Astrological Sign: Libra
Hobbies: Walking my dogs, hanging out with my guinea pigs, traveling, and listening to music (Taylor Swift and Noah Kahan all day every day)
Favorite Snack: Cheez-Its, ice cream, and chocolate cake
How did you become involved with Planned Parenthood?
I first became involved with Planned Parenthood this past school year when they were at an activity fair looking for volunteers. I began volunteering during the election season, so I did a lot of door knocking and attending election events. I am currently a Path to Power Intern this summer and will continue working with Planned Parenthood this upcoming school year as a Generation Action Intern!
Why is it important for you to advocate for sexual and reproductive health care?
Growing up, I had very little knowledge in sexual and reproductive care. We didn’t really talk about it at home, and my lessons at school were very limited. Health classes mainly consisted of how to eat healthy and a very clear stance on abstinence only. As I got older, I realized that even as teenagers/young adults, it was still not a topic we discussed. Because as kids who never got the chance to talk or ask questions, it was now a stigmatized and embarrassing thing to discuss. When a topic is regularly discussed neutrally, people are more willing to have an open conversation continually. Whenever the education of young people is limited, it jeopardizes their future health because they do not have the proper knowledge to make informed decisions regarding their body. Adults in power need to realize that sexual health is not just about sex, it is also about teaching kids what a healthy relationship is, what consent is and isn't, boundaries, and so much more.
What does it mean to you to be an activist/advocate in your community?
Eva Lewis, founder of Youth for Black Lives said “To be an activist is to speak. To be an advocate is to listen. Society can’t move forward without both.” I think of this quote when I am working to make a difference in my community. You have to understand the issue by first listening to those affected by the problem. Being an activist in my community means actively, consistently, advocating for change, not just when I have the time or it's popular.
What are you excited to learn this summer as a Path to Power Intern?
I am most excited to learn the ins and outs of how to organize events, take stances on issues, recruit volunteers, arrange data, and all the other aspects of organizing social movements within my community.
What role do you think young people have in fighting for reproductive freedom and health equity?
Young people have the most power in our society to advocate for our rights and the rights of our neighbors. While most of us may not have the direct power or experience to change laws and policies, our voices are critical. We are the future of our society. We have to be the change we want to see in the world. We have a responsibility to ourselves to make our communities better, to pressure for continued change every single day. As the first generation with access to the internet from such a young age, we have a unique perspective of the world. We are no longer confined to the views of our family/ those around us. Instead, we are able to experience life across the globe, allowing us to be put in other’s shoes. We witness abortion bans and cuts in education funding in other states and are empowered to advocate for those rights taken away all the way in another state. We can send money or supplies to other women facing extreme limitations on their rights to an education and health care. We are a generation that expects more from life, but we must first build that life that we wish for together.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to get involved in advocating for sexual and reproductive health care?
Just do it; do it now, and do it often. Even if you think you will not make much of a difference, I promise you will. Once you volunteer for your first event, you will get a sense of how your words and actions can actually make a difference. You realize that the world is so, so big, but you don’t have to change the world, you can start with the community you are in. Find an issue within sexual and reproductive health care that you really care about or that is harming your community and focus on that. It could be expanding access to prenatal care, teaching sex ed to younger students, language and/or cultural barriers preventing people from seeking reproductive care, and so much more. Starting is the hardest part because there is so much that needs to be done, but it can only be accomplished when you take that first step.