Belcourt, North Dakota (currently living in Minneapolis)
Why do you stand with Planned Parenthood?
“Where I grew up, people didn’t talk about women’s health care or abortion at all. When I got to college, I read about the history of Planned Parenthood and realized that before Planned Parenthood was around, there were a lot of women who didn’t have any access to health care or access to make decisions about their own bodies. I learned that when abortion was illegal, women used unsafe measures to prevent pregnancies, and that people actually died because of it. That was when I realized the high stakes around this. I realized it was something that was so essential, and a basic human right. I couldn’t believe people put their bodies through so much – and I realized how important it is for women to make decisions about their own bodies and lives.”
How did you first get involved as a volunteer?
“When I moved to Minneapolis, I wanted the chance to make more change and saw a lot of options to make change in my communities. I had classmates and friends who were volunteers at Planned Parenthood on my college campus, so I knew it was an option. I decided to volunteer because if people like me aren’t stepping up to be a volunteer, no one hears our voices. I wanted my voice to be heard.”
How was your experience at Power of Pink?
“I think that a lot of times, women of color are told spaces like this aren’t for us. Specifically as a Native woman, I always feel that even if places actually want native voices we can be tokenized. But this weekend, I feel like women of color’s voices have been centered, and I can tell it was intentional and not an afterthought. I feel really energized by seeing other women of color tell their stories and speak to the injustices they’ve faced their whole lives and their reasons behind doing this work.
Yesterday, we had a Native caucus. I was hearing from other Native women about why they were getting involved with Planned Parenthood even thought people at home don’t talk about it. We all have stories – and unfortunately, it’s often harder for Native women and women of color to feel heard. I’m so grateful for each and every one of the people in that caucus. It was really powerful to be in that space.”
What have you learned here that will help you make the world a better place?
“I think I’ve just seen more examples that building relationships and writing your own narrative and bringing that story out into the world is so, so, so important. There’s a reason we are all here, and every person has a story. The women who are doing the work now were energized enough to get us here this weekend – so we can energize people back home to stand up for what they care about too. This weekend, I’ve realized how important that is.”
Join the army of Planned Parenthood volunteers like Tyra 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