Jenna, 19 (Eagan, MN)
Why do you stand with Planned Parenthood?
“For me, it’s not even a question. It came so naturally. I first heard about Planned Parenthood when a Planned Parenthood representative was giving a sex education presentation to one of our women’s empowerment groups in high school. That was the first time I ever heard about sex ed comprehensively, and I was blown away. I hadn’t previously ever heard an actual conversation take place surrounding topics of consent or even healthy relationships. It completely changed how I go about relationships, even to this day. So, when Planned Parenthood not only provided me and my classmates that space, but simultaneously maintained an inclusive and culturally sensitive environment for ALL communities, I knew that this organization was something remarkable. I stand by Planned Parenthood because I have experienced the impact of a positive educational experience and believe that everyone should have access to comprehensive, inclusive, and intersectional health education and resources. Ever since that day I’ve been doing research on who Planned Parenthood is and what they stand for, and the more I hear the more I love.”
How did you first get involved as a volunteer?
“I’m part of a dedicated group of young activists through the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in Minnesota called Sex and Politics League, so I heard about volunteering through a mass email that came from one of the clubs I’m involved in on my college campus. In Sex and Politics League, we really focus on education and advocacy. We learn about sex ed and relationships, but we also take it out into the community – registering people to vote, collecting voter pledges, and just having conversations about Planned Parenthood with people in the community.”
How was your experience at Power of Pink?
“A lot of the people here are older than me. I came into this experience hoping that they’d rub off on me a little bit and I could take that home – but instead, what I’m going to take home from this experience is that there’s lots of power within me that I can access and share with other people. I’ve been able to sit in so many rooms and hear so many people’s stories and just be a listener in a lot of situations I haven’t ever had access to before coming here. It’s been an incredible privilege to just sit and listen to people who come from different backgrounds and have different experiences to share.”
What have you learned here that will help you make the world a better place?
“That there’s power within us and within each individual. By just showing up, standing up, and using your voice, you can make a difference. It can get really exhausting – sometimes it feels like people don’t want to hear it. It’s been two years since the 2016 election and it can feel like we’re fighting the same battles over and over. But if anything, I’ve learned that it’s more important than ever to keep fighting now. It is so important to know that we have power, and we have hope, and we CAN win. It’s so great to see so many people committed to making change in one room.”
Anything else you’d like to share?
“If you’re feeling like you can’t make a difference, find that group that motivates you and get involved. If you are able to, look into your local Planned Parenthood’s volunteering opportunities – but if not Planned Parenthood, look into other ways to get involved and fight back. It will remind you that there is hope, and there is power to be shared, and we can make a difference when we come together.”
Join the army of Planned Parenthood volunteers like Jenna that attended the Power of Pink conference and are working hard every day to make change in their own communities by signing up to volunteer with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Tags: Power of Pink Minnesota