Joanne Banks (1958 – )

Inspiration for Activism!

  • Fervent advocate on behalf of Black women.
  • Introduced womanist ways of knowing, raising awareness of the value of African-American women’s experience and perspectives.
  • Developed storytelling as a crucial tool for self-discovery, liberation and

    Joanne Banks


  • Uses storytelling as a means of developing comprehension and analytic skills in 3 to 5 year olds enrolled in a Head Start program.
  • Mentor and advocate for African-American nurse scholars, engaging as co-authors on scholarly publications.
  • “I have been called to be a griot. In traditional African societies, the griot was an oral histonan and educator. Griots were charged with maintaining the cultural links between the past and present, sharing ancestral wisdom with current generations. Storytelling has been more than a means for
    me to promote liberation for Black women. It has been the foundation for me to not only survive but thrive in the academy and the world beyond. Storytelling allows me to facilitate the well-being of Black women in research settings and through teaching.” (Banks, 2014, p. 201)

More information here and here

“With my favorite beings on the planet, my son and trees”








Key publications:

Banks, J. (2014). And That’s Going to Help Black Women How? Storytelling and Striving to Stay True to the Task of Liberation in the Academy. In P. Kagan, M. Smith, & P. Chinn (Eds.), Philosophies and Practices of Emancipatory Nursing: Social Justice as Praxis (pp. 188–204). New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Banks-Wallace, J. (2008). Eureka! I finally get IT: journaling as a tool for promoting praxis in research. The ABNF Journal: Official Journal of the Association of Black Nursing Faculty in Higher Education, Inc, 19, 24–27.

Banks-Wallace, J., Barnes, A., Swanegan, D., Lewis, S. (2007). Listen, just listen: Professional storytelling and interactive learning as strategies for prompting reflection on the importance of taking time for self. Storytelling, Self, and Society, 3(3), 161-182.

Banks-Wallace, J., & Parks, L. (2001). “So that our souls don’t get damaged”: The impact of racism on maternal thinking and practice related to the protection of daughters. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 22, 77–98.

Banks-Wallace, J. (2000). Womanist ways of knowing: theoretical considerations for research with African American women. ANS. Advances in Nursing Science, 22(3), 33–45. Retrieved from

Banks-Wallace, J. (1998). Emancipatory potential of storytelling in a group. Image – The Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 30, 17–21.

Sandy Summers (1961 – )

Inspiration for Activism!

More information here

Nursing Activism Think Tank Happenings!

Whether you are planning to participate or not, read on — the spirit of this event is reaching far beyond the event itself!  We know that there are many nurses who are not able to be there, who wish they could, and who mightily support nursing activism!  So this “Think Tank” is not limited to the gathering!  The “Inspirations for Activism” series of blog posts has already prompted reflection – and even action –  on what is possible!  This series will continue through the end of July; at that point the series will shift to feature the activism of nurses who participate in the gathering. And the link to all of these posts will remain a permanent feature on NurseManifest.  If you are not already following this blog, you can do so now to receive an email notification of each of these posts — enter your email at the top of the right sidebar on any page!

For those interested in the event itself: YES!  The event is happening on July 30-31, 2018 at the College of Nursing, University of Massachusetts Amherst!  Over 70 nurses have indicated an interest in participating!  We have asked that everyone confirm your intent to participate by May 1, so if you have not yet done so, please complete the “Interest Form” by this coming Tuesday, May 1st! If May 1st slips by and you are eager to join us, the form will still be available and we want to hear from you — we will confirm space available – right up until the day we gather!

You can also use the principles and ideas we are creating for the gathering for any purpose you wish – any time and any where!  Here is a summary of the principles and guidelines we are using:

Our guiding intentions:
  • Getting to know and appreciate the Self as a nurse activist
  • Getting to know and appreciate one another in the context of nursing activism
  • Getting to know and appreciate our communities and the social and political forces that shape them.
What to expect:
  • There will be no speakers or planned presentations – this IS a think tank!
  • What happens over the course of the two days will be fluid and flexible, created by all of us as participants.
  • The process for our group interactions will be based on Peace and Power, enacting as fully as possible the powers of process, appreciation, the whole, sharing, nurturing, consciousness and creativity.
  • All forms of activism, all points of view, will be fully respected while at the same time providing for one another the kinds of constructive questions and challenges that lead to growth and change.
  • Day 1: the focus will be on developing and sharing our stories of activism — a process led by Nurstory team members.
  • Day 2: deep discussion and reflection in large and smaller groups, envisioning possibilities for the future and building networks of support.
How to prepare – consistent with the idea of a “think tank,” your best preparation is guided by your own inner insight and wisdom, your own intentions, hopes and dreams for activism. The following resources are available – use them as you see fit!
  • Continue to follow, and revisit the NurseManifest blog series “Inspirations for Activism.” These posts will continue to appear every Tuesday and Friday through July.  After our gathering, these posts will feature participants in the Think Tank – according to your wishes and consent!
  • The Peace & Power concepts and the Commitment involved in putting these concepts into Action are available on the Peace and Power website.
So if you cannot join us in person, join us in spirit!  Of course after the gathering we will be sharing heaps of ideas and information — every step we take is vitally important!

Mary Breckinridge (1881-1965)

Inspiration for Activism!

  • Volunteered as a nurse in World War I.
  • Served as public health nurse in Washington DC during an influenza

    Mary Breckinridge

    epidemic in 1916.

  • Volunteered in France from 1918-1921, providing disaster relief and organizing a Child-Hygiene and Visiting-Nurse Association.
  • Completed postgraduate studies at Columbia University in 1922-23 to learn the latest in public health, then completed her midwifery certificate in 1924 at the British Hospital for Mothers and Babies in the Woolwich district of London.
  • Founded the Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies in Leslie County in 1925, which became the Frontier Nursing Service (FNS) in 1928. The FNS is widely recognized as the first modern comprehensive health care system in the United States.
  • Credited with developing approaches to modern nursing services in rural communities.
  • Promoted the growth of district nursing centers and hospital facilities in southeastern Kentucky as a model for similar systems nationwide.
  • Honored on a stamp issued by the United States in 1998

More information here, and here, and here,  and here.

See first comprehensive biography published in 2015: Mary Breckinridge by Melanie Beals Goan

Afaf Ibrahim Meleis (1942- )

Inspiration for activism!

  • Inspired to become a nurse at the age of 15 by her mother – a prominent nurse and educator in Egypt who established graduate programs for nurses in the Middle East.
  • Strong voice advocating for women and women’s rights world-wide.

    Afaf Meleis

  • Author of transition theory, which has been used as a basis for research world-wide, and as a basis approaches to care to assure health and well-being in health and illness experiences (examples: immigration transition, the transition of caregivers, transition to motherhood, menopausal transition).
  • Mentor to a long list of students and colleagues for over 40 years, providing support, encouragement and substantive guidance to nurses worldwide.
  • Created research teams consisting of nurses throughout the world which offer support and development of international nursing research.
  • Continues to provide consultation worldwide, focusing on the crucial roles of nurses and women as leaders in the development of comprehensive healthcare and quality nursing education programs.

More information: