Briana Perry

Briana Perry - 2017 Nominee
Position: Co-State Director
Organization: Healthy & Free Tennessee
Current Location: United States, North America
Master of Education from Vanderbilt University/Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
Bachelor of Arts, Sociology with Honors & Women's and Gender Studies
Certification, Planned Parenthood's Sexuality Education Training Series
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Outstanding Professional Promise for M.Ed. in Service to Diverse Populations
    Awarding Organization:
    Vanderbilt University, Peabody College
    Date Awarded:
    May 11, 2017
  • Award:
    Dr. Tommie Morton Young Award for Community Outreach
    Awarding Organization:
    Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, Vanderbilt University
    Date Awarded:
    May 9, 2013
  • Award:
    Muliebrity Prize for Leadership in Gender Equity
    Awarding Organization:
    Margaret Cuninggim Women's Center, Vanderbilt University
    Date Awarded:
    April 5, 2013
At only 25 years old, Briana is already a director at a statewide reproductive freedom coalition. She tirelessly advocates for reproductive justice throughout the state of Tennessee. – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

During my undergraduate career, I conducted a study that examined perceptions toward reproductive health counseling. 44 respondents completed the survey, and the findings suggested that cultural biases and stigma continue to operate in reproductive politics.

Beginning in 2014, I assisted Healthy & Free Tennessee with challenging the Fetal Assault Law in the state, a law that criminalized pregnant women who utilized drugs. This law was successfully defeated in 2016.

I currently serve as Co-State Director of Healthy & Free Tennessee. We are touring the state to meet with our coalition partners and present our “All Families Valued" platform; this platform features values that champion economic and reproductive rights. So far, over 150 people have signed.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

After reading the “Racism, Birth Control, and Reproductive Rights” chapter in Women, Race & Class (Angela Davis), I developed a strong interest in family planning and reproductive justice. This text highlighted the disparities that have existed for marginalized mothers, including reproductive coercion and a lack of access to resources. My passion for family planning continues to be informed by this chapter, as my work centers the experiences of women of color and their access to resources.

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

In 2014, I spearheaded a video project that featured interviews with Black mothers in the South about their experiences with motherhood. In 2015, I co-founded the Official Black Lives Matter Memphis Chapter, which was centered on reproductive justice issues in Memphis. This includes working for comprehensive sexuality education in schools. Additionally, I present at reproductive rights conferences throughout the U.S. I currently co-direct a statewide reproductive coalition.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work? :

If named a winner of 120 under 40, I will use this opportunity to expand the reach of Healthy and Free Tennessee. This includes working in rural counties to do advocacy work and to ensure that these communities have access to family planning and reproductive healthcare resources (there is currently a lack of these resources in rural areas). Additionally, I will use this platform to connect with midwives in hopes of coordinating a midwifery convening in the Southeast region of the U.S.

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