Of the work I’ve had the privilege of applying myself to, chairing the Backline Board of Directors makes me proudest. During my tenure on the Board, Backline has gone from a small organization still recovering from the shutdown of the Talkline, to a robust organization with staff and volunteers across the country. The Talkline provides support to more people than ever, and All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center has been a game-changer for our movement for reproductive rights, health, and justice, and for the local community in Bloomington.
The annual Board retreats are always inspiring and invigorating, giving us the opportunity to meet staff and volunteers and reconnect with Backline’s mission and vision. This year’s was especially meaningful because it was the first since the opening of All-Options, and we had the chance to meet in the space that has been such a labor of love for so many people. We have all been deeply invested in its success and followed eagerly with pictures from the process of construction and painting (big shout out to Shelly and Tom!) to the first anniversary party. But nothing can compare to actually being in the space that this big love built.
Reproductive Justice stands for everybody getting the support they need to make the decisions about sex, love, and family that are right for them. Nothing embodies this more than being in a place where shelves of Finnish-style baby boxes and diapers line the walls and folks can help themselves to free condoms and pregnancy tests while they wait to talk to a counselor who will listen to and affirm them in whatever decision lies ahead or behind them. Most importantly, every inch of the space exudes love and support, from the cut-out paper hearts on the walls to the signs in the bathroom reminding people that they deserve to be cared about and All-Options cares. In a moment where fear and hate have bubbled to the surface in our country, getting to spend a day in this amazing sanctuary fills my heart with gratitude to the people who do the hard work of providing open-hearted support, and hope that we can continue to bring this unique and radical love to even more people.
-Farah Diaz-Tello, Backline’s Board President