Em-URGE-ing Voices

Posts Tagged: social justice

We Won’t Go Back: Raising Youth Voices in Reproductive Justice

History was recently made in Ohio when over 300 people rallied at the capitol in Ohio for reproductive rights. I was fortunate enough to attend the We Won’t Go Back rally at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio with my Choice USA chapter (and a fellow Choice USA blogger!). At this rally, I was very inspired by the high attendance, chants and calls to action to vote and change the political climate around abortion rights in Ohio. I felt lucky to be in the presence of America’s pro-choice superstars, such as Ellie Smeal of Feminist Majority Foundation. I kept thinking of how fortunate I was to be part of something so historical and important for my generation. However, I observed something funny about the representation of the reproductive justice movement throughout… Read more »

Like, Favorite, Retweet: At Netroots Nation, Sharing Was Caring

From National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change to CatalystCon to the National Womens Studies Association’s annual convening, I’ve been to my fair share of conferences. When I attended Netroots Nation last week, I was certain that that it would feel old hate. After all, conferences like this tend to follow a predictable template: 1. Tote bags are a given. 2. Where there are tote bags, there will be free swag.

Masculinity and Care

This post is part of a series celebrating Choice USA’s Bro-Choice Week of Action. For more information, please visit our website and take the Bro-Choice pledge.  I’m in the seventh grade; a shy kid with a stutter, and short for my age, sitting by the front of my school long after the final bells have rung. It’s mostly empty, so I notice when that this kid, even smaller than I am, is stumbling through the parking lot, towards the front of the school. He’s carrying this black, big-ass tuba case, and I laugh–he can hardly walk–before I realize he’s crying. A nose running, chest heaving, proud-hurt-boy cry, blood running down the side of his left leg, soaking his white shin-high socks. I stop laughing. I start running. As I reach him, I realize… Read more »

Suffrage: A Reproductive Justice Issue

Let’s open our grade school history textbooks, shall we? Most of us know that, historically, suffrage was intended for white men only, in their infinite wisdom. And in their infinite wisdom, white men have decided for hundreds of years, both in the U.S. and abroad, that certain groups should be excluded from the voting practice for a number of great reasons, e.g., which God you believe in, what kind of genitalia you were born with, the color of your skin, income, etc.  Suffrage for (white) women was attained in 1920 with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Suffrage for people of color, particularly black people, was attained in 1870 with the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment during U.S. Reconstruction. But the right to vote isn’t as… Read more »

Reproductive Justice Violation: Shackling

I cannot imagine a place where one might stand and have a clearer view of concentrated disadvantage based on racial, gender and class inequality in the country then from inside the walls of a women’s prison. – Beth E. Richie (“Feminist Ethnographies of Women in Prison” Beth E. Richie) Prisons and jails were constructed by and for men. They then became a way of perpetuating the oppression of disadvantaged groups – like people of color, who happen to be disproportionately incarcerated. While the conception of our prison system may not seem pertinent, acknowledging this fact helps to illuminate the disadvantage that exists in these institutions today. Over the past thirty years, the number of women in jails and prisons has grown rapidly. Despite the rise in the incarcerated women population,… Read more »

An Open Letter to Abigail Fisher

Abigail Fisher was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin and is currently suing the school because she believes she was a victim of racial discrimination. Abigail Fisher is white. In 2012, the Supreme Court took up her challenge to the equal opportunity laws that govern a small percentage of admissions to the UT system (three-quarters of students are admitted automatically for graduating in the top 10 percent of their Senior class).  The justices then sent the case to be reheard by the lower courts. However, in October 2015, The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, it’s first major affirmative action case since 2003.* Abigail missed the 10 percent cutoff and was evaluated based on UT’s criteria which includes academic achievements, community service, and life circumstances, including… Read more »

Issa Rae and Awkward Black Girl making the world stand up and LISTEN!

Issa Rae is a talented director, producer, and actor has taken the internet and the web series realm by storm with her show The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl. This show captures some of the day to day antics of Jay, a young black woman navigating through the spaces of work, love, and the madness of life coupled with awkward and hilarious flashbacks of Jay’s childhood. Issa shows a refreshingly real look and tends to tackle issues that many feel are too taboo and controversial. This show makes fun of stereotypes that women of color are often labeled with and every other culture as well. No one is safe. The language is raw and unedited, but I feel that this adds to the relatability of the show and the connection… Read more »

What the Hell is Reproductive Justice?

I feel compelled to explain something. What the hell is Reproductive Justice? Reproductive Justice, (or as the cool kids call it, “RJ”) is an umbrella term. Reproduction is a vague term; Justice is even harder to define. RJ is associated with, but unique to, “Pro-Choice.” Pro-Choice is a term that emphasizes abortion. RJ encompasses issues beyond abortion — some issues you may have never guessed. A just state of reproductive rights will occur when all persons have the knowledge, economic means, social power, and resources to make informed decisions for maintaining optimal sexual health. “Just” is underlined because this four-letter word is so damn rich in meaning. Eleventh grade Social Justice class defined Justice as: “The recognition that there are enough human and material resources to meet the basic needs of all life.” Read that… Read more »

Some Thoughts Looking Back, and Looking Forward, on the Murder of Trayvon Martin

Like so many others, we at Choice USA have been shocked and saddened by the murder of Trayvon Martin. The loss of such a young life is tragic, and the pain of that loss doesn’t dim now that the pursuit of justice has been put in motion. We at Choice USA believe ensuring the safety and bodily autonomy of all people is paramount in creating a more just society. This includes the right to live without fear of being profiled, controlled, targeted, attacked, or killed. But that’s not always how it works. We want to live in a culture and society where all bodies are valued and that the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are truly inalienable. So when the media narrative around this case fell into… Read more »