The Step Ahead Foundation provides the women of Memphis and Shelby County with free long-acting, reversible birth control. The foundation was created by retired judge Claudia Haltom, who saw from the bench women having families before they were physically, emotionally, and financially prepared. Providing birth control gives these women control of their lives.
"The Future Is Female," this Thursday at Amurica, is in that same spirit. Step Ahead's five interns — Nicole Quinones, Jasmine Murphy, Abigail Gardiner, Dekitra Durant, and Latrice McClorn — were given full responsibility for planning the event, from the decorations and budget to the space and food.
Quinones helps with research, following up with patients. She says the event is aimed at "anyone with a uterus." They're having an OBGYN speak, and there will be a Q&A. She says guests can eat and mingle before the talks starts. There will be icebreakers, such as the interns' take on the headband game during which participants will have a sticker on their back with a different form of birth control and others have to guess the method.
Step Ahead marks its fifth anniversary this year. The choice of Amurica for venue, says Belinda Simpson, the organization's community outreach director, is fitting, as Step Ahead will be moving into Crosstown Concourse.
Simpson says she's already seen Step Ahead's impact, that women are waiting longer to start their families. Quinones, too, sees the bigger picture. She says that birth control is only one part of the answer; the other is education. "Teaching women to plan their lives is empowering," she says.