ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: young people

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 »

Kansas Sex Education Fight May Return in 2015

In 2007, the Board of Education in Kansas updated its policy with regard to sex education, removing the prior policy of recommending abstinence-only until marriage curriculum, and replacing it with a recommendation for an abstinence-based curriculum that includes factual information on STI and unintended pregnancy prevention. While this policy, which remains intact, does not have the ability to require any specific curriculum for an individual school district, it has helped improve young people’s access to the information they need. Many school districts have adopted an abstinence-plus curriculum, which falls in line with the recommendations from the Board of Education. This policy also does not include a requirement for any specific type of parental consent mechanism. Instead, the decision what type of parental consent is required has been left to individual… Read more »

Police Violence Against Women, Girls, Queer People of Color

During this outpouring of demonstration and activism against the racist American system that does not indict killer cops, and media release of accounts of police brutality, let’s not forget that black girls and women are also murdered by the police. In the recent weeks we have seen many stories that highlight injustices of police brutality, and many of these have prominently featured the killing of black men. It is important to think about how the deaths of unarmed, innocent people at the hands of the police are not isolated incidents. Black men are uniquely impacted by this violence, but the brutality is also not just against men. Children, women, and queer folk of color are also facing death and abuse by the system. Perhaps, it is simpler for the media to… Read more »

A College Student’s Guide to Surviving Winter Break

For us college students, this time of year is dominated by stress of finals, projects, and papers. But when all of that is over for the semester, that stress doesn’t necessarily go away. Thanksgiving break is over, and for some of us that was a short glimpse into what the several weeks of winter break will offer us. I grew up in a small town, with a very conservative group of family, friends, and neighbors. Growing up, I had little exposure to the issues and ideas that I am passionate about at this point in my life. In a lot of ways, leaving the nest to go to college was a liberating experience for me, although my university is about as midwestern as any. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to… Read more »

Challenging beauty expectations can start but not end with a new Barbie

This past March, a man by the name of Nicholay Lamm decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help him raise money to create a new kind of Barbie doll. 8 months later, thanks to nearly 14,000 supporters, Lamm is now able to ship 19,000 new dolls to people. what makes his dolls so different? The whole premise of his design was to make a “normal” presenting Barbie doll with the physical proportions of an average 19-year old girl. He succeeded and named his creation, “Lammily”. She has made news once again because this week Lamm debuted a new accessory for the doll in the form of stickers. There is now the option to purchase stickers for the doll that represent normal physicalities, including freckles, acne, scars, stretch marks, and… Read more »

Young, Pregnant, and At Work

Written by Kelsey Ryland, URGE Law & Policy Fellow The Supreme Court will hear the case of Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service (UPS) on December 3.  Kadijah wrote about the case for us, but in short: Ms. Young, a pregnant UPS employee, was instructed by her doctor to request light duty, but UPS refused to accommodate her request. UPS routinely accommodates other workers with injuries or other limitations. The 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act should protect workers in this situation, but two lower courts have supported UPS. Now the Supreme Court will hear the case and determine whether or not the Pregnancy Discrimination Act has enough force to protect pregnant workers. Protecting pregnant workers is a reproductive justice issue that hugely impacts young people. This isn’t the 1950s anymore and most… Read more »

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 »

A wolf in sheep’s clothing, is still a wolf

Recently, a mother in Pennsylvania was sentenced to prison because she ordered the abortion–inducing-drugs – misoprostol and mifepristone, over the internet for her daughter who was in the early stages of a pregnancy.  Before I get into the details, let’s read this quote from the prosecuting attorney in the case:  “it is vital to note that this case is not about pro-life or pro-choice. In actuality, this case is about endangering the welfare of a child through the unauthorized practice of medicine and pharmacy.” Actually, no.  The daughter in this story was not experiencing any symptoms that were abnormal for an abortion of this kind.  The abortion pill induces a miscarriage, which can lead to severe cramping, the exact symptoms the daughter was experiencing.  Therefore, the prosecutor’s claim that this… Read more »

Why I Married Young

Hello, my name is Paul. I’m a 22 year old college senior, and I’ve been married for 3 and a half years now. Yes, I married my high school sweetheart. We’ve been together since we were a sophomore and a junior, respectively, and we were engaged before I even graduated. After my first year in college (her second), we were married, and we’ve been together ever since. Quick Disclaimer: This post is not an endorsement of young marriage or marriage in general. I only seek to promote respect for everyone’s relationship decisions. Also, this is dealing with my personal story, so there is only discussion of a cisgender, heterosexual experience. This is not everyone’s experience, and that is precisely why I say we should always respect everyone’s relationship choices. In… 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 »