Our Talkline Advocates are the heart of Backline programs. These dedicated volunteers give their time, energy and compassion to our toll-free national Talkline, answering calls and providing unconditional support to people who need to talk about their decisions and experiences with pregnancy, parenting, abortion and adoption. Our Talkline Advocates are based in Portland, OR and Bloomington, IN.
J. Parker Dockray, MSW became Backline’s first Executive Director in December 2013 after serving as Board President for four years. Parker is a longtime advocate for reproductive health and justice, and a natural-born network weaver who loves connecting people, organizations, and issues. She previously served as the Executive Director of the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, a statewide coalition of more than 40 organizations, and spent 10 years at ACCESS Women’s Health Justice as a volunteer, Healthline Coordinator, and Executive Director. Parker received her Masters of Social Work from UC Berkeley. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Parker now lives in Oakland with her son.
Shelly Dodson is Backline’s Program Director, running our All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington, IN and overseeing Talkline operations and Advocate cohorts in Oregon and Indiana. Shelly joined Backline in 2007 as a volunteer on the Talkline, and worked as our Portland-based Program Manager from 2010-2012. She received her B.S. in Community Health Education from Portland State University and her past work includes experience as an anti-violence advocate, doula, midwife, and support to folks with disabilities. A native of Southern Indiana, Shelly is also heads up outreach and training in the Midwest.
Alise Eastgate joined Backline in April 2016 as our Operations Manager. She combines her passion for social justice and her talent for organization to create and maintain systems to keep the work running smoothly. Prior to joining Backline, she supported operations, programs, and development functions at CoreAlign. She previously worked in environmental administration and as an elementary educator in Mississippi and the Fiji Islands. Alise is from Louisiana and earned her Bachelor’s degree in geography and studio art from the University of Alabama. She lives in Oakland with her husband and dog, and spends her free time painting with both of them and bringing creativity to intersectional veganism.
Jessica Giusti, PhD is Backline’s National Engagement Manager located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She joined Backline in May 2016, but has worked within the realm of reproductive rights for over 10 years in different capacities – organizing with NARAL Pro-Choice America, EMILY’s List, and Robbinsdale Clinic, a family-owned practice providing reproductive health counseling and abortions in the Twin Cities. Jessica also served as the Fundraising Chair for the 2010 and 2012 meetings of the national Femme Conference, where she developed a robust and sustainable fundraising program from scratch. She received her B.A. in English & Women’s Studies from Mount Holyoke College in 2003 and her Ph.D. in Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota in 2012. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys cooking and baking, making the most of Minnesota summers, and visiting her family back home in the tri-state area of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Wherever she goes, she remains a Jersey Girl at heart.
Kalila Kirk is our Engagement Assistant, having first joined Backline in summer 2015 as a Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps (RRASC) intern in the Oakland office. She is currently working toward her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley, where she is double majoring in Gender & Women’s Studies and Social Welfare. While in high school, Kalila volunteered as a clinic escort with Planned Parenthood Mar Monte for 2 years, and since coming to Berkeley she has been active in Cal’s queer community and recently became a Consent Educator in the Berkeley Student Housing Cooperative. Her passion for reproductive justice has only grown during her time at Backline, and she is thrilled to be doing this work with such an incredible group of people.
Amanda Lamm is the Diaper Program Coordinator at All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington, IN. She joined Backline as an Office Support volunteer at the Center in September 2015. She earned a BA in History at Christopher Newport University in 2011 and an MA in Russian History from Indiana University in 2013. Throughout her undergraduate career, Amanda worked as a volunteer on several reproductive justice and progressive political campaigns. Backline has allowed her the opportunity to return to reproductive justice work. She lives in Bloomington, IN with her husband and two dogs.
Rachel Ronquillo Gray is Backline’s Talkline Manager, ensuring the quality and capacity of our all-options Talkline services. Based in Bloomington, Indiana, she first joined Backline as a Talkline Advocate, then made the transition to Program Manager a few months later, managing the Indiana Radvocates and the Hoosier Abortion Fund. Rachel was born and raised in rural northern Nevada, and earned her MFA at Indiana University. She brings her passion for reproductive and social justice to her work at Backline and to her writing: she is a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds’ 2016 Building the Movement Leadership cohort, the NNAF Summit Task Force, and has received writing fellowships from Kundiman, VONA, and the Pink Door Women’s Writing Retreat. In her downtime, you’ll find her snuggling with her black cat, baking something delicious or cooking up a storm, re-watching seasons of The Great British Baking Show, or blogging about scary movies, self-care, and music.
Board of Directors
Sandra Criswell is a queer mixed-race Filipina mestiza reproductive justice organizer based in Oklahoma City. Sandra continues to develop her regional analysis and theories of social change with her chosen family/co-conspirators at Oklahomans for Reproductive Justice, and loves talking to anyone who will listen (and a few that won’t!) about how reproductive justice work in red states is going to change the world! Sandra’s movement-building roles include Field Building Manager for CoreAlign and founding organizer of Take Root: Red State Perspectives on Reproductive Justice Conference. She is incredibly pumped to learn from and contribute to Backline as it continues to expand into the middle of the country.
Farah Diaz-Tello is a U.S. human rights attorney whose career is dedicated to the pursuit of reproductive justice, with a focus on pregnancy and the full spectrum of pregnancy outcomes. She is Senior Counsel for the SIA Legal Team, where she wields law and policy tools to ensure that people who end their pregnancies outside of the medical system can do so with dignity and safe from threat of arrest. Prior to that, she worked at the intersection of criminalization and reproduction as a Senior Staff Attorney at National Advocates for Pregnant Women. Farah strives to grow the law to promote Birth Justice and build community power to end mistreatment in birth and obstetric violence. She is an NYC-based Texpat, mother to a herd of boys, and a mediocre but earnest gardener.
Poonam Dreyfus-Pai, MPH, MSW is Vice-President of the Backline Board and the Senior Manager of Network-Building and Engagement at CoreAlign, where she develops alumni programs and network activities for alumni of their Fellowship programs. Prior to this role, Poonam developed the vision and implementation of CoreAlign’s Generative and Speaking Race to Power Fellowship programs as the Fellowship Manager. Past work also includes program development and evaluation as Backline’s first MSW intern, research of abortion stigma at ANSIRH, and co-directing the Bay Area Doula Project. She also serves on the Board of Directors for ACCESS Women’s Health Justice. Poonam holds a Bachelor’s Degree cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University, as well as Master’s Degrees in Public Health and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. She is committed to building collaborative networks that support all sexual and reproductive experiences.
Dana Huber is Backline’s Board President and the Program Officer for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, where she manages grantmaking efforts focused on access to breast health care. Prior to this role, she was a Director at public health consulting firm, Rabin Martin, where she developed programs to improve maternal health in the US. Dana is on the boards of Choices in Childbirth and Backline, a member of the Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund Activist Council, and was a CoreAlign fellow. Dana has a BA in International Development Studies and Political Science from UCLA, an MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and an MPH in Health Policy and Management from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
Kwajelyn Jackson is Backline’s Board Treasurer, and currently serves as the Community Education & Advocacy Manager at Feminist Women’s Health Center (FWHC) in Atlanta, GA, where she manages volunteer engagement, community outreach, internship programs, and advocacy work to improve reproductive health, rights and justice in Georgia. Kwajelyn began with FWHC in the summer of 2013, and has since committed to expanding FWHC’s statewide impact and deepening its community partnerships. Prior to joining FWHC, she spent three years as the Program Manager for WonderRoot Community Arts Center and eight years as a Credit Risk Manager with Wachovia Bank’s Community Development Finance Group. She has a BA in economics from Spelman College and an MS in urban policy studies from the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University.
Latishia AV James is a healer, activist, and scholar who has worked as a certified rape crisis counselor, youth counselor, and volunteer chaplain. She uses pastoral care techniques in conjunction with the Reproductive Justice framework to address the micro- and macro-level trauma that has been inflicted on women and people of color, the LGBT*QIA community, and youth. As an activist she has spoken out against injustices from Palestine to the steps of the Supreme Court. Latishia previously earned a B.A. in Human Services from Villanova University and recently graduated with a Master of Divinity degree and Certificate of Sexuality and Religion from Pacific School of Religion. She lives in the Bay Area, CA with her partner and their adorable dog and is honored to serve on the board.
Gretchen Sisson, PhD is Backline’s Board Secretary and a sociologist at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research focuses on reproductive justice, specifically abortion in popular culture, teen pregnancy and young parenthood, and adoption and birth motherhood. Gretchen has previously worked at the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy and the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund, and she currently serves on the Board of Directors for Bitch Media. She holds degrees from Boston College and Amherst College, and lives in San Francisco.