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Name: Ali

Pronouns: She/They 

Astrological Sign: Libra sun, Scorpio moon, Sagittarius rising

Hobbies: Taking care of my (20+) plant children, painting/drawing, rollerblading, and adventuring around new places 

Favorite Snack: iced lavender oat milk latte (yes it’s a snack)

How did you become involved with Planned Parenthood?

I came across Planned Parenthood’s Twin Cities Teen Council Instagram page when I was 16 and immediately applied to be a part of the program. I was a Teen Council peer sex educator throughout my junior and senior years of high school which influenced me to pursue  a career in public health education/public policy. Now, I am in the Path to Power internship program with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund! 

Why is it important for you to advocate for sexual and reproductive health care?

My mother has been a labor and delivery nurse for 25+ years and was never afraid to talk about sex and reproductive health throughout my childhood. During my middle school health classes, I felt like I knew more about sexual health than the teachers and would teach my friends ACCURATE information about birth control, STIs, etc. at the lunch tables. It appalled me to learn my peers were so uneducated on sexual health; my mom had to break the news that my expertise was an outlier for most experiences. Sexual and reproductive health is a necessity for cultivating healthy communities, yet people in positions of power continue prioritizing their puritan ideologies over people’s wellness. This jeopardizes the human rights of everyone by restricting widespread access to competent sexual and reproductive healthcare/education based on a particular set of views. 

What does your work with Planned Parenthood look like?

Joining Teen Council in high school was the greatest plot development of my life at that point. I met amazing fellow high schoolers to learn how to teach comprehensive sex ed and developed social skills, presentation skills, and of course, MAD SEX ED SKILLZ! 

Now as an upcoming senior at St. Catherine University, I am back interning with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund! We have already learned so much about reproductive justice and grassroots organizing, and it hasn’t even been a month in. I am also working on writing a grant proposal to start a college-age, peer-to-peer, sexual violence prevention program that would educate leadership-driven students how to educate their peers and organzie with other passionate community members. 

What are you most proud of accomplishing in your work with Planned Parenthood?

Planned Parenthood fostered an environment where I learned to use my passions to develop an influential voice that is unapologetically me. I am most proud of the personal transformation that Teen Council guided me through, and I could not be more grateful for all the life lessons which reshaped the way I exist in the world. I want to spend my life advancing sexual and reproductive justice because this work is what planted a seed of worthiness and purpose in my younger self’s otherwise destroyed garden. 16 year old me would be indescribably astonished to see what those tiny seeds have grown into. What drives my motivation to continue this work is the idea of someday being the one cultivating the same sense of worth / purpose in other people’s lives. So, thank you Claire and every other amazing person I’ve met through Planned Parenthood/ Teen Council, because you are life changing. 

 What role do you think young people have in fighting for reproductive freedom and health equity?

Young people have a tremendous role in fighting for reproductive freedom and health equity. Put simply, we are the future; the last couple of years have shifted the world’s perspective on young people from witnessing just a glimpse of the power we hold. Young people's power to influence our future comes from organizing in numbers, going out into the streets to demand justice for human rights attacks/violence against people from disenfranchised communities, and voting in any elections we can. Systems that prioritize the needs of some over the larger majority have been in place for decades, but young people must commit to fighting against the systems designed to keep agency out of our lives. Just imagine how things will look once we can redefine society to fit the needs of ever-evolving communities. 

What advice do you have for someone who wants to get involved in advocating for sexual and reproductive health care?

DO IT NOW! <3 DO IT NOW! <3 DO IT NOW! <3 

Anyone that has even a *pinch* of desire to create meaningful change in sexual and reprodiuctive health, needs to sign up for an event ASAP! Even if you aren’t experienced with advocacy work or feel like you are underqualified in any way, we will accept you with open arms and guide you through the learning process with ease. Coming from personal experience, I have never felt unwanted in any advocacy role I’ve had with Planned Parenthood because the larger community of support we have, the more we can accomplish!

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