Em-URGE-ing Voices

Different Name, Same Us

For 23 years, you and all the young people we work for and with guided our organization. And as you grew to view the issues related to reproductive justice in a more complex and more interconnected way, so did we. We knew that you were still fiercely committed to choice, but that working for choice is not possible without widening our scope to include all of the issues that impact any person’s ability to choose. That’s why we decided to make a change — a big one, but it didn’t change a thing about who we are and what we do. In 2014, we changed our name to URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity to represent the work that we were already doing and the issues you already cared… Read more »

Congrats to the URGE Class of 2014!

Ashley Brink – Wichita State University What did you study in college? I majored in Sociology, Psychology, Women’s Studies, and Criminal Justice What did you enjoy the most about your experience as a student activist? I enjoyed the opportunities it presented me with. I was able to meet and network with so many people who care about the same issues I do which was sometimes hard due to the climate surrounding reproductive justice here in Wichita, KS. How did URGE impact your experience in college? URGE gave me the training and tools I needed to develop myself and others as activists. I learned how to discuss reproductive justice issues and was able to feel more comfortable with my ability to organize and make a difference on my campus and in… Read more »

Alumni Spotlight: Samantha Daley

Samantha graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2013, with a Bachelor of Sciences in Interdisciplinary Studies with Concentrations in Biomedical and Health Sciences and a Minor in Women’s Studies. She is already putting her passion for reproductive justice to use in the professional world. As a student organizer and a Correspondent for ChoiceWords, Samantha gained valuable skills and analysis that she now uses in her role as a Health Educator. Read more from Samantha here: How were you involved with Choice USA? I was one of the first class of student correspondents in Choice USA, and a Campus leader in the University of Central Florida chapter What do you do now and how do you bring a reproductive justice frame to the work you do? Currently, I’m a health educator in… Read more »

URGE Students Storming Their Statehouses!

This spring, across three states, URGE student activists have been talking to their elected officials about important legislation. In California, Georgia, and Kansas, these young people have sharpened their advocacy skills and made their voices heard. Students from across the state Kansas came together on February 17 to lobby their elected officials against proposed legislation that would have restricted access to sex education for Kansas youth. Most dangerously, this legislation would have potentially established a permanent barrier to accessing comprehensive sex education for young people by creating a mandatory opt-in requirement for all students. Not long after this advocacy day, the opt-in provision was dropped from the bill and the legislation lost much of its momentum. On March 5, students and advocates from Georgia gathered at the state capital for… Read more »

Alumni Spotlight: Jamia Wilson

Jamia Wilson is the new Executive Director for Youth Tech Health.  She graduated from American University in 2002 with a degree in Public Communications. We were able to get an exclusive interview with Jamia about her involvement with Choice USA and she has developed into the advocate that she is today. Follow her on Twitter at @jamiaw How were you involved with Choice USA? I was the Secretary on the Executive Board for my chapter. I’m still in touch with some of the members of my chapter and loved being a part of a supportive, diverse, and dynamic pro-choice community on campus. What do you do now and how do you bring a reproductive justice frame to the work you do? I am the new Executive Director of YTH (Youth… Read more »

Love Yourself, Get Covered

Did you know? Nearly 1 in 4 young adults do not have health insurance! That’s more than 19 million people who need some love, a.k.a. health care.  That’s why we’re teaming up with other organizations and people all over the country to get young people enrolled.This Saturday — the day after Valentine’s — is National Youth Enrollment Day! Students, activists, DJs, national organizations, business leaders, local partners and folks all across the country are helping young people sign up for health insurance. Of course, URGE will be getting in on the action. Our chapters all over the country will be holding workshops and events to help their fellow students get signed up for health insurance.  Look for an event in your community and find out how you can help to enroll America!  With… Read more »

Make A Call For World AIDS Day

On December 2, we’ll be marking World AIDS Day by advocating for the one proven way to bring down the rate of new HIV infections – comprehensive sex education. The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act would make access to medically accurate information about sex – including HIV and other STI prevention –  a right for all young people. Not only would the Real Education for Health Youth Act provide young people with the information and skills to make informed, responsible decisions, but it would also prohibit federal funds from being used for programs that deliberated withhold life-saving information about HIV. This is not the first time this act was introduced in Congress, but now is the time for Congress finally step up and support our right to access comprehensive… Read more »

Alumni Spotlight: Juana Rose Cavero

Juana Rosa Cavero is the Director of the Reproductive Justice Coalition of Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2003 with degrees in International Affairs and Spanish for the Professions, and a Business minor. Read more from Juana here: How were you involved with Choice USA?  I was involved with Choice USA through my organizing work with the United States Student Association and again as Co-Chair of the Board of Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity for Reproductive Rights.  While with USSA, I was co-chair of the National People of Color Caucus and was introduced to the possibility of organizing on women’s rights on my campus. With COLOR, we were able to create a whole new way of integrating reproductive justice into other social justice organizations with the LUZ Reproductive Justice Thinktank. LUZ was a collaboration of social justice advocates… Read more »

This Is Truly Scary…

It’s Halloween season, the time to tell scary stories, and we have a frightening one for you. The year was 1976 and the scene was the United States House of Representatives. Our villain in this story was Rep. Henry Hyde. That’s right, this is the story of the Hyde Amendment and the millions of people who have been denied abortion coverage since that demon was spawned.  While the Hyde Amendment would not make a great Halloween costume (but if you pull it off, please send pics) its impact is truly scary. Last month we marked the very unhappy 37th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment.  After 37 years of restricting insurance coverage for abortion, we are excited to be a part of a bold new campaign called All* Above All designed to lift… Read more »

Alumni Spotlight: Joy Lawson

Joy Lawson is the Director of Young People For. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2006, with a degree in Women’s Studies. Read more from Joy here: How were you involved with Choice USA? JL: A mentor and advisor for the feminist group on campus approached me about the Choice USA chapter. They encouraged me to apply for the Gloria Steinem Leadership Conference in Washington DC.  There I was exposed to a holistic and intersectional approach to progressive issues and equipped with a skill set that would allow me to go back to my community to enact change. Once I returned to campus, all fired up, I heard that the Kansas School Board was trying to let the sex education bill sunset so that the more conservative members could… Read more »