Why do you stand with Planned Parenthood?
“I stand with Planned Parenthood because I was aware from an early age that access to health care and reproductive care can really determine the whole course of your life. My mom was a single mom, my grandma was a single mom, and I have seen first hand how many more opportunities they would have had if they had had the power to control their own bodies and lives and access to reproductive health care when they needed it. It made me see how reproductive health is not prioritized and there aren’t the services for support once you have a child.
Access to reproductive health care determines what opportunities and chances you have with your life. It’s so important to be able to choose when or whether to have children, and I want to preserve that for everyone. It impacts your economic, educational, and career opportunities. My great grandma had 14 children and she was a baker, and she would get pregnant – because she didn’t have access to birth control – and she’d stop working until the child was able to be cared for by older siblings, impacting her ability to progress in her career and support her family financially. If she would have had access to birth control, she would have been able to determine her own life and her own future.”
How did you first get involved as a volunteer?
“I started volunteering after the 2016 election because it had just gotten to a breaking point where the world felt so bad that I had to do something. I looked at several different organizations I wanted to possibly volunteer with, and I really wanted to volunteer at an organization that was focused on policy change, because that’s what changes the world. I also wanted to volunteer with an organization that focused on intersectional issues – not just reproductive health, but also economic injustice and racism and how all those systems work together to oppress people. I found that organization in Planned Parenthood.”
How was your experience at Power of Pink?
“I’ve been volunteering now for about a year and a half, and I’m part of the action council in my community. I went to another Planned Parenthood training last year where we formed the action council and made a plan for capacity building. We’ve been enacting that plan for all of this year, and I was really excited to come here and learn skills and be able to build on that action plan. I wanted to gain skills and expand on what we’re already doing, and learn from other success stories about what other action councils are doing in their communities.
I went to a pre-conference institute that was a deep dive on community organizing. The workshop was about connecting with other volunteers, community members, and coalition groups through our shared values and vision for a better future. We talked about how we can act on our personal values through Planned Parenthood volunteering opportunities, and how when you form these deep relationships with your community and with other volunteers, you’re creating collective momentum for action. I was really excited to take that concept back to our action council and our community, and try to form those deeper relationships with more coalitions and community organizations that might not necessarily be focused on reproductive health but have the same values that we do and are fighting for the same things we are. I want to connect with them through our shared values to collaboratively build a more sustained movement over time.”
What did you learn that will help you make the world a better place?
“When you’re in the fight, you can sometimes feel alone. With all the things happening at the federal level, and even our state anti-abortion bills back in Minnesota, things like not being able to get our PAC Act legislation passed – it can feel like the world is against you, and it can get lonely and difficult. Sometimes I can feel burned out. But coming to things like this and being in community with people all over the country who are fighting their own battles and still persisting reminds you how important the fight is and that giving up is not really an option. Collectively, we CAN do it, because there are so many of us out there fighting all across the country to create the shared future we all deserve grounded in the values we all share.”
Join the army of Planned Parenthood volunteers like Jessica 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