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Young People Need a Future for Us, Shaped by Us

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March 27, 2020

With the recent news of COVID-19, it may seem like the only updates we see online are simply updating us on the crumbling state of the world. Confined to our homes and devoid of most social contact, we’re overwhelmed by the plethora of information and our inability to help.

While I, unfortunately, can’t present you with a solve-all solution, I can say that reading URGE’s Young People’s Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda gave me a break from the chaos. It made me feel empowered without requiring me to break from social distancing. 

This policy agenda uniquely outlines a comprehensive and inclusive policy vision. One focused on abortion access, sexuality education, democracy reform, economic justice, decriminalization and the creation of safe communities, and immigrant justice—all while centering the voices of those most affected by the legislation.

It’s different from other policy agendas I’ve come across for several reasons:

  1. It approaches everything from an intersectional and interconnected view. URGE’s policy plan ensures that each person is awarded justice in each area of their lives. While it realistically can’t address every progressive issue, it’s inclusive and thoughtful in addressing the ones it does include.
  2. It was created by young people in marginalized communities, for young people in marginalized communities. This policy agenda was crafted by asking communities to outline their wants and needs, so that URGE could help elevate local power—not created through guesswork. This ensures that the advocacy surrounding each topic is strategic and meaningful.
  3. It’s radical. Now is not the time to be subtle; our political climate requires that we push for progressive policy NOW. The Young People’s Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda is doing just that, as it pushes for a bold and necessary policy vision.

As a college student, I appreciate the willingness to advocate for policies that explicitly affect young people but don’t often receive focus. One of the most prominent examples from the agenda is the push for access to medical abortion supplies on college campuses. 

While I haven’t needed to access abortion services, I know and love many people who have. With the nearest abortion clinic 35 minutes away from campus, students at my school are faced with various barriers (financial, transportation, etc.) that would be dismantled with the passage of the policies presented in this agenda. 

Furthermore, proposing the eradication of student debt is crucial in establishing a society in which people are free from economic burden due to education. The burden students face when trying to obtain a college degree is often inequitable; therefore, eradicating student debt would be incremental in allowing both current and former students to work in fields they’re passionate about, without punishment regarding their economic background.

The policies outlined in this agenda are designed to empower us all. Whether financially, sexually, personally, or otherwise, they give us a platform to stand on. It’s a necessary reminder to remain inclusive and united in our activism and continue fighting for justice- despite stubborn political climates and partisan battles.

I hope that you will take the time to read it in its entirety (well what else were you going to do from home??) and that it’s messages resonate with you as much as they did with me. 

While it may seem like identifying community needs is only the first step, the network URGE continues to build and serve is undoubtedly going to push for progress- and this is an excellent framework to stand upon.