Em-URGE-ing Voices


Major: History
Hometown: Brownsville, TX
Favorite writer: It’s very hard for me to pick one. My favorite poets are Frank O’Hara and Pat Mora. My favorite book is Anzia Yezierska’s Breadgivers. My favorite comedy writers are BJ Novak and Mindy Kaling. My favorite songwriter is Neko Case. Favorite writer isn’t a person, it’s a tier.
Favorite sex scene from a movie/TV/book: If it counts, Meg Ryan at the diner in When Harry Met Sally.
Hidden Talent: I wouldn’t call it a “talent” and I also wouldn’t call it “hidden” because I talk about it to anyone that will listen, but I am very good at fixing laptops with Wi-Fi issues

Posts By: Ofelia Alonso

Building Community: The Power of Uplifting Local Stories

This week, the Rio Grande Valley’s URGE chapter hosted our first Abortion Speakout in collaboration with the 1 in 3 Campaign. The purpose of the Abortion Speakout is to uplift abortion stories in order to remind people that abortion is not just a matter of politics, but something that affects real people. The 1 in 3 Campaign uses storytelling as a way to shift the narrative around abortion and move past the stigma attached to it. This year, we hosted the Speakout in honor of Jane Doe, one of the young immigrants held hostage by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Our chapter in the Rio Grande Valley put together a zine to collect local stories, art, and poetry as part of our Abortion Speakout.   Stories from the 956: Abortion and Reproductive… Read more »

We Can’t Leave Faith Behind

  I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness. I spent my formative years devoted to my relationship to God and my spiritual community. In my religion one of our core values was service, community, and advocacy. I remember with great vividness waking up at 8 in the morning to go door to door, talking to people about God. I learned resilience, messaging, and the power of storytelling from an early age. As I grew older, I found that issues that I valued didn’t align with the church. There was a disconnect between the values that were taught to me and the rules that were imposed on us by the church. We were taught compassion and tolerance, but if I were to ever come out as queer to my church elders,… Read more »

Let’s Get Real About Mental Health, No More Empty Gun Control Rhetoric

Every time there is a mass shooting, politicians talk about “mental health” as the leading problem instead of seriously considering the way the United States treats guns. Mental health becomes a ‘priority’ for two weeks, and then it is abandoned completely. Not only is mental health superficially addressed as a cop-out during times of crisis, the United States treats it hypocritically. After the Parkland shooting, the Trump administration did not fail to blame inadequate mental health care as the leading reason for the tragedy. “We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.” We have heard it before numerous times, along with the discrepancy between the words coming out of politicians’ mouths and the reality of… Read more »

Reminder: Low Income Families Are People Not Caricatures of Poverty

This week, the Trump Administration decided to modify the way the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) distributes aid. Under the new proposal, SNAP would be cut by 30%. To achieve this cut, SNAP recipients will no longer be able use the money to buy what they see fit for their family. Instead, families would receive their aid in the form of a “USDA Foods package.” The package would be delivered to a family’s door, with food that the government has deemed appropriate. The budget uses “ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit” as an example of what the box would look like. Basically, the Trump administration does not think poor people should have a choice as to what they want to eat, instead they should survive… Read more »

Modern Girls are Redefining What “Strength” Means One Story at a Time

Over the last few months, the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements have continued to gain momentum. This week, Babe published a piece accusing Aziz Ansari of sexual misconduct. The reaction to the story was mixed. For many of us, this story started a new conversation about what rape culture means. The behavior seen in the Aziz Ansari story reminded us that rape culture thrives because male entitlement continues to be a norm. However, many critics overlook the nuance of the situation. Instead, they see the Ansari story as a “witch-hunt” gone too far. In a piece for The Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan argues that modern girls are weak. The “weakness” Flanagan proposes comes from modern girls not being assertive, prepared, or vigilant enough to keep men from attacking them. Flanagan’s definition of… Read more »

Birth Control Accessibility is Not Just about Insurance Coverage

Two weeks ago, I visited Planned Parenthood as a patient for the first time. I decided this year that it was time for me to explore the idea of getting on birth control. I figured it wouldn’t be too complicated, since I have spent a considerable amount of time talking, lobbying, organizing, and overall just living birth control. However, my experience getting birth control proved to me that birth control access was more than funding and sex education. Don’t get me wrong, funding and education are essential. But the process left me feeling like it would have been so much better had I been prepared on all avenues from a young age. Like most Texans, I did not get proper sex education at school. Texas is extremely anti-abortion, anti-sex education,… Read more »