Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop (Standing With Planned Parenthood)
I don’t know when I became a feminist, or when I decided I was pro-choice. I tell people I grew up in a pro-choice household and my mom has always been a PP supporter, but I don’t have an “aha!” moment that I can point to. I don’t think I had one; I don’t think I ever thought twice about it. It just is.
I volunteered with PPHP for the first time in 2008, after my freshman year at Syracuse University. I did voter registration (though I wasn’t yet 18) and some light blogging (on MySpace!). I began following blogs and email blasts so I could stay up to date on feminist news and reproductive rights happenings. Maybe that was the turning point; once I began reading and learning, I was hooked. It wasn’t long before I declared a dual major in Women’s and Gender Studies. Once my eyes were opened to all of it—patriarchy, rape culture, racism, classism, sexism, reproductive injustice (and the ways which all those oppressions are interconnected)—I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t get enough, I couldn’t do enough. I co-founded a feminist magazine at SU, I produced the Vagina Monologues, I handed out free condoms on Halloween, I participated in “Love Your Body” day and Take Back The Night. I came home and interned again with PPHP—this time in communications, the field I was planning on going into. I blogged for PPRSR, the affiliate up near campus, and handed out condoms at the NY State Fair. I took dialogue classes and got involved with the LGBTQ center, and was a student in an incredibly intersectional Women’s Studies programs.
My other major, my “real” major (the one that was supposed get me the high-paying corporate job) was Advertising. Most of my classmates are working in agencies today, and that was where I thought I’d end up. I had dreams of subverting the ad industry, gaining power from the inside and eventually enacting some serious feminist reform. But when it came down to it, I wasn’t interested in being a part of the ad industry. I interviewed for a few media planner positions, but my heart wasn’t in it. I need activism, I need feminism. I knew I wouldn’t be happy in a career that didn’t privilege those ideas.
After graduating, I got involved with SlutWalkNYC—a huge march in October that drew attention to victim-blaming and slut-shaming. I learned a lot about what grassroots organizing and intersectionality really mean. It also served as a crash-course in antiracism, and I emerged with a more nuanced understanding of systemic oppression.
Today, I’m Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic’s new Community and Online Organizing Coordinator. I love that I ended up here. To me, Planned Parenthood is basic. It’s what we have been saying for hundreds and hundreds of years: Trust women to make their own decisions about when and how they want to have children. It’s not radical, it’s not extreme. Just Trust Women. Planned Parenthood is almost scarily simple. What’s really incredible is how many people don’t see it that way. Even after all this time, reproductive rights are still under attack. Fresh attacks every day, it seems. We’re still defending our most basic rights, and it’s tiring and frustrating. But that’s why it’s so important. And as long as PP is fighting, I’m not moving on.
I’m honored to have the opportunity to stand with Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic.
Community and Online Organizing Coordinator
Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic