Women & Politics- The Politics of Survivors and Community Organizing to Impact Law

Welcome to Women and Politics. Today we are talking about survivors of violence, how local organizations are stepping up to improve law and legislation, and community advocates leading the effort.

Allison GilbreathPolicy and Programs Director

Allison Gilbreath is the Policy and Programs Director at Voices for Virginia’s Children. She leads the organization’s child welfare policy work as well as the implementation of advocacy programs, elevating policy conversations across all policy areas.

Allison created Voices’ foster care policy network, a group comprised of partners, direct service providers, families, and youth who create a foster care unified agenda each year. She also helped to create the first-ever bi-partisan foster care caucus with the Virginia General Assembly. Together, with the network and foster care caucus, she successfully led the charge in creating the kinship financial assistance program during the 2020 General Assembly session.

Allison came to Voices after several years of working on behalf of children and families, most recently at Prevent Child Abuse Virginia. She was included on Style Weekly’s 40 under 40 in 2019 and has presented at several national and state conferences.

She earned her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University, and completed the Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership in 2016. She is the board president of Collective 365, an organization founded to support Black and Brown communities through philanthropic giving and capacity building.

Alison can be reached at allison@vakids.org.

Fatima M Smith, Founder of FMS Speaks LLC and Collective 365.

Fatima M. Smith is a survivor, relentless advocate, “social mom-trepreneur,” and founder of FMS Speaks, LLC. She established FMS Speaks as a way to share her passion for anti-violence work, racial justice, and engage folks in dialogue that ignites action for progress. She has developed a reputation as a highly sought after speaker and facilitator for engaging professionals in dialogue about power, privilege, and oppression in organizational and institutional settings.

Fatima has over ten years of experience leading professional development experiences for individuals in state and local government, higher education, and nonprofit agencies. She has built a career on providing advocacy and education of interpersonal violence prevention. As a social worker, she has spent her career establishing inter and intra agency partnerships instrumental in transforming programming and service delivery models on the needs of clients in service provision. Her experience has largely centered on the paradigm shift within the community, first responders, Title IX, and law enforcement to “Start by Believing” and utilizing a solution focused, trauma-informed response.

Abbey Philips, Community Activist

Former Assistant Secretary of the Commonwealth and former Chief of Staff to Senator McClellan. Abbey is an experienced Court Advocate with a demonstrated history of working in government administration and policy development. Skilled in policy analysis, staff management, facilitation, crisis intervention, child development, event planning and community outreach.

Survivor Activists: Jasmine, Kiesha, Bianca

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Follow our host and producer at @sherishannon27  and @carololson

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