Em-URGE-ing Voices

We support the EACH Woman Act!

On July 8th, Congressional champions, led by Representatives Barbara Lee, Diana DeGette, Louise Slaughter, and Jan Schakowsky, introduced the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act! This visionary bill ensures abortion coverage for every person—no matter their income, source of insurance, or zip code. Show your support for lifting the restrictions on abortion coverage! Thank the Congressional champions that helped make this bill a reality. For too long, politicians have interfered in our health decisions by denying insurance coverage for abortion care. For young people, who are more likely to be low income and have trouble affording healthcare services, banning abortion coverage means many are denied access to the critical reproductive healthcare they need. Bans on coverage for abortion care create insurmountable barriers for a person… Read more »

URGE’s National Membership Conference

URGE’s national membership conference kicked off on June 19th! Over 80 students from 40 campuses all over the nation attended the conference. The campus leaders spent the weekend building their organizing skills and diving deep into complex issues. The membership conference included workshops on sexual assault, campus healthcare, fundraising, resume building, race and reproductive justice, and lastly, an advocacy training to prepare our students to talk to legislators about anti-choice laws. The Generation 2 Generation Awards took place on the first night of the national membership conference, and it was definitely a night to remember!  The awards were an opportunity to recognize and honor some incredible activists within the reproductive justice movement by having a celebration that encompassed activists of all ages in celebration of their hard work. The lovely… Read more »

The URGE Class of 2015!

If you have been unable to get the tune of Pomp and Circumstance out of your head for weeks, it must be graduation season! Many thousands of young people all over the country are receiving their diplomas and posing for pictures in their cap and gown. Among them are many young people who have been active members of URGE. We want to take a minute to recognize the contributions and bright futures of some of these young leaders. They have each worked hard to build their chapters and to foster reproductive justice activism on their campus and in their state.   Natasha Bailey School: Kansas State University Major: Family Studies and Human Services/Women’s Studies/Pre-Law How did being a student activist with URGE impact your experience in college? Working with URGE has… Read more »

Alumni Spotlight: Erica Smiley

School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Grad Year: 2001 Major: Political Science, Minor in Mathematics How were you involved with URGE? I was originally a member of Choice USA (now URGE) as a student at UNC Chapel Hill. I later interned and joined the staff, first as campaign coordinator and then as field director. What do you do now and how have you brought a reproductive justice frame to the work you do? I am currently the Campaigns Director at Jobs with Justice. Jobs with Justice believes that all workers should have collective bargaining rights, employment security, and a decent standard of living within an economy that works for everyone. We achieve this by bringing together labor, community, student, and faith voices at the national and local levels to… Read more »

2015 Generation 2 Generation Celebration & Awards

Get your tickets now! Activism is hard work! That’s why it’s so important to take some time for fun and to party with our fellow activists. Luckily we’ve got the Generation 2 Generation Celebration – it’s a chance to join together with reproductive justice advocates of all ages and celebrate the best of this movement! And celebrate we will! Enjoy an open bar and delicious food while dancing to the music of popular New York DJ Whitney Day and enjoying a performance by Chocolate City Burlesque. We are also thrilled that Danielle Moodie-Mills, Chief Creative Officer of Politini Media,  will be joining us as the emcee for the evening. This year we will also be recognizing some true visionaries for reproductive justice: The Outstanding Chapter Award goes to the University of Texas,… Read more »

Student Activism: A Look into our 2015 Advocacy Days

We have had a pretty exciting first half of the year here at URGE. With the help of our chapter members and partners we have held various advocacy days across the country, from Ohio to California. Through these efforts, URGE demonstrates what it means to be an organization that stands behind young people and gives them the tools they need to be strong advocates for the issues they care about. Together, URGE and it’s student members are telling legislators that we will not stand back and watch as they try and strip our rights away. So what are we doing? Well, here’s a rundown of the work we have done so far this year. Our advocacy days began in early February. We kicked off in Kansas on the where we… Read more »

Alumni Spotlight: Nat Okey

School, grad year, major Willamette University, 2002, Politics and Women’s Studies – Salem, OR (Willamette rhymes with “dammit” “It’s Willamette, dammit”) 🙂 How were you involved with URGE? In 1999 I co-founded Students for Choice at Willamette with another student in response to a need for clinic escorts. After a year I assumed solo leadership duties as we expanded from just clinic escorting to campus educational programs and other forms of activism. This got URGE’s attention (then Choice USA) and they asked us to affiliate with them as a chapter. Three years later in 2002, Kierra called me and asked me to join the Board of Directors. I groggily but enthusiastically accepted as she called at the unholy hour (for seniors working on their thesis) at 9:30am Pacific. I served… Read more »


The House of Representatives just passed H.R. 7, a bill that withholds coverage for abortion care for people enrolled in Medicaid, insurance plans on the healthcare exchange, and public employee healthcare plans. These restrictions have a real impact on individuals and families by limiting their ability to access abortion care when they need it. The bill is now heading to the Senate and it’s time for us to show our power and flood their phones with unapologetic, pro-abortion rage! Make your voice heard – Call both you Senators and ask them to vote NO on H.R. 7. Here’s how you do it: 1. Find your Members of Congress: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/  *Be sure you use the address where you are registered to vote! Write down the name of your Senators and call the number… Read more »

Supporting Pregnant Workers

On December 3, the Supreme Court heard Peggy Young v. UPS, a pregnancy discrimination case that could have a huge impact on workers. URGE joined more than two dozen other organizations for a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court. Our Executive Director, Kierra Johnson, spoke at the rally of more than 200 supporters. “What these company policies really do is force a pregnant woman to quit, get fired, or risk her financial security just because she chose to have a family,” Johnson said. “That’s not a company I want to work for and that’s not a country I want to live in.” The Supreme Court has the opportunity to say that no one should be forced to choose between a job and a healthy pregnancy. But we have… Read more »

Latin@s to Watch Out For: Yucca Bianca W.

As we approach the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, URGE and National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health will be highlighting fierce young Latin@s that are doing amazing social justice work.   Name: Yucca Bianca W. Organization or Movement: Cicada Collective Not every Latin@ identifies as “Hispanic”, how do you identify and what is your heritage? I identify as a queer gender non conforming fronterista Chicanx/Tejanx raised on occupied Coahuiltecan territory, so called South Tejas. Finding words for my identity has been a struggle and I continue to be on a personal journey to explore what reflects the way I way i feel inside, with my loved ones, and how it functions within the larger latin@ community. There’s something so significant and different about existing on the borderlands than any other place, which is what… Read more »