Our Board of Directors brings together a powerful collection of local and national leaders in the fight for women’s health and wellbeing. Organizations listed for identification purposes only.
Rosana Cruz, VOTE (Voices of the Ex-offender)
Rosana Cruz is Associate Director of VOTE (Voice Of The Ex-offender) She came to VOTE from her position as Co-Director of Safe Streets. Previously Rosana worked with the National Immigration Law Center helping to create the New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice. Prior to joining NILC, she worked with SEIU in Miami, after having been displaced from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. Before Katrina, Rosana worked for a diverse range of community organizations, including the Hispanic Apostolate, the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of New Orleans, and People’s Youth Freedom School. Ms. Cruz came to New Orleans though her work with the Southern Regional Office of Amnesty International in Atlanta. Originally from Miami, Rosana now lives in Mid City. She is the mother of an energetic 9 year old child and a graduate student in the Latin American Studies department of Tulane University.
Shana Griffin, WHJI (Women’s Health & Justice Initiative)
Shana Griffin is a life-long resident of New Orleans, mother of two, black feminist, researcher, and social justice activist, who has over 16 years experience organizing nationally and locally with low-income communities of color on critical issues pertaining to racial and gender justice; sexual health and reproductive justice; housing affordability; ending gender-based violence; prison abolition; gender and disaster vulnerability; just sustainabilities; education equity; and climate justice. Shana is co-founder of the Women’s Health & Justice Initiative, where she currently serves as Research & Advocacy Director, and is the former Interim Director of the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic she co-founded in 2007. Shana a member of INCITE! and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Women With A Vision, Inc. and Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, a local community land trust. Shana holds a Masters of Arts in Sociology from the University of New Orleans and two undergraduate degrees in Sociology and History. Her organizing and academic work are rooted in radical black feminists organizing traditions, theories, and movements. Shana’ current activism is focused on challenging punitive social policies, practices, and behaviors that restrict, exploit, regulate, criminalize, and police the bodies and lives of low-income and working class women of color most vulnerable to the violence of poverty, polluting environments, reproductive legislation and population control policies of blame, displacement, and social neglect.
Laura McTighe, Columbia University, Department of Religion
Laura McTighe is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Religion at Columbia University. She received an M.A. and M.Phil. in Religion from Columbia University (2013 and 2014, respectively), an M.T.S. in Islamic Studies from Harvard Divinity School (2008), and a B.A. in Religion from Haverford College (2000). Laura’s research unfolds at the intersection of religion, race, gender and migration in North America, with a particular focus on the American South. Through her dissertation, “Born in Flames,” she is working with leading Black feminist organizations in Louisiana to explore how reckoning with the richness of southern Black women’s intellectual and organizing traditions will help us to understand (and do) Black history, American history and religious history differently. Laura comes to her doctoral studies through more than fifteen years of direct work to challenge structural policies of criminalization and support everyday practices of community transformation. She is the co-founder of the Institute for Community Justice, and currently organizes Religion and Incarceration, a collaborative forum for activists and academics to explore religion, power and the ends of mass incarceration. Laura’s writings have been published in Beyond Walls and Cages: Bridging Immigrant Justice and Anti-Prison Organizing in the United States (2012), the International Journal for Law and Psychiatry (2011), Islam and AIDS: Between Scorn, Pity and Justice (2009), and a variety of community publications. In addition to her work with Women With A Vision in New Orleans, she also serves on the boards of Men & Women In Prison Ministries in Chicago and Reconstruction Inc. in Philadelphia.
Melody M. Robinson, St. Thomas Health Community Health Center
Melody M. Robinson has more than 12 years of experience in community health and public health program development and management. Ms. Robinson currently serves as the Clinical Director of St. Thomas Health Community Health Center. She previously served as the Program Manager for the Louisiana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. Ms. Robinson was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the State of Louisiana Comprehensive Cancer Plan, regional staff across the state and the development of regional cancer control plans. She also served as the Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Louisiana Cancer Control Partnership. She has also been responsible for the development of the Women’s Health Department, Adolescent health Development, and developed the School linked clinic program for St. Thomas. Ms. Robinson has also served as an adjunct Professor for Dillard University and Tulane University School of Public Health. She received a B.S. in Biology from Xavier University of New Orleans and a MPH in Material and Child Health and Health Communication and Education from Tulane University School of Public Health.
Erika Sugimori, New Orleans Regional AIDS Planning Council
Erika Sugimori has been a New Orleans resident since 2004. Originally from Los Angeles, CA, she came to New Orleans to pursue her master’s degree in public health and promptly fell in love with the city through the lens of community. She currently works for the New Orleans Regional AIDS Planning Council, a public planning body for federally funded HIV/AIDS treatment services in the New Orleans metropolitan area. Her main areas of interest with regard to health are disparities in health outcomes and women’s health.