From Fangirl to Director

August 27, 2019
Kalpana Krishnamurthy

Before being on staff at Forward Together I was a huge fangirl of the organization. While I was familiar with its work for years, I first engaged with the organization in 2010 through the creation of the leadership team and the Strong Families Network.

When I think about Forward Together and is approach to the work, I think about the expression, “Nothing for us without us.” That is how Forward Together does its work. As an organization that’s intent on building the leadership of women of color, non-binary folks of color and indigenous people, that’s who leads the organization. That’s who’s a part of the organization.

For more than 30 years, we’ve believed that building local power is one of the most important ways that we can change policy and change culture. So when we started as an Asian women’s organization, we started because we wanted to address the invisibility of API women’s voices in the reproductive rights movement. And also, build leadership so that API women would feel comfortable and competent having these conversations within our own communities.

Our approach has always been two-tiered. What is needed inside of our own communities, and what’s needed inside of the broader progressive movement? We believe that local power is the place that we start. We start with local folks to build local power.

I am proud to be a part of the team for our newest state-based action site in Portland, Oregon. We are building our base, we’re looking to find folks in our communities and support them in becoming the leaders that our movement needs.