When it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions, I usually opt out. The hyper-focus on body shaming and losing weight has always turned me off in the past. But this year, I feel differently about setting resolutions.
As an activist in my personal and professional life, I spend most of my time working toward a world where every person has the power and resources they need to lead healthy, fulfilled lives. This year I’m committing to these five personal resolutions to be a better reproductive rights activist, and I want you to join me.
1. Advocate for policy change in Massachusetts
This is probably the easiest of the five! Planned Parenthood is proud to support an extensive slate of legislation in Massachusetts that would expand access to sexual and reproductive health care and education. This year, we will continue to prioritize legislation that will expand access to comprehensive sexuality education and other needed services and programs. In 2015, Planned Parenthood will also support legislation that works toward broader issues of reproductive justice, such as mitigating environmental impacts on reproductive health and addressing female genital mutilation.
If you want to join me in my work to advocate for policy change, sign up to attend Sexual Health Lobby Day on January 28 and/or get email updates from PPAF.
2. Work in solidarity in the fight against racism
The youth-led movement for racial justice happening in Ferguson, Boston, and around the country should matter to every reproductive rights activist. No parent should have to live in fear their child will be killed, but so many black parents do. Reproductive justice is not just about being able to decide whether and when to have children, but further to be able “to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments.” Racial justice is key to a reproductive justice framework.
I resolve to show up more in 2015, engage more white people in action for racial justice, and support racial justice and reproductive justice organizations. I encourage my fellow white activists to also work in solidarity in the fight against racism and support groups such as SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.
3. Support the next generation of activists
My life as an activist began as a student organizer at Boston College. Doing that work on the ground with the support of organizations like Planned Parenthood and Advocates for Youth made me the activist I am today. I’m lucky to now work at Planned Parenthood, where I have the privilege of empowering, training, and providing resources to young people building power on their campuses across Massachusetts. I work with students at more than ten campuses, from Boston to Worcester to the Pioneer Valley.
In 2015, I recommit to empowering and connecting more young people to the resources they need to make change in their communities.
4. Assert that Sex Ed Matters
In 2015 it’s astonishing that some Massachusetts public schools are providing misinformation to young people about their health, using dangerous abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula. Young people deserve honest and comprehensive information and resources to form healthy relationships and prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
This year, I will uplift youth voices to reinforce the important message that sex ed matters - from empowering teens to attend and serve in leadership roles at Sexual Health Lobby Day to supporting campus activists who rally their communities around access to comprehensive sex ed.
5. Wear my feminism loud(er) and proud(er)
The holidays can be awkward – not everyone in my family holds my same values. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t bring up my work at the dinner table. This year, I commit to starting more conversations with family, friends, online networks, and new people I meet about why I’m a feminist and a reproductive rights activist (starting with sharing this blog post on Facebook and Twitter!).
I hope you’ll join me in resolving to fight even harder for reproductive rights this year and empower others to do the same.