Who We Are & What We Do

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Mission

Organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice, Holler Health Justice builds power with Appalachian communities and individuals most disproportionately affected by health inequities, including Black, Indigenous, and people of color, those in rural areas, those with low income, and LGBTQIA+ folk.

Vision

We envision an Appalachia where all people have power, access, and resources to be healthy and have agency over their lives.

Values

We value accountability, autonomy, community, joy, mutual aid, pleasure, transparency, and trust.

 

Our History & Work

Holler Health Justice (HHJ) was founded by a group of young reproductive health, rights, and justice activists looking to meet the substantial need of funding and practical support for West Virginians seeking abortion care. With guidance from the National Network of Abortion Funds, HHJ launched in August 2018 to become the first financial and practical abortion support fund in West Virginia.

 

With a board and co-directors who are majority people of color (POC), LGBTQIA+, and from low-income backgrounds, HHJ believes that those directly impacted by an issue are best positioned to design and lead solutions. HHJ operates under a worker self-directed model and is the first nonprofit to be unionized under the West Virginia state chapter of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW WV). 

 

In addition to abortion funding and practical support, HHJ expanded its scope of work in 2019 to meet additional health equity needs of Appalachians by providing free emergency contraception, harm reduction materials and services, and ID obtainment. In 2022, HHJ partnered with Harvard University's FXB Center for Health & Human Rights and Project N95 to distribute high-filtration masks for free throughout West Virginia to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

As of 2022, HHJ offers the following programs and services throughout West Virginia and Appalachia:
 

Check out our In the News page to see articles and publications featuring Holler Health Justice and the work we do.

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Our impact since 2019...

$462,730

in abortion funding & practical support provided to Appalachians

21,789

units of free emergency contraception distributed across West Virginia

1,651

Appalachians helped to obtain abortions

12,800

N95 masks distributed across West Virginia during COVID-19

5,375

units of hand sanitizer distributed across West Virginia during COVID-19

$41,343

in mutual aid & rapid response funding moved to Black & rural Appalachian communities

 

Our Team

To be representative of the communities and individuals we're focused on lifting up and helping to build power—communities and individuals most disproportionately affected by health inequities—our board and co-directors are majority POC, LGBTQIA+, and from low-income backgrounds.

 
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Chela Barajas

Co-Director/Founder

Residing in Fayette County, West Virginia, Chela (they/elle) is a self-described "mexi-billy," with parents from both Mexico and rural West Virginia.

 

Specializing in rural grassroots organizing, Chela has worked on numerous political campaigns and with advocacy and social justice organizations across the country—from local city council and U.S. congressional races to Greenpeace International and the Sierra Club.

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Peshka Calloway

Co-Director

​Peshka (she/her) is a U.S. Army Veteran, single mother, and Afrolachian artist from Parkersburg, West Virginia.

 

As an abortion storyteller, Peshka has shared her story on national television and traveled across the country, speaking with elected leaders and presidential candidates. She was recognized for her work in reproductive health access as a 2017 Mary J. Blige honoree at the ESSENCE Festival, and previously served on the board of Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic.

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Caitlin Gaffin

Co-Director/Founder

Hailing from the southern coal fields of West Virginia, Caitlin (she/they) is a grandchild of both Mexican immigrants and Devil Anse Hatfield.

 

Caitlin is a nonprofit strategy and operations leader whose work focuses on rethinking the traditional ways in which we organize and build power. In 2021, they were named a Rockwood Leadership Institute Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice fellow. They are the COO of Prism, an independent, nonprofit newsroom led by journalists of color.

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Priya Walia

Board President

Priya (they/she) is HHJ's founding board president. Born and raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, they've served as Counsel for Reproductive Rights and Health for the National Women's Law Center, as well as a Legal Voice Staff Attorney and If/When/How Reproductive Justice Fellow.

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Shayla Leftridge

Board Member

Shayla (she/her) hails from Oakland, California, but calls West Virginia home. She is a community health clinic coordinator and accomplished singer, as well as the board president of Black Lives Matter West Virginia

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Hayley McMahon

Board Member

Hayley (she/her) is an abortion educator and researcher. Originally from Tennessee, she is a first-generation college graduate, pursuing a PhD with a focus on reproductive health at Emory. She's held positions at carafemReproductive Health Access Project, and Reproaction.

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Neera

Board Member

Neera (she/her) is a disability rights advocate, writer, and gaming content creator. An Indian adoptee from New Dehli, she lives in West Virginia with her husband and two children.

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Hunter Starks

Board Member

Hunter (they/them) is an economic justice activist and grassroots organizer. A single parent, they live with their daughter in Charleston, West Virginia.

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Ixya Vega

Board Member

Ixya (she/ella) is a proud daughter of Guatemalan and Mexican immigrants. A recent first-generation college graduate of West Virginia University, Ixya is a field organizer at Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic and a newly elected city council member in Morgantown, West Virginia.

We're Union!

In 2020, Holler Health Justice became the first nonprofit in West Virginia to be unionized under the West Virginia state chapter of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW WV). 

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