Em-URGE-ing Voices

Posts By: URGE Staff

Making New Friends for a Progressive Peace Mission

Choice USA Executive Director, Kierra Johnson, will be traveling this week in Israel with the National Council of Jewish Women, Israel Action Network, and a group of progressive women leaders. While there she will be blogging about the experience for ChoiceWords. Making new friends for progressive peace mission. I don’t know if the other delegates would describe this trip in exactly the same way but this is what I’m calling it for now. I am about to embark on an amazing trip with women’s rights leaders from the US. I know exactly zero of them well. So I guess this is a new friends for Kierra mission as well. : ) It is Sunday. I am sitting at the airport. DCA to be exact. It is so quiet here. I am happy… Read more »

Rape is a Reproductive Justice Issue

Rape is a reproductive justice issue. Choice USA is committed to a world where all people have agency over their bodies and relationships and the power, knowledge and tools to exercise that agency. Sexual and reproductive agency begins with the right to decide where, when, how and with whom we should have sex.  Nothing takes away this agency more violently than rape. Whether you have been sexually assaulted, witnessed sexual assault, cared for or listened to someone who has been assaulted or are among the millions who hear the rising number of reports of survivors of assault, rape has become a part of our everyday culture. The threat of sexual violence affects the way we experience sex, relationships and even our own bodies. As a survivor of rape, your feelings… Read more »

The Fiscal Cliff: Not Sexy but a Big Problem for your Sex Life

This post is part of a series from Campus Progress There is nothing sexy about the fiscal showdown in Washington. It’s a complicated mess. Despite that, it’s imperative that our Representatives hear from young people, and critical that they see the connection between sexual and reproductive health and the fiscal cliff. The fiscal cliff is more than a witty metaphor. Plummeting over the fiscal ledge will result in enormous cuts in Title X family planning services, benefits from the Affordable Care Act, funding for comprehensive sex education programs, and maternal health programs. And in a political climate where these programs already hang in the balance, we can’t afford to stand this one out. As young people, we already face a lot of unique barriers when it comes to accessing services and living sexually… Read more »

An Open Letter to Abigail Fisher

Abigail Fisher was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin and is currently suing the school because she believes she was a victim of racial discrimination. Abigail Fisher is white. In 2012, the Supreme Court took up her challenge to the equal opportunity laws that govern a small percentage of admissions to the UT system (three-quarters of students are admitted automatically for graduating in the top 10 percent of their Senior class).  The justices then sent the case to be reheard by the lower courts. However, in October 2015, The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, it’s first major affirmative action case since 2003.* Abigail missed the 10 percent cutoff and was evaluated based on UT’s criteria which includes academic achievements, community service, and life circumstances, including… Read more »

Campus Diversity is Indispensable

Tomorrow the United States Supreme Court will hear Fisher v. University of Texas, a case that could have the effect of banning all race conscious admissions in higher education. If the court rules in that manner, it would be to the detriment to every student in college and all those who aspire to a higher education. Just like Title IX, race conscious admissions opens avenues of opportunities for those who may not have had access otherwise. Equal opportunity for education makes college possible for more students and benefits the entire student body by increasing campus diversity. Encouraging diversity brings new perspectives and worldviews to the educational experience – whether in terms of geography, in areas of study, gender or race – and that will always add value to the classroom… Read more »

Putting the Sex Back in Birth Control: Why the Dominant Narrative on Contraception Undermines Young People

Originally posted on RH Reality Check While I applaud Elizabeth Banks for her new ad supporting Planned Parenthood, birth control, and President Barack Obama–and wholeheartedly empathize with her personal story–I’m reminded of a sobering fact: the progressive community is deathly afraid of talking about sex and young people. That’s right. I said it. Between Banks new web promo aimed at female voters, Sandra Fluke’s testimony before Congress last February, and the reactive messaging around Rush Limbaugh’s vile comments, one thing has remained clear: our movement is far more comfortable elevating stories about birth control when they don’t involve sex. Pure unadulterated sex. Sex without the fear of an unintended pregnancy. You know… the primary reason young Americans use birth control. And for arguments sake, maybe there’s a good reason for this. Maybe–just maaaayyyybe–we’re trying to appeal… Read more »

Mi Familia Poderosa: How Sex Education Changed my Family

My story is a common one. I was raised by Catholic, Mexican parents in southern Arizona which meant I observed strict traditional gender roles in the house. It also meant that sex was something we just didn’t talk about. In fact, the only time I ever remember my parents talking about sex was when they told me and my siblings that they had been virgins when they got married. The only sex education I received was either from the abstinence-only curriculum I received for two weeks in high school or from Catholic School at my church. I was first introduced to the reproductive justice movement when I entered college and it changed my life forever. I know that’s a dramatic thing to say but I can honestly trace everything I’ve accomplished today… Read more »


I recently attended a screening of the documentary Bully— a film that tells the story of five young people and families who have been impacted by bullying. I decided to see “Bully” because of the abuse I experienced growing up, which eventually led me to work within the reproductive justice movement. I’ve seen for most of my life how violence, whether it is physical, emotional, or verbal, can have a profound impact on quality of life. Due to the nature of bullying and the power dynamics involved, victims are often limited in the decisions they can make regarding their own bodies. “Bully” does a great job illustrating these points and lends itself to a larger conversation about how bodies that are “different” are policed and controlled in society today.

Some Thoughts Looking Back, and Looking Forward, on the Murder of Trayvon Martin

Like so many others, we at Choice USA have been shocked and saddened by the murder of Trayvon Martin. The loss of such a young life is tragic, and the pain of that loss doesn’t dim now that the pursuit of justice has been put in motion. We at Choice USA believe ensuring the safety and bodily autonomy of all people is paramount in creating a more just society. This includes the right to live without fear of being profiled, controlled, targeted, attacked, or killed. But that’s not always how it works. We want to live in a culture and society where all bodies are valued and that the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are truly inalienable. So when the media narrative around this case fell into… Read more »