Lily Bolourian

Lily Bolourian - 2017 Nominee
Position: Persian Activist and Organizer
Organization: Earth Day Network
Lily has organized without any resources since we were in high school. She is fearless and effortlessly uses social media to leverage on-the-ground activism, even convincing the Women's March to drop an anti-abortion group on Twitter within 30 mins. – Nominator
I heard about Lily Bolourian before I ever met her -- at the time, she was organizing a major pro-choice protest. Several years later, I had the privilege to work with her. She's a brilliant intersectional organizer and force of nature. – Katherine O'Connell, People For the American Way
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

As an unaffiliated reproductive justice activist and organizer for over ten years, I have proudly helped 15 women access abortions by providing financial and emotional support, driving them to the clinic, waiting for them during their procedure, and safely driving them home. I have lead several on-the-ground mobilizations in service of reproductive access, including action to hold the Obama Administration accountable on global abortion funding, and organizing the DC Walk for Choice against attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. I've proudly fought repro injustice via digital advocacy, direct access, direct action, on-ground mobilization, and clinic escorting.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

As the daughter of asylum-seekers from Iran, I learned at a very young age that for women and people who can reproduce to live full lives, they must first have ownership over their own lives. The stories of illegal abortions of generations of women in my family emboldened me to ensure that access to all facets of family planning, including abortion, is readily accessible to those who seek it.

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

My focus in reproductive justice begins locally where I work to alert activists using both digital and traditional organizing to attacks on our access to family planning services. In 2011, the anti-abortion movement set its eyes on my city which propelled me to action, launching the headline-grabbing grassroots "Summer of Trust" which sent a clear message to the opposition to expect resistance.

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? :

Receiving this award will help to bolster my ability to speak to the stigmas, including sexual stigmatization, that inhibit people from accessing care. I would then use the award money to continue the work of expanding access to abortion and childcare resources for my community by creating a network of grassroots activists to help remove barriers to access.

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