond the confines of campus boundaries. These young leaders are shaping their communities’ futures and paving the way for a Reproductive Justice future free of stigma and abundant with information and resources. 

Amidst the festivities and accolades, it’s essential to recognize that the work of the 2024 fellows is far from over. As we look towards this election cycle’s future, many battles remain and barriers to overcome for a liberated Reproductive Justice future. However, with the passion, resilience, and determination exhibited by the fellows of Next Gen, there’s no doubt that progress is not only possible but inevitable.

Although we are saying farewell to the 2024 Next Gen cohort, we are recruiting the next class of Reproductive Justice Leaders! If you are an undergraduate student attending a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and passionate about Reproductive Justice, this is the fellowship for you. While there are no academic major requirements, you must have at least two years remaining in your academic tenure and be willing to embrace the Reproductive Justice framework to become a changemaker in your industry! Please register for our General Information hosted on May 6, 2024, at 1 PM via Zoom to learn more about The Next Generation Leadership Institute. Fellowship applications close on May 31, 2024. 

So, as we raise our glasses in celebration of the 2022-2024 fellows, let us also renew our commitment to the principles of Reproductive Justice and the tireless pursuit of equity for all Black women, girls, and gender expansive people. Together, we can continue to spring toward a brighter, more inclusive future where every Black body has the autonomy and agency to make their own important reproductive decisions.

Are you Ready to join the Reproductive Justice Movement?

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