I was your average student at my Catholic high school. I grew up in a middle class family on the cusp. We didn’t have resources for health insurance so years before becoming sexually active, I made my first visit to Planned Parenthood for care. It was there that I found help navigating a complex community health care system. This was huge – and it helped shape my future career.
I went on to college, and put knowledge into action when I began organizing with a labor union and became hooked on advocacy work. After volunteering with the ACLU, I was hired as an organizer for a Colorado Congressional candidate. On that campaign my job involved calling unaffiliated voters. Many people were apathetic and disillusioned by the election, but when I listened, it was clear that they were concerned about the issues, especially when I asked, "do you care about your uterus?" This experience showed me that reproductive rights issues can cut through the noise and transcend political boundaries. When we take time to engage in conversations about control of our bodies and how that translates to freedom, people turn out to vote.
That's why I became involved with Planned Parenthood. As an organizer and activist, I take policy and make it easier to comprehend; to spur action without overwhelming people. Sometimes it is as simple as saying, take out your phones and text five of your friends. Ask them to call Senator Gardner. We make some noise. That’s how we do it.
Planned Parenthood was and is the gateway to the rest of my civil rights and liberties. I am now in my mid-20s and part of the next generation of women rising to the occasion. I was a patient, a volunteer, an employee, and a donor. My name is Jen, and I am an influencer: marching, advocating, standing up, and standing together for reproductive health care and rights.