ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: activism

Take Back the Night at Texas State

This week I attended my first Take Back the Night event at my university. For those who aren’t familiar Take Back the Night is a national organization that serves to create safe communities and respectful relationships. They seek to end sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, sexual abuse. The way my university organized was with a march through campus that culminated with a spoken word open mic at our outside amphitheater. I got a couple of my friends together and we met up with the other organizations that were sponsoring it and decided to march. It was a little nerve-wracking just because it was the first time that I openly marched for anything on campus. I’m an anxious person so I usually choose to show my activism in different ways, but this… Read more »

Self Care Isn’t Only Bubble Baths and Hot Tea, Sometimes It’s Simpler

Self-care is a necessary part of life in order for people to stay healthy, rested, and well. Sometimes life can just get too hectic and it’s important to remember to take a step back and take care of ourselves. Especially in activist spaces we tend to be so focused on others that our own well being can easily get pushed aside. Luckily however there exists the concept of self-care. Before I was even introduced to the terminology a year or so ago that notion has always existed. And it can look a variety of different ways for different people. Self-care can look like taking quiet time to read a favorite book, taking a long warm shower,  or splurging on desert or a new piece of clothing. As the concept of… Read more »

Making Gender Equality A Reality: International Women’s Day

View image | gettyimages.com If you haven’t seen the South Africa Salvation Army’s take on the #dress controversy of last week that puzzled some, irritated some, and fascinated others, here it is: It’s #InternationalWomensDay on Sunday. We care for abused/trafficked women worldwide. Help us help them. #TheDress pic.twitter.com/tQvxQTnHib — Salvation Army IHQ (@SalvArmyIHQ) March 7, 2015 This was absolutely brilliant. #TheDress hoopla was used to draw attention to violence against women. It explores what catches our attention and the topics like abuse that some don’t want to discuss. I don’t know about you but the campaign makes me appropriately uncomfortable. It makes me want to move, to share, and to act. This campaign could not have come at a better time because the United Nations and the world observed International Women’s… Read more »

5 Things I Learned From Lobbying at the Capitol

Yesterday I did something I wouldn’t have expected myself to do in a million years. I went to my Texas State Capitol and lobbied for a package of reproductive healthcare bills under the ‘Trust. Respect. Access.’ campaign. We had bills that addressed the need for comprehensive sex education in schools, to bills that addressed  the state-mandated 24-hour waiting period for abortions. But all the bills really simply fit into the platform of ‘Trust. Respect. Access.’ which means that we: Trust Texans to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions Respect the knowledge of healthcare professionals and their medical and ethical judgement about the care each patient needs. guarantee that everyone in Texas, if so chooses, gets Access to a safe, compassionate, and timely abortion. I learned so much from the training before… Read more »

Kansas Regressing on LGBT Workplace Protections

This past Tuesday, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback issued an executive order that removed workplace protections from being harassed, discriminated against, or fired based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The original order that extended those protections was signed in 2007 by former Governor Kathleen Sebelius. The protections included in the original order were fairly narrow in scope, and rarely enforced. As with any executive order, there are limits to what can be done. This particular order applied only to government agencies under direct control of the governor, affecting roughly 25,000 people. These people are important, and removing workplace protections may affect the job status of some. But, in a time when states are expanding protections for people, this move flies in the face of progress. There are few examples of… Read more »

The battle for accurate history textbooks in Texas

View image | gettyimages.com Texas is often known for its political conservativeness; if you take a look at the bills that have been proposed during the 84th session of the Texas Legislature that began January 13 you see many examples of that. These bills include many attacks on reproductive justice. It is often forgotten though, just how important the power of testimony is when it comes to preventing some issues from making this far in legislation. In September of 2014 the State Board of Education (SBOE) held a public hearing to discuss possible changes that wanted to be made to Texas high school social studies textbooks. On the surface this doesn’t seem like that large of an issue, after all shouldn’t textbooks be updated with the most current and accurate… Read more »

Queer & Feminist Musicians That You Should Be Listening To

We need more female-identifying musicians, and as activists we need to seek them out and listen to them! In high school, I played music quiet a lot and was in a few bands. This is probably because I went to a performing arts high school, but I did notice a disparity in female artists being the only girl in the guitar department. The music scene continued to be male dominated in college, but recently I posted a status on my Facebook to request anyone who was not a white straight man to reach out to me if they were interested in starting a band. The status got a lot of attention compared to most of my posts (almost 40 likes!), but unfortunately I only received three serious inquiries to play…. Read more »

An Activist’s Guide to the First Amendment

I’m always a little surprised when my college classes —most of which are for my major, journalism—relate to activist work. So last week when we discussed the First Amendment in my Law of Mass Communication class, it came as a pleasant shock to see how much of the lesson could be applied to social justice. Activism sometimes requires toeing the line of the law—protesting, picketing, writing petitions—so it’s important to be aware of what that law actually says. Stick around for First Amendment 101—don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz after. The First Amendment is a constitutional and fundamental right, and the government needs a compelling interest to restrict that right. It protects some basic freedoms—freedom of religion, of speech, of the press, of assembly and the freedom to petition…. Read more »

Abortion Funding is a Blessing

By Alyssah Roth, West Fund Co-Founder and President   “WHAT A BLESSING!” “Thank you so much! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!” “I don’t know what I would have done without you.” These are some of the things patients tell me when I tell them that the West Fund can help them pay for their abortion. I cannot begin to explain how rewarding and fulfilling it is to be able to alleviate the desperation in someone’s voice when they call us asking for help. Sometimes, patients tell me that I am the only person they can talk to about it. But I don’t do this work because it makes me feel good (although it helps) — it’s much bigger than that. I do it because I believe… Read more »