Three New Grant Partners chosen: Doula Training in So. Florida, Novelly in a Box, and My Decision Project.
Abortion is so often silenced in both private discussions and public discourse, which is why ACP’s seventh cycle of seed funding aims to give voices a place to be heard in diverse communities. The Abortion Conversation Project (ACP) announced six successful grants totaling $5,000 in its Fall 2015 round of Seed Support Grants. “Each of these projects will expand where and how abortion conversations can happen,” states ACP President, Terry Sallas Merritt.
The “Artivism” project of the COLORado 1 in 3 Youth Council will blend artistic expression with activism on Denver campuses as it fosters dialogue and story collection to destigmatize abortion among young people, especially Latina women. In Buffalo, NY ACP funds will be used to start a Western NY Reproductive Justice Film Series to stimulate discussion and also encourage small acts of social awareness. The group Passion for Women and Children in Malawi will create a short video to put a human face on abortion in a country where the procedure is highly restricted and stigmatized.
The NYC Doula Project will produce an Abortion Self Care booklet to be shared with patients and other doula groups, thus sharing the philosophy of nonjudgmental care to a greater community. Lena Hann will use her Seed Grant to develop a guide to help clinic workers show interested patients fetal tissue. The Clinic Vest Project will provide more brightly colored vests to patient escort services all over the country.
“Each cycle we are impressed with the level of commitment to end abortion stigma and these projects have shown innovative approaches to shifting the culture around abortion dialogue. It is an honor for us to support them with seed funding as well as a connection for resources and problem-solving,” noted Sallas Merritt.
ACP’s mission is “to challenge the polarization that characterizes abortion conversation, lessen the stigmatization of abortion, and promote speaking and listening with empathy, dignity, and resilience about even the most difficult aspects of abortion.” In addition to funding, ACP supports grant partners in outreach, fund-raising, evaluation and sustainability or next-steps.
Founded in 2000, ACP spent its early years promoting post abortion emotional health, de-stigmatizing abortion through handouts for parents, partners, and patients themselves, and staging community conversations to have deeper conversations among diverse pro-choice audiences. Currently, ACP offers small “seed” grants to engage many more people in its mission. The next cycle starts July 1st, 2016.
The Abortion Conversation Project has given seed grants to 25 groups and individuals over the past 2 and a half years. Why? And , what is the impact?
First of all, how does culture change happen? If you are following the model that the Sea Change Program created, it starts with bringing affected individuals together to talk. Then, they might try to extend their perceptions of abortion to other people, to an institution they belong to, to the media, or to change policy or laws. Stigma works on all levels at once, so there are a lot of fronts to bust the stigma surrounding abortion.
We feel that working on a grassroots level with small groups or individuals has a lot of promise. There are a lot of national efforts, some very effective, but to engage people in a community where you can talk face to face is very powerful in shifting people’s attitudes. It’s rare to be asked to join in some activity in your town, and not just donate money or sign a petition. We think culture change starts with a connection.
We at ACP also believe in creativity and innovation. Truthfully, we love art in all forms. We love when people come up with new and interesting ways to connect and to amplify their voices. We hope our seed grants encourage a creative touch to busting abortion stigma.
And impact. It’s hard to know who will be touched by the new mural at Whole Woman’s Health in McAllen Texas. Or, by a Plants 4 Patients pot received by a patient at Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, ND. We can’t always know, but we work hard with our grantees to plan and evaluate projects so that we can maximize impact.
Finally, as much as money helps, we like to think that our support helps even more. We offer advice on organizing, planning, evaluating, and more. Frankly, who doesn’t need a cheerleader for their work?
So, just a few days til our Nov. 1 deadline. Next one July 1st!