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Fortification

Movements for justice are expanding and shifting around us. We must take care of each other and ourselves in these times of resistance and backlash. In recent conversations mapping movement and how faith communities can be of use, organizer Elandria Williams used the language of political and spiritual ‘fortification’ as a key need of justice seekers, activists and spiritually-rooted organizers at this time. We are using this frame to help us name the kinds of work that folks across the country are so thirsty for. We are excited to return with Fortification: a podcast about the spiritual lives and spiritual sustenance of leaders in social justice movements including one-on-one conversations between Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President, Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary and movement leaders, organizers and activists. Fortification is a joint project of Auburn Seminary and Side with Love, a campaign of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
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Jul 10, 2019

In our final conversation for Season 3, Caitlin spoke with Prentis Hemphill. The conversation touches on complicating innocence and guilt, transformative justice practices, movement culture and patterns and much more. Check it out.

Prentis Hemphill is movement facilitator, Somatics teacher and practitioner, and writer living and working at the convergence of healing, individual and collective transformation, and political organizing. Prentis spent many years working with powerful movements and organizations, most recently as the Healing Justice Director at Black Lives Matter Global Network.

referenced in this episode

BOLD (Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity)

generative somatics

Healing work & collaboration with Francisca Porchas Coronado & Mark-Anthony Johnson

read more about Prentis on their website

Jul 3, 2019

In this conversation Caitlin speaks with John Fife about the opportunities and challenges faith institutions face in confronting empire, lessons from organizing in Southern Arizona and much more.

The Rev. John Fife is a retired Presbyterian minister, human rights advocate and a founding patriarch of the Sanctuary Movement. Between 1982-92, some 15,000 Central Americans came through his church, Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Ariz., seeking safe harbor or assistance after fleeing civil war and death squads in their home countries. Read more about his history of work here.

referenced in the episode

Southside Presbyterian Church

No More Deaths // No Más Muertes

latest from No More Deaths

Jun 26, 2019

In this conversation, Caitlin chats with Jen Harvey about possibilities for repairing harm caused by historic and current white supremacy, resource redistribution, parenting and more.

Rev. Dr. Jennifer Harvey is a writer, educator and activist whose passion for just social change means she constantly returns to questions racial justice and white anti-racism. She teaches at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa where she is the Faculty Director for the Crew Scholars Program. Dr. Harvey's books include Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in Racially Unjust America and Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation, she has published in a variety of public venues (including CNN.com and the New York Times), is active her local chapter of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice), and is a widely sought after public speaker who is ordained in the American Baptist Churches (USA). You can follow her on twitter @drjenharvey.

referenced in this episode

Iowa City Showing up for Racial Justice

Drake University Crew Scholars

Jun 19, 2019

We were able to speak with Krystal Two Bulls and Matt Howard in Spring 2019 about their work, leadership and movement with About Face: Veterans Against the War

Krystal is an Oglala Lakota and Northern Cheyenne woman who reminds us that what matters is what we fight for, not what we fight against. Krystal is a new member to About Face: Veterans Against the War, having joined in August 2018. She served in the US Army Reserves for 8 years and was deployed to Kuwait in 2009. Krystal is new to the anti-militarism conversation, but has significant knowledge and experience in environmental justice, Indigenous Sovereignty and social justice campaigns. She works to decolonize the approaches and methods that we utilize within movement spaces.

Matt has worked with About Face: Veterans Against the War in various capacities since 2011 including as Chapter president in the Bay area, local organizer in Texas with the Operation Recovery campaign, as Communications Director and currently as Co-Director. He served in the Marine Corps as a helicopter mechanic from 2001 to 2006 and deployed twice to Iraq where he became deeply opposed to the occupations and discovered a commitment to social change work.

Jun 12, 2019

In this conversation between Amita Swadhin and Caitlin Breedlove, we dive into choosing relationships and interdependence, building community and healing networks and the frequent failure of organizations to deal with and support folks who have experienced trauma and violence nor commit to building systemic solutions. This important conversation includes details about childhood sexual assault.

Amita Swadhin is a queer, non-binary, femme South Asian American. They are an alchemist, storyteller, educator, organizer and strategist who channels their experience of surviving childhood rape and family violence into efforts to end rape culture and other forms of oppression. In 2016, they founded the National Mirror Memoirs project, centering LGBTQI+ people of color who survived child sexual abuse. There are 60 storytellers across 15 states in the initial audio archive.

Learn more about, support and share Mirror Memoirs fundraising page to support this crucial work.

referenced in this episode

Mirror Memoirs Oral History Project

How you can support Mirror Memoirs

Care Work by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Queering Sexual Violence: An anthology edited by Jennifer Patterson and with a foreword by Reina Gossett

Jun 5, 2019

We had the opportunity to connect with Kiyomi Fujikawa in Winter 2019 and it was such a treat. Check out this conversation with Caitlin Breedlove.

Kiyomi Fujikawa is a Seattle-based, mixed-race queer trans femme who has been involved with movements to end gender- and state-based violence since 2001. Her political home is with queer and trans communities of color and organizing to prevent and respond to intimate partner violence.

Kiyomi is currently on the board of Groundswell Fund and is a Grantmakers United for Trans Communities (GUTC) Leadership Development Fellow. She was most recently a Senior Program Associate at the Fund for Trans Generations at Borealis Philanthropy, and the Queer Network Program Coordinator at API Chaya.

She is also an avid lover of speculative fiction, noodles, astrology (Saj Sun, Cancer-rising, Libra Moon), feelings, and do-it-yourself scavenger hunts.

referenced in this episode:

Third Wave Fund

Wild Seed by Octavia Butler

Kiyomi's book recommendations:

Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars by Kai Cheng Thom

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

The Broken Earth Trilogy by NK Jemisin (5th Season, Obelisk Gate, Stone Sky)

Salt Fish Girl by Larissa Lai

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

intro music by Abhimanyu Janamanchi. production by Nora Rasman.

May 29, 2019

Our hearty conversation between Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray and Caitlin Breedlove dives into humility, leadership, risk and institutional opportunity and threats. Check it out!

Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray was elected President of the Unitarian Universalist Association on June 24, 2017. Prior to her election, she served as Lead Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix, Arizona. Susan played a critical role in the long-term campaign to end the constitutional violations of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Susan received a Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is a lifelong UU who grew up at in the St. Louis area. She lives now in Cambridge, MA with her husband, Brian and their son.

Referenced in this conversation:

Puente Arizona

The Great Turning by Joanna Macy

intro music by Abhimanyu Janamanchi. production by Nora Rasman.

May 22, 2019

We are thrilled to be bringing you this necessary reflection and invitation from Jessica Byrd in conversation with Caitlin Breedlove for our next episode.

Jessica Byrd is the Founder and Chief Doer of the Three Point squad. She founded Three Point Strategies in 2015 to provide a home for electoral strategy that centers racial justice and is transformational rather than transactional.

Jessica has worked on campaigns in 43 states and you can find her at the side of the most exciting races to elect Black women in the country, training hundreds of leaders, and building tools to serve the Movement.

referenced in this episode:

The Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project

Action St. Louis and the work & leadership of Kayla Reed 

Stacey Abrams

intro music by Abhimanyu Janamanchi. production by Nora Rasman.

May 15, 2019

In this episode Caitlin connects and speaks with organizer, researcher and lawyer Andrea Ritchie.

Andrea Ritchie is a Black lesbian immigrant and police misconduct attorney and organizer who has engaged in extensive research, writing, and advocacy around criminalization of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of color over the past two decades. She recently published Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color now available from Beacon Press. 

Ritchie is a nationally recognized expert and sought after commentator on policing issues. She is currently Researcher-in-Residence on Race, Gender, Sexuality and Criminalization at the Social Justice Institute of the Barnard Center for Research on Women. In 2014 she was awarded a Senior Soros Justice Fellowship to engage in documentation and advocacy around profiling and policing of women of color – trans and not trans, queer and not queer. 

Referenced in this episode: 

Andrea's Books: Invisible No More & Queer Injustice

Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality against Black Women by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw and Andrea J. Ritchie

adrienne maree brown

Mariame Kaba

The Mandate by Mary Hooks

Octavia's Brood by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown

Alexis Pauline Gumbs

intro music by Abhimanyu Janamanchi. production by Nora Rasman.

May 8, 2019

We're back and we are so excited to be bringing you part two of this juicy conversation to launch our third season between Caitlin Breedlove and Susan Raffo. See our first part of the conversation in the May 1 episode. 

More about Susan: I am a queer woman on the other side of menopause who was raised white and uses she/her pronouns. My ancestral lineages represent the colonizer and the colonized. I am descended from southern and western european people and from people native to this land. I have experienced early and deep grief and loss and I have experienced different kinds of violence directed towards my body as well as the people around me. I am also loved really, really well. These are some of the things that inform how I do my work. I have almost always lived in midwestern spaces. I come from a mixed class background. I am currently able-bodied but have been in family with and continue to be in family with people living with disabilities. As a bodyworker, I feel pretty fiercely (and oh how many mistakes I make) about constantly uprooting ableism in this work. I am a mother, oh how I love being a mother. And I love the butch Brazilian woman I’ve lived with for a quarter of a century. I believe that identity is not an individual thing but a collective thing, meaning, my identities are as much about the people I share them with as it is about the things I name here. I work as a bodyworker, a cultural worker and a writer. You can find my blog and other things here: www.susanraffo.com.

referenced in this episode

Heteropatriarchy & the Three Pillars of White Supremacy by Andrea Smith 

The Peoples Movement Center 

Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life by Diane Wilson

Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown 

Southerners on New Ground 

Revolutionary Mothering and the work of Alexis Pauline Gumbs

tell us your thoughts about fortification in this short survey. thank you!

intro music by Abhimanyu Janamanchi. production by Nora Rasman.

May 1, 2019

We're back and we are so excited to be bringing you this juicy conversation to launch our third season between Caitlin Breedlove and Susan Raffo.

More about Susan: I am a queer woman on the other side of menopause who was raised white and uses she/her pronouns. My ancestral lineages represent the colonizer and the colonized. I am descended from southern and western european people and from people native to this land. I have experienced early and deep grief and loss and I have experienced different kinds of violence directed towards my body as well as the people around me. I am also loved really, really well. These are some of the things that inform how I do my work. I have almost always lived in midwestern spaces. I come from a mixed class background. I am currently able-bodied but have been in family with and continue to be in family with people living with disabilities. As a bodyworker, I feel pretty fiercely (and oh how many mistakes I make) about constantly uprooting ableism in this work. I am a mother, oh how I love being a mother. And I love the butch Brazilian woman I’ve lived with for a quarter of a century. I believe that identity is not an individual thing but a collective thing, meaning, my identities are as much about the people I share them with as it is about the things I name here. I work as a bodyworker, a cultural worker and a writer. You can find my blog and other things here: www.susanraffo.com.

referenced in this episode

Heteropatriarchy & the Three Pillars of White Supremacy by Andrea Smith 

The Peoples Movement Center 

Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life by Diane Wilson

Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown 

Southerners on New Ground 

Revolutionary Mothering and the work of Alexis Pauline Gumbs

tell us your thoughts about fortification in this short survey. thank you!

intro music by Abhimanyu Janamanchi. production by Nora Rasman.

Apr 18, 2019

An update from Caitlin Breedlove about our upcoming return with Season 3. We're so excited to be bringing back Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership in coming weeks. 

With 10 new interviews recorded this Winter and Spring, we'll be sharing interviews with movement organizers and scholars, healers, spiritual and religious leaders and more.

We also want to get to know about and learn a little more from our listeners! Click here to fill out a quick survey for us. Thank you and we'll be back soon.

Mar 14, 2018

In this week's episode of Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership, Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President of Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary is joined by Paulina Helm-Hernández.

Paulina Helm-Hernández is a queer femme cha-cha girl, artist, trainer, political organizer, strategist & troublemaker-at-large from Veracrúz, Mexico. She grew up in rural North Carolina, and is currently growing roots in Atlanta, GA. She is the past Co-Director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG), having joined the staff after coordinating the Southern regional youth activism program at the Highlander Research & Education Center for over 4 years. Paulina has a background in farm worker and immigrant / refugee rights organizing, cultural work, youth organizing, anti-violence work, and liberation work that centers people most affected by violence, poverty, war and racism.

Paulina is also a founding member of the national First Nations / Two Spirit Collective, a queer & trans indigenous movement-building cadre, and has served on the boards of YouthAction, Student Action with Farmworkers and The Third Wave Foundation. Paulina currently sits on the Vision and Strategies Council of Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective, and is always exploring ways to deepen political unity with people willing to fight and organize for collective liberation.

Feb 28, 2018

In this week's episode of Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership, Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President of Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary is joined by Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele.

Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele

Rev. Maxfield-Steele is the co-director of the Highlander Center in Tennessee. Raised in Texas, Germany and North Carolina, Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele’s movement work has included solidarity struggles with Thai people’s movements, work as an educator and organizer in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and a range of support for front-line struggles in Nashville, Tennessee, and throughout the South and Appalachia. As a member of the Educational Network for Global and Grassroots Exchange (ENGAGE), Allyn was a member of Highlander’s 2010 Threads cohort and served as an adult ally for the 2010 Seeds of Fire youth program. He joined Highlander’s Board of Directors in 2011, where most recently he has served as chair of the board. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Allyn has served congregations in Juneau, Alaska, Nashville, and Springfield, TN. Allyn’s focus and interests lie at the intersection of radical pastoral care, institutional transformation, dismantling toxic white masculinities, and liberation-driven ministry and movement building, especially in rural and small town communities. Allyn holds a B.A. in History from Wofford College (SC) and a Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School. He comes to Highlander from the Scarritt Bennett Center in Nashville, where he has served as a member of the education team.

Feb 14, 2018

In this week's episode of Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership, Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President of Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary is joined by Miss Major Griffin-Gracy.

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is one of the original pioneers of transgender activism and a champion for Transgender Women of Color, Miss Major leads the cause for transgender rights in the prison industrial complex. She took part in the Stonewall riots. Miss Major is also the Executive Director Emeritus for the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project (TGI Justice Project) and founder of the Haus of GiGi.

Jan 31, 2018

In this week's episode of Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership, Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President of Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary is joined by Pancho Argüelles.

Francisco (Pancho) Argüelles

Pancho is a co-founder of Colectivo Flatlander for Popular Education, based in Houston Texas and current Executive Director of Living Hope Wheelchair Association. He has been instrumental in the establishment of the BRIDGE Project at the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), the Institute for Development of Leadership (INDELI) at the Highlander Research and Education Center, and the Immigrant Rights working group at the National Organizers Alliance. Before moving to the United States Pancho worked as a popular educator in Chiapas, Nicaragua, and other places. He is principal of Paz y Puente, LLC and father to Maria and Antonio.

Jan 17, 2018

In this week's episode of Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership, Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President of Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary is joined by adrienne maree brown.

adrienne maree brown, the Co-Editor of Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements, is a social justice facilitator, healer, doula and pleasure activist living in Detroit. She is a student of emergence, somatics, transformation and science fiction. She is part of the training body of generative somatics, and coordinating the Just Films Narrative Shift Program for Allied Media Projects. She is the 2015-2016 Ursula le Guin Fellowship, the Knight Arts Challenge for 2013 and 2015, a Kresge Literary Arts Fellow for 2013, in the inaugural Speculative Fiction Workshop at Voices of Our Nation 2014, and a graduate of the Clarion Sci-Fi and Fantasy Workshop in 2015.

Dec 27, 2017

In this week's episode of Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership, Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President of Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary is joined by Francisca Porchas.

Francisca Porchas Coronado is the organizing director of Puente Human Rights Movement and a leading voice in efforts to end mandatory immigrant detention and address the trauma experienced by frontline communities currently facing criminalization and deportation. Francisca will build a network of healers across the country that employ contemplative practices, such as meditation, expression through art, ancestral spiritual practices, therapy and bodywork to address the needs of the immigrant community. These teams will address community trauma, and provide guidance to frontline organizations on how to integrate healing practices into their work with immigrant communities targeted for deportation.

Dec 13, 2017

In this week's episode of Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership, Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President of Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary is joined by Melvin Bray.

Melvin Bray (http://better.melvinbray.com/) is an Emmy® award-winning storyteller, social entrepreneur, and author who lives with his wife, three kids and two dogs in southwest Atlanta, GA. He is an active participant in vanguard networks seeking more beautiful, more just, more virtue-filled ways of showing up in the world. He is author of the soon to be bestselling BETTER: Waking Up to Who We Could Be, co-editor of Faith Forward, Vol 1 and Vol 2 (Copper House, 2013, 2015), which explore ways children’s and youth ministry can make the dream of beloved community possible, and he is coordinating author of The Stories in which We Find Ourselves, online reimaginings of the biblical narrative that make faith something children and youth have reason to care about. As a social entrepreneur, Melvin works to help communities of goodwill find better stories and scripts–better ways of thinking and doing–that move them toward equity, diversity and inclusion (collabyrinthconsulting.com).

Nov 29, 2017

In this week's episode of Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership, Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President of Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary is joined by Isa Noyola.

Isa Noyola is a translatina activist, a national leader in LGBT immigrant rights movement, and the deputy director at Transgender Law Center. She works extensively for the release of transgender women from ICE detention and an end to all deportations. She is a part of the #Not1more campaign team and sits on the advisory boards of TAJA coalition, El/La para Translatinas , and Familia:Trans, Queer Liberation movement. She has organized the first ever national trans anti-violence convening that brought together over 100 activists, mostly trans women of color, to address the epidemic of violence trans communities are facing. Isa is passionate about building the leadership of transgender communities, especially TWOC who experience high levels of discrimination and violence. She is leading programmatic strategies to help build a leadership pipeline through the creation of trainings & leadership gatherings to share advocacy tools and strategies.

Nov 15, 2017

In this week's episode of Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership, Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President of Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary is joined by Brian McLaren.

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is an Auburn Senior Fellow and a leader in the Convergence Network, through which he is developing an innovative training/mentoring program for pastors, church planters, and lay leaders called Convergence Leadership Project.

Nov 1, 2017

Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership is a Podcast featuring Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President, Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary interviewing movement leaders, organizers and activists.

Fortification is a joint project of Auburn Seminary and Standing on the Side of Love, a campaign of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Oct 25, 2017

Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement Leadership is a Podcast featuring Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President, Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary interviewing movement leaders, organizers and activists.

Fortification is a joint project of Auburn Seminary and Standing on the Side of Love, a campaign of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Jan 10, 2017

Malachi Larrabee-Garza currently serves as Director of the Community Justice Network for Youth at the W. Haywood Burns Institute. Before joining the Burns Institute Malachi spent 5 years at the School of Unity and Liberation (S.O.U.L.) as the Advanced Political Education Director. Malachi co-founded the Brown Boi Project in 2006. Additional Board appointments include National Strategist on the Board of Directors of Southerners On New Ground and board member of S.O.U.L. Malachi sits on the Advisory Committee of New Orleans, L.A. based BreakOUT! and is a 2008 KopKind Fellow. Malachi brings over 15 years of community organizing and popular education experience to their work and is honored to help build a movement strong enough to Stop the Rail to Jail.

Dec 20, 2016

Lisa Anderson is vice president of Intersectional Engagement at Auburn Theological Seminary, an initiative dedicated to equipping bold and resilient women faith leaders with the tools they need for a lifetime of prophetic social justice activism. Anderson is the founding director of the newest signature program of that initiative, The Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle, which aligns the creation of vibrant and sustainable models of activist leadership with an emphasis on self and community care as a defining and galvanizing mandate for social justice in the 21st century. In addition, Anderson works with Auburn’s education team on issues of intersectional organizing, bridging the divide between theology and activism, and on deepening the spiritually grounding of leaders in a multifaith movement for justice via the creation and curation of worship and liturgical resources.

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