ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: activism

Why don’t you just leave?

I was born in Kansas. I have always lived in Kansas. All of my family and friends also live in Kansas. I love living here. I don’t plan on leaving my home any time soon. However, there is just one problem: Kansas doesn’t always love me back. You see, in Kansas, people that think like me have very little political power. As advocates for reproductive justice, our concerns and campaigns often come up short. We live in an extremely anti-choice political culture. Kansas has some of the strictest abortion-related laws in the country. It can be a very challenging and frustrating environment to do this work. The solution we are always offered to remedy this situation is to leave. Many people might ask us why we don’t leave if we… Read more »

Carrying That Weight Beyond a Day of Action

I am currently on Domestic Exchange at Barnard College, literally located across the street from Columbia University. Since the schools are located across the street from one another, we share the amenities, classes, and friendships. In essence, what happens on their campus is inseparable from our campus. On Wednesday, October 29, 2014, students and faculty from various college campuses will carry mattresses.  If they are unable to carry mattresses, supporters can carry pillows. Why? The purpose of the demonstration is to show solidarity with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence in a day of action called Carry that Weight. Sexual assault according to SafeHorizon, an organization working to empower victims of crimes of abuses, “is a general term that includes: rape, incest, child molestation, marital rape, date rape, sexual harassment,… Read more »

Treat Yo’ Self: Activist Self-Care

Working to create heal communities and comfortable spaces for everyone can be draining and we need to make sure we are making time for ourselves so that we don’t burn out. You’re doing amazing work, just don’t forget to treat yourself once in a while. This past weekend my friends hosted a feminist brunch where we were able to talk about all of the stresses of activism and living in patriarchal society. We talked about everything from how Emma Watson’s feminism speech for the UN didn’t quite do us justice, how all the white boy organizers love Chris Crass and why some of us are not on board with his allyship, and about how we can keep spaces feminist within organizing while still being inclusive. As activists who are constantly devoting ourselves to… Read more »

We Still Have a Long Way to go for True Equality in Kansas

Many of you have probably read about the recent Supreme Court decision not to hear cases from the 4th, 7th, and 10th Circuit courts striking down same-sex marriage bans. This move by the Court paved the way for marriage equality in many states, with the possibility of 30 states having freedom to marry by the end of the year. This is a huge victory for activists and advocates that have been pushing for decisions like this for a long time. We should take the time and celebrate this accomplishment and remember the long road it took to get to this point. But here in Kansas, as well as in many other states across the nation, this fight for marriage equality is far from over. Although Kansas is in the 10th… Read more »

Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Philanthropy

This summer my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a tiring three month battle, she has luckily made it into remission. Her birthday is next Friday, which coincidentally falls during my fall break. For her birthday party, my mom has encouraged her friends to donate to our local branch of the Susan G. Komen Foundation instead of buying her a gift. My mom thoroughly researched her decision beforehand. She informed me that the organization has been doing some great work providing breast cancer prevention services for low income people and people without healthcare. However,  I couldn’t help but feel uneasy about her choice of organization. In case you didn’t remember, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  This year the internet and the world in real life is looking much… Read more »

Quick Guide to Debating the Issues Without Losing Your Sh*T

We’ve all done it before. We are having seemingly harmless conversations with our friends. Then someone who you thought you liked says something way out of line. All of a sudden, you begin using crazy hand gestures, you roll your eyes, and use intelligent words like “stupid” as you mimic your opponent. The reproductive justice movement is no stranger to these kinds of heated conversations.  As I hear conversations among people with regard to reproductive justice, foreign policy, etc. I have heard productive disagreements and some unproductive disagreements. I have included some quick tips below to help us be more effective listeners and speakers. 1.       Speak Calmly I have noticed that screaming at the top of your lungs creates an atmosphere where everyone holds on to their position even tighter… Read more »

WTF Ohio? A Guide to Current Legislation and Activism

Right now, there are no clinics in Ohio with active licenses to terminate pregnancies. Every single clinic is currently out of compliance with Ohio legislation. RH Reality Check just released a run-down on Ohio’s newly renewed anti-abortion budget yesterday. Over the past few months anti-choice legislators and activists have been engaging in attempts to shut down clinics one by one, without much interference from local lawmakers. Recent Ohio legislation has constructed a terrifying model for shutting down clinics — and it could get used by states across the country. Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and other states have seen their fair share of Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider, also known as TRAP, laws that are designed specifically to shut down provider service facilities. Fortunately for women’s health advocates, many judges have ruled… Read more »

Dear People on 88th and Broadway

On Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 I worked with Grassroots Campaigns, Inc., a non-profit organization working on behalf of other non-profit organizations like Doctors without Borders and Lambda Legal. On this particular day, I canvassed and fundraised on behalf of Planned Parenthood in New York City.  I stood in the middle of a semi- busy sidewalk on 88th and Broadway donning an oversized tee-shirt. My goal was to enlist monthly and one-time contributors to Planned Parenthood. Due to the pleasant and not so pleasant interactions I had with people on the street, I have decided to write an open letter to the people I encountered.   Dear People on 88th and Broadway, I get it. It feels like it is 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit today. You have places to go, people to… Read more »

Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality in Ohio

Marriage equality seems to be expanding every month, with states like Michigan and Arkansas having court cases and lawsuits against the state. The issue of marriage equality has been dividing several state-wide LGBT organizations in Ohio. While some groups believe that Ohio is ready for marriage equality to be put on the ballots, others argue that not enough of Ohio’s voters would vote in favor in favor of the ballot measure. While 17 other states have made it a reality, the question must be asked: Is Ohio ready for marriage equality? A ban on marriage equality was first voted on in Ohio in 2004, passing with 62% of the voters in favor of instituting the constitutional ban. As recent as April, a federal judge has ruled the ban on recognizing… Read more »

Ways to Stay Involved in Reproductive Justice Activism Now that You’ve Graduated College

If you’re like me, you became involved with reproductive justice activism in college. College was where you first realized that underneath your sarcasm, snark and occasional misanthropic tendencies, you really wanted to be an activist. You channelled all your angst, frustration and passion into reproductive activism. It’s awesome that  you spent four years or five years or two years learning about and engaging with reproductive justice activism. Or maybe you were late to the party and have only been involved during your last semester of college. Now you’re about to graduate and you’re panicking, not because you don’t have a job — well, that too — but you’re panicking because you don’t know how to continue your activism now that college is over. Fret not dear friend, I’m here to… Read more »