Briana Perry

Briana Perry - 2019 Nominee
Position: Co-Executive Director
Organization: Healthy and 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 and Women's and Gender Studies
Certification, Sexuality Education Training Series
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Outstanding Professional Promise for M.Ed. in Service to Diverse Populations
    Awarding Organization:
    Vanderbilt University
    Date Awarded:
    May 9, 2017
  • Award:
    Susan Ford Wiltshire Essay Competition, Best Graduate Student Essay
    Awarding Organization:
    Women's and Gender Studies Program at Vanderbilt University
    Date Awarded:
    April 7, 2016
  • Award:
    Dr. Tommie Morton Young Award for Outstanding Community Outreach
    Awarding Organization:
    Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University
    Date Awarded:
    May 9, 2013
75 Public Votes Reached!
Briana is a powerful young leader committed to fighting for women, nonbinary people, and transgender men to to be able to access the full range of family planning services, including abortion, in Tennessee and the southern United States more broadly. – Anna Carella, Co-Executive Director at Healthy and Free Tennessee
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

For the past six years, I have coordinated and led work that centers reproductive freedom. I began this work as an undergraduate student where I conducted an honors thesis that investigated the historical stigma of Black and poor motherhood. I continued my work as a canvasser during the “Vote No on 1” campaign in 2014, as I informed Memphis constituents about state legislation that infringed on people’s reproductive autonomy. Since 2017, I have served as Co-Director of Healthy and Free Tennessee (HFTN), a statewide organization working to promote sexual and reproductive health and freedom. During this time, I have helped to spearhead a statewide reproductive freedom conference, facilitated workshops on anti-oppression at the national level, and advanced policy work at the state level.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

After reading the “Racism, Birth Control, and Reproductive Rights” chapter in Women, Race & Class (Angela Davis) in undergrad, I developed a strong interest in family planning and reproductive justice. This text highlighted the reproductive coercion, racism, and lack of access to holistic and compassionate care that has impacted communities of color. My passion continues to be informed by this chapter, as my work centers the experiences of women and people of color.

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

As Co-Director, I have the honor of visioning and setting priorities for my organization. This has included co-drafting a national workshop that highlights racism in reproductive freedom work and leading our statewide youth leadership council, an internship for college-aged students engaged in reproductive freedom work on their campuses. This year, I co-led the advancement of our policy goals through the introduction of proactive legislation for the first time in the organization's history.

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? :

I will use this opportunity to expand the work of the Southeastern Alliance for Reproductive Equity (SEARE). Comprised of Healthy & Free Tennessee, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!, Inc., and the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network, SEARE's goal is to build the infrastructure for a diversified and unified movement in the Southeast for equitable access to liberatory reproductive rights and health information and services.

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