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Brie Akins, Executive Director
Alison McCarthy, Board Chair
Mary Hamilton was a civil rights activist and feminist who fought, among other things, for black people to be called Mr., Miss, or Mrs. [last name] in court. Previously, only white people were afforded the respect of a title and black people were called by their first names. This paved the way for her roommate and friend, Sheila Michaels to fight for the title of “Ms” so a woman’s identity is not defined by whether or not she is married.
Raana Simmons, Director of Policy
“We are learning collectively that the way out is not to simply keep pushing back against each of those policies, strategies, and movement organizations that have disappointed us, but rather to adopt a feminist political strategy that embraces the possibility of Prison Abolition. It means investing in a new kind of community, especially within communities of color, where those who are most disadvantaged are in leadership of sustained, base-building activities for justice.” –Beth Ritchie
Karen Moldovan, Board Member
In 1931, Modjeska Monteith Simkins became South Carolina’s first and only full-time, statewide African-American public health worker. Even though she made a substantial impact on the health of African Americans, she lost that position due to her role with the NAACP. Simkins was one of the founders of the NAACP state conference, was elected to the first executive board, and was the first chair of the state programs committee. In 1941, she was elected Secretary of the state conference, the only woman to serve as an officer. Because her activism was at times controversial, her life and home became targets of violence. An unknown person shot at her house during the time she was active with the NAACP. But many within the NAACP later believed that she was “too radical” and revolutionary for it as well. Throughout her life and career, she served in leadership positions that were traditionally unavailable to women in the Civil Rights Movement.
“She probably will be remembered as a woman who challenged everyone. She challenged the white political leadership of the state to do what was fair and equitable among all people and she challenged black citizens to stand up and demand their rightful place in the state and the nation.” –SC Judge at Simkin’s Funeral
Even though Modjeska passed away in 1992, her legacy continues. In 2015, the SC Progressive Network launched the Modjeska Simkins School for Human Rights. Both the freedom school and the SC Progressive Network are housed in Modjeska’s historic home. The Modjeska School is a civic engagement institute designed to help citizens of all ages learn a people’s history of SC- what they didn’t learn in school- and practical skills to promote economic and social justice in SC. Once trained, organizers lead projects that range from introductory civics classes to direct action campaigns. The long-term aim of the Modjeska Simkins School is to empower citizens across SC to transform the power structure of the state.
Kathy Holland, Financial and Grants Manager
I recently discovered an amazing female role model that I truly wish I would’ve known about much sooner! Her name is Marjory Stoneman Douglas – an American journalist, author, women’s suffrage advocate, conservationist, and namesake of the high school in Parkland, Florida where 17 people were recently killed. It is not surprising that a high school named for this amazing woman produced the students with the fortitude to launch a nationwide movement that could spur new gun laws. Her spirit is being channeled through these inspiring young activists.
Tina Hageman, Board Member
“However sugarcoated and ambiguous, every form of authoritarianism must start with a belief in some group’s greater power, whether that right is justified by sex, race, class, religion, or all four. However far it may expand, the progression inevitably rests on unequal power and airtight roles within the family.”
“It’s still the case that women don’t feel as safe in the streets as men do, or girls don’t as much as boys do, so I think it’s important to say our bodies belong to us, no one else, no one has a right to impose on us physically, nothing justifies it for no reason if we’re not giving it permission.“
Lisa Ingarfield, CFCEP Director
“How could women prove that we could accomplish something if we were never given a chance to try? That’s when I realized that if I ran the marathon, I could explode one of the false beliefs about women’s limitations”
Bobbi Gibb was the first woman to run Boston unofficially; she snuck into the race right after the start.
Medha Gudavalli, Outreach and Program Specialist
I was actually named after Medha Patkar, an Indian Environmental Activist. She unapologetically stood up for her community and took on the entire Indian Government when dam construction threatened to flood her village and displace her neighbors. Her humility, fierceness, and simple belief to fight in what is right inspires me everyday.
Jennifer Hankel, CFCEP Research Assistant
Ken Fowler, Policy Intern