Who We Are & What We Do

Image by Jonathan Muriu

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 (BIPOC), 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 and our kin at Kentucky Health Justice Network, HHJ launched in August 2018 to become the first and only financial and practical abortion support fund in West Virginia.

Led by a majority BIPOC, queer, and low-income board of directors, HHJ believes that those directly impacted by an issue are best positioned to design and lead solutions. In addition to abortion funding and practical support, HHJ expanded its scope of work in 2019 to meet additional health equity needs of West Virginians and Appalachians by providing free emergency contraception, harm reduction materials and services, and ID obtainment.

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

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Highlights from 2019...

From 2019 to 2021...

We've provided $354,175 in abortion funding & practical support to West Virginians, Appalachians & others.

We've dispersed  
19,741 units
of free emergency contraception across West Virginia.

We've helped
1,230 people obtain abortions throughout primarily Appalachia & the South.

We've moved $38,489 in mutual aid & rapid response funds to Black communities in West Virginia.

Our Board

Our board of directors help guide the mission, vision, and values of Holler Health Justice. 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 is majority BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and low-income.

 
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Priya Walia

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

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Britt Huerta

Britt (she/her) is a Mexican-American environmental justice activist and grassroots organizer living in Fayette County, West Virginia. In addition to HHJ, she serves on the board of Call to Action for Racial Equality (CARE) Coalition.

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Shayla Leftridge

Shayla (she/her) hails from Oakland, California, but calls West Virginia home. She is an entrepreneur, singer, and radio host, as well as the board president of Black Lives Matter West Virginia

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Hayley McMahon

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

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Hunter Starks

Hunter (he/they) 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

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.

Our Co-Directors

Our co-directors drive the day-to-day efforts of Holler Health Justice, including organizing logistics and raising resources to provide practical and financial support to West Virginians and Appalachians seeking abortions; overseeing our free emergency contraception program and harm reduction efforts; and recruiting, training, and managing our regional network of volunteer leaders.

 
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Chela Barajas

Chela (they/them) is a founding co-director of HHJ.

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

Specializing in rural grassroots organizing, they have 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

Peshka (she/her) is a co-director and prior board member of HHJ.

 

Peshka 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 to encourage them to stand with reproductive rights. Peshka was recognized for her work in reproductive health access as a 2017 Mary J. Blige honoree at the ESSENCE Festival. She previously served on the board of Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic.

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Caitlin Gaffin

Caitlin (she/they) is a founding co-director of HHJ.

 

Hailing from the southern coal fields of West Virginia, Caitlin is a granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and Devil Anse Hatfield.

Named a leader in the movement for reproductive justice in Appalachia by Rewire News Group, Caitlin's writing on reproductive and economic justice in Appalachia has been featured in HuffPost, VICE, and more. In 2021, they were named a Rockwood Leadership Institute Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice fellow,

 

Caitlin is the Chief Operating Officer of Prism, an independent, nonprofit newsroom led by journalists of color.

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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