In 2014, following the murder of Michael Brown Jr. by a now-terminated Ferguson police officer, Congresswoman Cori spent more than 400 days protesting for justice, leading on the ‘Ferguson Frontline’ as a nurse and clergy member. For the first five weeks following the murder, Cori spent her days working in the community that witnessed Mike Brown Jr.’s body laying uncovered for four and a half hours in the hot St. Louis summer sun, providing triage-medical care and resources. In the years following, she continued her activism as a co-founder of The Truth Telling Project and as a leader of the protest group #ExpectUS. Now in her first term in office, Cori has championed legislation that puts St. Louis front and center. A relentless advocate for racial, social, health care, and environmental justice, Cori has led the movement to guarantee housing for all, introducing legislation to end houselessness by 2025, leading a national movement on the steps of the U.S. House of Representatives calling on the CDC to extend the eviction moratorium, as well as introducing legislation to permanently implement an eviction moratorium throughout the pandemic.
Monica Raye Simpson is a Black, southern, lesbian, artist/organizer and serves as the executive director of SisterSong, the southern-based national women of color reproductive justice collective. Simpson has organized extensively against human rights violations, the prison industrial complex, and structural racism through a feminist and interdisciplinary approach to Black liberation. Simpson is a nationally sought-after facilitator, speaker, and organizer. She is the only woman among the four founders of Charlotte’s Black gay pride celebration, the first in the Bible belt. The celebration received awards from the National Black Justice Coalition and the Human Rights Coalition for its incredible launch with 7,000 participants. Simpson is also a full circle doula certified through the International Center for Traditional Childbirth. She serves on the boards of the Fund for Southern Communities and the Highlander Research and Education Center, which serves the south and Appalachia. Simpson now focuses her work on fighting for sexual and reproductive freedom and is also committed to birth justice as a certified doula and founding board member of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. Simpson’s masterful integration of activism and artistry “artivism,” created a path for her work as a Revolutionary Soul Singer and cultural curator who is committed to living into Nina Simone's charge to artists to "reflect the times" Simpson was named as a New Civil Rights Leader by Essence Magazine and was awarded the Woman of Vision Award from the Ms. Foundation for Women. www.sistersong.net Instagram: @artivistmonicaraye
Women Donors Network (WDN) is a national network of women with power and the courage to wield it to build a just world. WDN connects, learns, and acts to fund movements and power justice. Today, WDN has over 250 members across 32 states and a team of 14 staff. Members come together now as they did over 30 years ago at events, regional meetings, and conferences. Growing annual grantmaking from the hundreds of thousands to the millions working closely with staff to listen deeply to movement organizers and foster grantmaking strategies that shift power.