Cultural Strategy Lab

Photo: Izzy Meda

In 2020, Forward Together convened partners in the Strong Families Network to create a container for network partners to apply storytelling and visual art as cultural strategy tactics to a particular project. Our goal is that the Cultural Strategy Lab will result in campaigns that resonate with our communities and influence the way people talk about and conceptualize the definition and recognition of families.

The first Cultural Strategy Lab is being co-held by Forward Together, Fanm Saj, Southern Birth Justice Network and Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE) and cultural workers Iman Geddy and Hunter Ashleigh Shackelford. Together, we are co-leading Mamas Day work around the country!

Read more about the Lab partners and their work below — you can support their Mamas Day efforts by attending their digital events, promoting their efforts and donating.

Fanm Saj

Fanm Saj’s mission is to provide families across the African Diaspora with cultural and wellness tools as well as social and political resources to nourish themselves, their families and communities. This year, they have collaborated with Forward Together on a Sacred Ori affirmation card deck, featuring the art of Sage Satori, Melanie Cervantes, Amir Khadar, Ayqa Khan, Crystal Clarity, Jamilla Okubo, and Iman Geddy. They are launching the deck with a digital night of pulling cards and sharing affirmations.

Sacred Ori Affirmation Card Deck Launch Party

Date: Saturday, May 9

Time: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM EST / 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM CST

Experience a virtual card reading and hear from those who worked on the brand new Sacred Ori affirmation deck — Sage Satori, artist and Ruth Jeannoel, Fanm Saj Founder and Director. Affirm yourself and meet people who are also committing to fortifying themselves.


For a hard copy of the affirmation card deck and to support the work of Fanm Saj, please order a deck.

Artwork in image by Sage Satori.


Southern Birth Justice Network

Southern Birth Justice Network works to make midwifery and doula care accessible and central to all, especially Black, Brown, immigrant, indigenous, queer, transgender, low-income and other marginalized communities. They expand birth justice with storytelling, popular education, and community organizing. Every year, they have an elaborate, powerful Mamas Day dinner and action. This year, they have expanded to a series of digital spaces for the larger birth justice community to attend.

Artist: Mojuicy

Young Mamas Panel

Date: Friday, May 8

Time: 6:30 – 8:00 PM EST / 5:30 – 7:00 PM CST

SBJN members who are young mamas discuss their experience prenatally, postnatally and navigating parenthood. This space will be moderated by Lanieyah, an alumna of their youth program and dope doula.


Birthworkers Panel

Date: Saturday, May 9

Time: 4:00 – 5:30 PM EST

This panel will feature Birthworkers (doulas and midwives) from all over the country that support and work with Black Mamas to improve health outcomes for Black Mamas and babies throughout the US. This panel will be moderated by SBJN’s Jamarah Amani and will cover Birth Justice, COVID-19 responses, active interventions and systemic racism that these providers navigate every day to change the way the US looks at birth.


DJ Mamas Day Party

Date: Sunday, May 10 @ Mamas Day

Time: 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST / 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM CST | SBJN/Carmen

This event is sure to get you moving and bouncing even from the comfort of your own home. Hosted by SBJN’s very own Dancing Doula Carmen Antonetty.



Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity

Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE) envisions a liberated world where we can live with justice, love freely, express our gender and sexuality, and define and create families of our choosing. URGE builds power and sustains a young people’s movement for reproductive justice by centering the leadership of young people of color who are women, queer, trans, nonbinary, and people of low-income. As a state-driven national organization, URGE organizes our communities, provides a political home for young people, advocates for meaningful policy change, and shifts culture, working in states where the challenges and opportunities are greatest.

For the Cultural Strategy Lab, URGE Texas organizer, Andy Escobar, and URGE Georgia organizer, Eshe Shukura, created a short video series by and for young mamas of color, set to premiere online in May.

Parenting is Ageless: A Celebration of Young Mamas in the South

Date: Sunday, May 10

Time: 3:00 PM EST / 2:00 PM CST

URGE will debut their 2020 Young Mama Films highlighting three amazing young mamas in the south: Gissel Arredondo, Shakera Cheston, & Angel Alicea. After the film, join a Q&A with the mamas, followed by breakout spaces for folks to build community and talk about caregiving/parenting. This space is open to mamas and those who love mamas!





Forward Together

Forward Together unites communities to win rights, recognition and resources for all families. We transform culture and policy to work for all of us nationwide.

This year is our 10th anniversary celebrating the diversity and fullness of mamahood. Our team of artists, project managers and cultural strategists supported the above organizations logistically and financially with the production of art, events and cultural strategy integration.

Artist: Ernesto Yerena Montejano


Date: Saturday, May 9

Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PT

Live in Oregon and want to connect with other Mamas of color? Join Forward Together & Forward Together Action for a virtual Mamas Day celebration! This year we’ll dig into what’s at stake for Mamas in the 2020 Oregon Primary Elections which is coming up in May, and make space to share gratitude for the Mamas in our lives.