Celebrating Our Fellows and Leaders of Moral Courage

In looking back over 2019, by far the most meaningful and exciting project we undertook was the Fellowship for Leaders of Moral Courage. In partnership with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Faith in Women designed and piloted a 12-week intensive course of study to explore the meaning of “moral courage” at the intersection of religion and reproductive health, rights, and justice. Together with our first cohort of Mississippi- and Louisiana-based fellows, we tackled sacred questions like: 

What does it look like to embody courage in the struggle for justice?

How do we care for ourselves and each other in the work of uprooting oppression?

In what ways does self-examination bolster our efforts to create a society that values the common good? 

How do we create brave space together?

Eight fellows from a range of professions including religious leadership, education, public health, social work, and advocacy, gathered over the summer to learn from one another and share their individual expertise. Grounded in reproductive justice, the fellowship centered on the history of reproductive oppression in Mississippi and how this past informs our current day struggles for freedom and dignity. Learning from activists and experts including Cherisse Scott of Sister Reach, Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of the Highland Center, and Sean Saifa Wall, we recognized the strengths and the limitations of the current framework of reproductive rights and imagined a more expansive and inclusive vision around the idea of reproductive dignity for Mississippi. 

Through a combination of in-person retreats, self-study, and virtual meet-ups, our fellows worked collaboratively to navigate the leadership challenges they face in the field and to gain a deeper awareness of themselves, their faith, and their calling. Together we discerned and discussed the particular skills and gifts that we each bring to the work of justice, realizing that though our intervention styles may differ, each is an essential part of the overall fabric of justice work.  

One of the biggest areas of practical skill-building for the fellows was the art of storytelling. Together we explored what makes a story powerful, and over the course of the fellowship each fellow worked to craft a personal narrative of how their faith has shaped their understanding of reproductive freedom and dignity.

Looking ahead, we at Faith in Women feel called in 2020 to deepen our contribution to shifting the narrative around reproductive freedom and dignity in Mississippi. Over the coming year, we will be exploring the stories that we tell and how our vulnerability can be our greatest strength in these challenging times.

What We’re Grateful For in 2019

Gratitude is not so much a feeling but a practice–an important one, particularly in times when so little seems to be aligning with our hopes for the world. Even so, we can find hope in unexpected places. Here is what we are giving thanks for this month at Faith in Women. 

We are inspired by the first ever Daring Compassion: Movement Chaplaincy Training that is taking place right now. Activists, religious leaders, and other justice-inspired people from around the country are participating in a 12-week online learning program designed to equip individuals to provide emotional and spiritual care within our movements for social change. This course is co-instructed by Hilary Allen and friend of Faith in Women Micky ScottBey Jones, both from the Faith Matters Network. To learn more about the training and get updates on future trainings, visit the Movement Chaplaincy Training website. 

November 13th was Contraception Access Day, and we’re saying #ThxBirthControl all month long. From regulating menstrual cycles and easing painful periods to preventing unintended pregnancies and reducing risk of gynecological cancer, access to reliable forms of contraception is essential for gender equality, bodily autonomy, family planning, and reproductive dignity. We are also thankful to our partners that provide sexuality education to ensure every person has the information they need to make informed decisions about their bodies, families, and futures. 

Everyday the Jackson Women’s Health Center, also known as the “Pink House” and the only abortion provider in Mississippi,” is targeted by anti-choice extremists who attempt to intimidate staff and patients with shouting and even bullhorns. In response the Jackson City Council voted 3-1 to enforce a noise ordinance that in addition to banning the use of amplifiers and speakers, provides a protective “bubble” both for the clinic and for those entering its doors. The Jackson Free Press covered the specifics of the new ordinance which went into effect October 1st. 

Judge Carlton Reeves, nominated by President Obama in 2010 to the position of district judge for the Southern District of Mississippi, has twice struck down legislation that would severely limit–or even outright ban–access to abortion in the state. In 2018 he struck down a fifteen-week ban, and this year he blocked an even more restrictive six-week ban. Judge Reeves said the six-week ban “smacks of defiance to this court.” 

And, we are grateful to our Faith in Women partners, members, supporters, and activists. Faith in Women started as an experimental project in 2015, and because of your support and perseverance, our organization has grown into a vibrant spiritual force for change in our state and beyond. Thank you, thank you!

Advocacy Spotlight: Gender-Based Violence

We yearn for a world where every person lives with dignity, health, and joy — where no one lives in fear of violence in their home or out in the world. In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness month, we will be shining a light on the realities of gender-based violence and sharing resources for survivors and advocates.  

What is gender-based violence? 

Sometimes we conflate the terms “domestic violence” and “gender-based violence,” but they actually aren’t the same thing. 

Domestic violence or intimate partner violence “is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.” National Domestic Violence Hotline

Gender-based violence (GBV) “refers to any act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and is based on gender norms and unequal power relationships.” United Nations Refugee Agency

While domestic violence refers to abuse occurring within intimate relationships, gender-based violence can take place regardless of relationship status. GBV can take many forms, including:

Who is impacted by gender-based violence? 

Gender-based violence affects people of every gender identity—not just cisgender women—and in every kind of relationship, not just heterosexual ones. For example, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Study, conducted by the CDC in 2010, showed that the rates of intimate partner violence are actually higher for lesbian and bisexual women than heterosexual ones.  According to the U.S. Transgender Survey, conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality in 2015, Nearly half (47%) of all transgender people have been sexually assaulted. 

Gender-based violence starts when people are young — and the effects are long-lasting One in three teenage girls have experienced some form of intimate-partner violence. Young people who experience abuse are at higher risk for disordered eating, substance abuse, unintended pregnancy, and death by suicide. 

People of color are at an even higher risk of GBV than their white counterparts. In a 2008 CDC study, 39% of Native women surveyed identified as victims of intimate partner violence in their lifetime, a rate higher than any other race or ethnicity surveyed. 30% of Black women experience this kind of abuse, and are nearly three times more likely to die as a result of the violence they experience than white women. 

What resources are available for survivors and advocates?

There are many organizations working to end all forms of gender-based violence around the world. Here are a few we recommend:

For churches and religious organizations: The FaithTrust Institute, started in 1977 by Marie Fortune, works primarily with faith communities around abuse. They offer consulting and training, and they also have a number of webinars that you can watch for free on their website.

For those who identify as male/masculine-of-center: Men Can Stop Rape is an organization committed to promoting healthy masculinity as a way of preventing gender-based violence. They host an annual Healthy Masculinity Summit in Washington, D.C.

If you’re in Mississippi: The Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence is working to bring about social change through local and statewide advocacy, technical assistance for shelters, and public awareness and education. And if you’re looking for resources on healthy teen relationships and preventing teen dating violence, you can contact our partner organization Teen Health Mississippi.

For survivors looking for confidential support: 

Advocacy Spotlight: The Equal Rights Amendment

Did you know that there is no constitutional protection that explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex? That is because the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which was introduced in Congress nearly 100 years ago, has never been ratified. Mississippi is one of thirteen states that have failed to support this amendment. Without the necessary three-fourths of states supporting the ERA, equal rights for all citizens is still not guaranteed by the Constitution on the basis of sex.   

Background of the ERA

The ERA is a lot older than many people think. In 1923 Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman, leaders in the women’s suffrage movement, wrote the Equal Rights Amendment that stated

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Support for the amendment blossomed in the 1960s and 1970s as the movements for women’s rights and civil rights gained traction. With overwhelming bipartisan support behind it, the ERA easily passed both the House of Representatives and Senate in the early 1970s, and it was submitted to the state legislatures for ratification. 

By 1977 thirty-five of the necessary thirty-eight states had ratified the ERA. Many Mississippi groups, including the Mississippi Nurses Association, the Jackson Women’s Coalition, and the Mississippi Hairdressers and Cosmetologists were active in campaigning for the ERA in the state. But another campaign was working against them: the “STOP (Stop Taking Our Privileges) ERA,” led most notably by conservative political activist Phyllis Schlafly. Their messages centered around their support of male dominance and their distrust of the federal government. Unfortunately, STOP ERA thwarted the political momentum towards the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment primarily by targeting policy makers in southern states. When the ERA was introduced in the Mississippi state legislature in 1973, it didn’t receive enough support to make it out of committee for a full vote. 

Why is the ERA important today? 

Its language is simple, but its effect would be powerful. The Equal Rights Amendment would enshrine the equality of the sexes into our Constitution and protect the rights of not only women, but also people who are nonbinary, queer, or trans, from the whims of Congress and the states.

Though various protections for women and LGBTQ individuals have been won legistiavely, these efforts to piecemeal protections have left gaps and loopholes, and some require ongoing Congressional support, such as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which requires regular reuthorization for continued funding. A Constitutional amendment could close those gaps. Additionally, if ratified the ERA could be a critical piece of advocating for reproductive rights, health, and justice–one of the very reasons that anti-choice activists have worked so hard to organize against its ratification. 

The ERA is still viable, and it’s just as vital now as it was almost a hundred years ago. The state of Nevada ratified the ERA in 2017, followed quickly by the state of Illinois in 2018. That means only one more state is needed to move the Equal Rights Amendment out of limbo. Currently efforts to ratify the ERA are active in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida. 

What can Mississippians do to advocate for the ERA?

The key to ratifying the ERA is building awareness for it among voters and pressuring state legislators to support it. One way to keep informed on both the state and national level is to sign up for updates from organizations like the Alice Paul Institute and the Equal Means Equal project, an initiative supported by the Heroica Foundation which also produced a documentary film about the ERA called Equal Means Equal. To learn more about how to host a screening in your community, visit their website.


Introducing Rev. Anna Fleming-Jones

Rev. Anna Fleming-Jones is a native Mississippian and an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. For the last ten years she has served congregations around the state, and this June she was appointed by the Mississippi Conference to serve the mission of Faith in Women. Anna lives in Jackson, Mississippi with her husband and 3-year-old son. 

Q: Welcome to Faith in Women! Tell us a little about yourself. 

A: I’m a United Methodist pastor and throughout my ministry I have spent a lot of time thinking about my place in the institution of the church. I feel called to leadership that is both prophetic and loving. I know that civil rights and human rights are what God wants to see in the world. Part of my spiritual calling is helping every person encounter the divine, and that means working for liberty for all. 

Q: What role will you be playing at Faith in Women? 

A: I’ll be working on a number of initiatives, including supporting our fellowship program that pairs faith leaders with leaders in reproductive health, rights, and justice movement. When people feel empowered to speak up about these issues, it makes a huge difference. 

I will also be looking at how to create spaces and networks of spiritual support for people who are making reproductive decisions or who are encountering difficult reproductive experiences, including infertility and miscarriage. Related to that, I’m interested in how to provide pastoral support for people who are activists in this movement. I recognize that spiritual formation, like going on a silent retreat or working with a spiritual director, is often a luxury that many can’t access. How do we make it more available for those who need it most? 

Q: These are troubling times for reproductive health, rights, and justice work. What gives you hope in this moment? 

A: I do feel like beginning my work with Faith in Women in this moment is divine timing. My church voted on my appointment to serve in this role, and people were excited by the intersectional approach of the work. The mission of Faith in Women aligns with our values as a denomination, and I have had a lot of positive conversations with people, including those who hold more conservative views. There are opportunities in this moment to see how we can come together to make our state better. 

Q: What about this work makes you the most excited? 

I want to help us explore the question: are we living up to our stated and unstated values as a church and as a society?  That starts with creating space for conversation around issues of reproductive dignity and working to center voices in our churches and communities that have traditionally been excluded and silenced. I’m looking forward to that work.

Celebrating Legislative Protections for Reproductive Rights

Abortion restrictions and bans seem to be dominating headlines on a daily basis. As attacks on reproductive rights continue to rise and increase in severity, it can be easy to overlook the significant achievements and strides being made to protect and expand access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare in several states around the country. These legislative victories from the past month are worth celebrating as they provide inspiration and practical strategies to guide our work in the coming weeks, months, and years. 


This month the state of Illinois passed the Reproductive Health Act, a comprehensive bill that protects abortion in a number of ways. First, it requires all insurance plans, public and private, to provide coverage for abortion care. Second, it removes targeted restrictions for abortion providers and expands the pool of providers to include nurses and physician assistants. Third, it repeals old state laws that criminalized abortion. Fourth, it allows for second trimester abortion without requiring a second physician’s opinion for medically-necessary procedures.


Nevada’s governor signed into law legislation that ends the practice of compelling proivders to share the “emotional implications” of getting an abortion witht their patients. Under this new law providers are no longer required to ask about a patient’s marital status or age prior to their care. Similar to the Illinois legislation, it also removes criminal penalties for those who provide abortion medication without the advice of a doctor. Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement, “Nevada has a long history of trusting the women of our state to make their own reproductive health care decisions and protecting the right to reproductive freedom.”


In an effort to expand abortion access to those living in rural areas, Maine passed legislation that would allow medical professionals who are not physicians, inlcuding nurses and physician assistants, to provide abortion care in the state. Governor Janet Mills said, “By signing this bill into law, Maine is defending the rights of women and taking a step towards equalizing access to care as other states are seeking to undermine, rollback, or outright eliminate these services.” 

And… Mississippi

While politicians in our state scale up their fight against reproductive rights, there are fearless and faithful activists in our state working tirelessly to protect them, like Laurie Bertram Roberts, Shannon Brewer, and Derenda Hancock, whose work to ensure abortion access for Mississippians was profiled in the New York Times magazine, and Judge Carlton Reeves, who blocked the 6-week abortion ban proposed by the state legislature, stating in his ruling that the ban “prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy.” 

Lastly, in these difficult times, many faith leaders, some for the first time, are raising their voices in support of reproductive dignity and decrying the injustice of the abortion bans spreading like wildfire in the South and Midwest. Rev. Emily Heath, a pastor in the United Church of Christ, preached for the first time about abortion. They ended their sermon with this call to action: “This is our chance, as Christians, to change the narrative. Moderate and progressive Christians are rarely the ones chosen to be talking heads on the evening news when it comes to matters of faith. That’s because we’ve been too quiet. But that can change. That must change. Our moral voice, our voice of Christ’s love, is needed more than ever.”

May Resource Review: Our Top 5 Podcast Picks


Are you looking for an easy way to keep up to speed on the latest news and stories related to reproductive health, rights, and justice? Our team has listened to hundreds of podcasts episodes over the years, and we have curated a list of recommended episodes for your daily commute or your next road trip. We hope these stories and discussions will help keep you grounded in the real stories of people impacted by reproductive oppression and inspire you to take action.

Not sure how to listen to a podcast? Check this guide out to get you started listening today.


Podcast: The Longest Shortest Time

Episode We Recommend: One Mom’s Late Term Abortion

Content Warning: This episode discusses the circumstances that led to ending a wanted pregnancy. As much as this is a story about abortion, this is also a story about losing a terminally ill child. If that’s a sensitive subject for you, keep that in mind before you listen.”

Description: “At a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, President Donald Trump recently spoke about a procedure he refers to as “extreme late-term abortion” – a graphic made-up procedure. But what really happens? Late-term abortions make up less that 1% of all abortions, and are usually sought due to medical complications. There are laws in 43 states limiting when and how they happen. But, the more we read about the procedure in the headlines, the more we started wondering about the voice we never hear — the mother’s. Margot Finn tells us about getting hers at 29 weeks, and how it turned her into a parent.”


Podcast: Sexing History (hosted by friend of Faith in Women, historian Dr. Gillian Frank!)

Episode We Recommend: Sherri

Description: “In August of 1962, Sherri Chessen boarded a flight to Sweden in order to get an abortion after she was unable to obtain one in the United States. Sherri had accidentally taken medicine containing thalidomide, a drug that caused children to be born with internal injuries and shortened limbs. Her decision to terminate this risky pregnancy and her journey abroad attracted international attention from journalists, politicians, and religious leaders. Her widely shared story changed the way many Americans thought about abortion laws and even about abortion itself.”


Podcast: Dex, Sex, and Money

Episode We Recommend: I Wanted to be a Good Girl

Description: “Andrea grew up attending an evangelical church in Texas, where she was taught to abstain from sex until marriage and keep herself sexually “pure.” That early sex education—and her decision to have premarital sex anyway—had long-lasting impact, well into her adulthood.”

This episode is the first in a series called Our Sex (Mis)Educations.


Podcast: Intersectionality Matters

Episode We Recommend: Black Women & #MeToo: From Hollywood to Hip Hop

Description: “After hip hop icon Dr. Dre brutally assaulted trailblazing emcee and television personality Dee Barnes in 1991, his career continued to skyrocket while she was effectively blacklisted from the entertainment industry. Nearly three decades later, Dre, who has allegedly assaulted several other women in addition, continues to enjoy a decorated career in which his heinous misdeeds have become mere footnotes. The combination of racism and patriarchy is the condition of possibility that allows Beats by Dre to be well-known commodities while beatings by Dre remain largely overlooked.”

This episode features a panel discussion with Rashida Jones, Beverly Johnson, Jamilah Lemieux, historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, Kenyette Tisha Barnes, and Kimberlé Crenshaw.


Podcast: Kindreds

Episode We Recommend: Men and Feminism

Description: “Can men even be feminists? And if they can, why would they *want* to be feminists?” This episode is a conversation about patriarchy, toxic and tender masculinities, and displays of allyship from men and boys that we can all celebrate.”

Partner Highlight: Center for Ministry at Millsaps College

At Faith in Women we talk a lot about thriving in our vision for Mississippi’s most vulnerable women and girls. And we believe that the opportunity to grow and flourish is something that every person deserves. That is why we are excited to highlight the work of the Center for Ministry at Millsaps College, in particular their newest program Thriving in Ministry focused on supporting clergywomen across the South.

About the Center for Ministry

Formed in 1998 as a partnership between Millsaps College and the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC), the Center for Ministry supports faith leaders through lifelong learning programs, including continuing education classes, spiritual direction training, and spiritual formation programs. Rev. Paige Swaim-Presley, an ordained elder and spiritual director n the UMC, has served as Executive Director of the Center since 2016. In an article about her leadership of the Center, Rev. Swaim-Presley spoke of her commitment to expanding their offerings for learning: “I am passionate about creating opportunities for all people, particularly clergy and laity within the United Methodist tradition that is so uniquely a part of Millsaps College’s identity.” 

Faith in Women and the Center for Ministry have a strong relationship, partnering on projects like 2017’s Called to Courage event at Millsaps College and a training series for clergy and youth leaders on teen dating violence prevention.

Thriving in Ministry Program

Thanks to a $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, the Center for Ministry has established a new program called Thriving in Ministry which focuses on supporting the ministry of clergywomen across the South. We are thrilled that Faith in Women member Rev. Elizabeth Henry has been named the program director of this exciting new initiative which will “support, resource, and empower clergywomen toward thriving during a key season of professional transition: as they prepare for, or begin, their first pastorate as a solo or senior pastor.”

Why focus specifically on clergywomen?

Women remain less likely than men to lead the largest churches or to be senior pastors of mid-sized congregations; they are more likely to be associates; and they also receive less on average in compensation. The specific challenges clergywomen in leadership face are particularly concerning because they include a lack of opportunity for authenticity and membership in the larger clergy community, struggles in their relationships with significant others, challenges in attending to personal care and renewal, and difficulty in identifying role models and mentors, all of which the Flourishing in Ministry study (Notre Dame) identifies as extremely important for cultivating pastoral well-being. This makes the challenges women face as they prepare for or transition into leadership as solo or senior pastors all the more urgent, and all the more important, to address.

This program will have three 15-month cohorts and will include:

  • Ecumenical peer groups 
  • Large-group retreats
  • Restorative activities
  • Congregational training
  • Spiritual direction/coaching

Are you or someone you know a clergywoman interested in this program?

Applications for the first cohort will be accepted through May 31. Learn more about the program and how to apply at centerforministry.com.


Honoring Mississippi’s Change Makers

Fannie Lou Hamer once said, “You don’t run away from problems–you just face them.” Throughout our nation’s history Mississippi women, particularly women of color, have been standing up and speaking out for change.

On March 9, 2019, a powerful group of organizations and individuals came together on the Coast to celebrate International Women’s Day with a lineup of dynamic speakers followed by a march. Standout speaker Kenyatta Thomas, 19-year-old student activist and organizer from Pascagoula, challenged the audience to examine the ways in which we reinforce white cultural dominance during Women’s History Month by lifting up the stories of the same white women, year after year.  

As we continue to honor Women’s History this month, we are heeding Thomas’s challenge to re-examine those whom we lift up and those we omit, and we want to do better. There are countless African-American women from Mississippi who have demonstrated tremendous courage, strength, and tenacity in the pursuit of justice and human rights. Today we remember the legacy of some of these extraordinary women, and we celebrate the women and girls today who carry the torch of hope into our state’s future.


Fannie Lou Hamer, civil rights leader

Born in 1917 Fannie Lou Hamer grew up as a sharecropper and become one of the most influential activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights movement. In 1961 Hamer went to her local hospital for minor surgery, and without her consent or knowledge, she received a hysterectomy. The sterilization of black women was such a widespread practice that it earned a nickname: “a Mississippi appendectomy.”

A year later Hamer, who had recently attended a meeting for voting rights, joined a group from her community to visit the county seat where they attempted to register to vote, only to be turned away. On the way home when their bus was stopped, the driver arrested, and the passengers detained, Hamer began singing spirituals, a trademark of her activism.  

Despite persecution, arrests, and violence, Hamer remained a steadfast leader in the civil rights movement throughout her life. She was one of the founders of the Freedom Democratic Party and the National Women’s Political Office, ran for state office, and worked on a grassroots level to register African-American voters in Mississippi. She died in 1977.


Ida B. Wells, investigative journalist and activist  

A renowned journalist and civil rights activist, Ida B. Wells was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). When she was born, she and her family were enslaved–the Emancipation Proclamation had not yet been signed. As a teenager Wells lost both of her parents and an infant brother to an epidemic of Yellow Fever.

Wells pursued her education and became a school teacher, but she also had a knack for journalism–though it would cost her dearly. After founding a newspaper in Memphis, she began investigating lynchings in the South. She lost her teaching job, and a white mob destroyed her newspaper office.

After leaving the South for Chicago, Wells continued her activism for African Americans and women and became a prominent leader in the efforts for equal rights and suffrage. She later ran for office, one of the first American-American women to do so. She died in 1931.    


Myrlie Evers-Williams, activist and journalist  

A former chairwoman of the NAACP and prolific author, Myrlie Evers-Williams was born in Vicksburg. She worked alongside her husband Medgar Evans to end racial segregation in Mississippi. After he was killed by a white supremacist in 1963, Evers-Williams fought to bring the killer to justice. Evers-Williams rose through the ranks of the NAACP and was named Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine. In 2013 she delivered the invocation at President Obama’s second inauguration.    


Genesis Be, musician and human rights activist

Originally from Biloxi, Genesis Be has roots in the civil rights movement. Her grandfather was Rev. Clyde Briggs, a prominent activist in 1960s Mississippi. Today Genesis Be uses her musical platform to address political issues and advocate for human rights. Several years ago during a show in New York she performed with a confederate flag in reaction to Gov. Phil Bryant’s declaration of April as “Confederate Heritage Month.”  In reflecting on this artistic decision, Genesis Be commented, I would love to see a time when both sides can come together for dialog and acknowledge the pain, the guilt, and see how to make this a more united Mississippi.”


Angie Thomas,  author

A Jackson native, Angie Thomas is an award-winning author. Her book The Hate U Give debuted number one on the New York Times Bestseller list for young adult fiction and was adapted into a movie in 2018. The story centers around the police shooting of a young black man and the Black Lives Matter movement. Thomas’s latest book On the Come Up is available now.

Caring for Ourselves in Troubling Times

Three decades ago Audre Lorde, the feminist poet and activist,  wrote, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare. ” All of these years later Lorde’s framing of self-care is critically important as we struggle for justice in these tumultuous days. Continuing the arduous work of creating a more just, compassionate world requires us to pause, to rest, and to heal. Do not lose heart.

The practice of sustaining ourselves looks different for everyone and may take some experimenting to figure out what works best. Below are a few suggestions to consider trying as we navigate the days and months ahead. Many of these ideas are probably ones you’ve heard before, but we hope this list serves as a gentle reminder to make your well-being a priority. 

Show your body some love and gratitude. The stress and ‘busyness’ of life often take a toll on our physical health, but we don’t always feel it until a crisis comes on. So do what you can to give your body the care and respect it deserves. Schedule that haircut or teeth cleaning you’ve been putting off. Actually take your lunch breaks (away from your desk!) Get outside, play with that puppy, crank up that music. When stress runs high, practice a few deep breaths or gentle stretches.

Consume news mindfully. Identify what sources of news are triggering and which are helpful in keeping you informed. If news notifications are distracting or anxiety-inducing, turn them off. If you’re worried about missing an important story, consider blocking off fifteen minutes in the morning (preferably not right after you wake up) and in the evening (preferably not right before going to bed) to get caught up.

Unfollow social media accounts that cause unnecessary stress. If there is a particular news outlet, pundit, or personality that constantly makes your blood boil, protect your energy by clicking “unfollow.” Online marketers purposefully exploit our emotions for revenue, so don’t let them! As with news consumption, consider scheduling a finite block of time for social media. You may even want to delete the apps from your phone or tablet to prevent mindless scrolling.

Choose online battles wisely. Not every argument is worth your time. When there is a matter you’d like to discuss, share your expertise wisely and compassionately, and feel free to practice the “chime in and let it go.” You can even turn off notifications for that particular conversation thread.

Likewise, choose in-person battles wisely. It’s ok– and even healthy– to say no to that committee, or march, or meeting. The path to justice is not a sprint, or a marathon. It’s a relay. It’s ok to pass the baton to others when you’re low on spirit or need time to recharge. Remember this advice from La Sarmiento: “Know that in any given moment, our comrades are working for causes that matter. For one of us to take a break for a few minutes or a few days is totally OK.”

Remember that you are not alone. Isolation can be soul crushing. We’re here for you! If you’re looking for more support and solidarity, please send a request to join our private Faith in Women Facebook group. We’d love to have you. Or send us an email!