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Together we have pushed the horizons of reproductive justice!

Posted by Jamee Greer at Nov 09, 2015 04:00 PM |

I'm sharing with you today that I will no longer be working for Western States Center as Director of Programs. I have decided to stay in the Philippines and help care for my mother as she grieves, be with my family, and just as important, serve my fellow Filipin@s. This is a big decision, and not one easily made. In the end, I know you will all appreciate that I am choosing to support my bigger family and serve communities in the Philippines.


By Aimee Santos-Lyons
Monday, November 9th, 2015

 wbund-AMP-conference-15-day-one-68 (2)I have spent the last three months in the Philippines on a sabbatical, helping my family deal with my father's liver cancer diagnosis, and now his recent death. Many of us who believe in reproductive justice understand the need for our families to take care of each other. I am fortunate that Western States Center is an organization that has fully supported my decision and enabled me to provide care for my family when they need it the most.

The news I'm sharing with you today is that I will no longer be working for Western States Center as Director of Programs. I have decided to stay in the Philippines and help care for my mother as she grieves, be with my family, and just as important, serve my fellow Filipin@s. This is a big decision, and not one easily made. In the end, I know you will all appreciate that I am choosing to support my bigger family and serve communities in the Philippines.
 
One of the reasons I was able to make this decision with peace of mind is because I know the work of the Center continues with great leadership - not just of the staff and board but of the wonderful kumpanyer@s who share our broad vision for social justice.

Amy Casso, who has served as the Gender Justice Program Manager will step into greater leadership as the Gender Justice Program Director, primarily responsible for the BRAVE program, All* Above All, and Strong Families partnership work. Two incredible leaders, Owen Smith and Jackie Altamirano, complete the field team at the Center and are committed to building power for racial, gender, and economic justice along with Amy.
 
The Center is working with skilled consultants like Cyreena Boston Ashby, JoAnn Hardesty, and Roberta Hunte in the interim to add capacity but more importantly, to benefit from their wise leadership and profoundly smart advocacy.
 
2015-03-25 12.08.36 2In addition, the Center will be hiring a full-time Racial Justice Program Director. This is a full-time exempt position that will remain open until filled, with interviews starting on a rolling basis in December. The position is posted here on our website, where you can find out how to apply. I ask that you spread this news to your networks; the perfect person for this job is waiting and you may know who they are.
 
I will continue to do Gender Justice work as the Gender & Protection Coordinator of Oxfam sa Pilipinas. This work is at the intersections of gender justice and disaster response, supporting vulnerable communities to grow in resilience and political leadership in the fight for climate justice. My graduate training was a public health degree in responding to humanitarian emergencies, so this position brings me full circle in more ways than one. So many former Center staff and program participants have gone onto do deeply impactful and important work at other organizations, remaining in the movement, carrying our values with us like seeds in the wind; and as we all know, no one is indispensable and organizers aspire to work themselves out of a job. 
 
BRAVE LAUNCH 429I will miss you all more than you will ever know. Our work together in BRAVE was some of the most gratifying work of my life. You have taught me deep lessons in integrity, strategic thinking, and courageous advocacy. Together, we pushed the horizons of reproductive justice - the proactive advocacy and organizing that is happening today in many states has been without a doubt informed by our work. I am proud of the spaces that we created and the inspiring leadership we helped strengthen.
 
Relocating to the Philippines is a complicated step for me and my family. Picking up the pieces after my father's death will be similarly emotional and complex. We will take this journey one step at a time and I hope I have your prayers and warm wishes. Maraming salamat for your trust, love, and faith! I am a better organizer and movement-builder because I worked with all of you!
 
Tight warm hugs and solidarity with each of you, 


 Aimee-fullname-low-resWeb
Aimee Santos-Lyons




PS: Many of you have expressed that you are moved to send flowers or cards; I respectfully request that people make a contribution to a fund in my father's memory that will be given to his widow, my mother, and to the Typhoon Relief Fund for the Philippines that is set up through APANO. You can give to this here, use the giving code: TyphoonRelief15​.

Remember that your support of Western States Center is needed as well, and you may make donations to continue the work you and I both find hope in by clicking here.


 
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