This summer has been a busy one for me, and I’m truly thankful. I’ve been doing the things I love and supporting amazing organizations. Not only have I been active as the Communications and Media Relations Intern here at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, but I also had the opportunity to plan and facilitate this year’s Young Feminist Collaborative (with my amazing co-facilitator, Zemora). The program —essentially a feminist camp for high school juniors and seniors — is a collaboration between Soapbox, Inc.; Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP); and Hampshire College. It takes place on Hampshire’s Amherst, Mass. campus each July.
During the first week, we watched a webinar from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women featuring Lynn M. Paltrow and Dorothy E. Roberts, which reminded us of the urgency of protecting Roe v. Wade in the face of Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
We visited the Sojourner Truth memorial and learned that the reproductive issues she faced are still paralleled for women of color today. Then, as we heard from amazing speakers such as Marianne Bullock and Marisa Pizii, co-directors of the former Prison Birth Project, and Professor Cora Fernandez Anderson, whose research focuses on abortion reform in Latin America, we had critical discussions about the many issues related to reproductive freedom in the US and around the world. One question that I kept hearing from the students — each day, speaker after speaker — was “what can we do to help, especially when we get back home?”
These students, in the midst of worrying about high school, preparing for college, keeping a social life, and reading tons of amazing books (they have the BEST book suggestions!), are so passionate about changing the world. They’re so passionate about helping, and they know this change starts at home in their local communities. Over the course of the program, they each developed a project that showed how they can work toward changing an issue they’ve noticed in their community, and hearing from them gave me so much hope.
I know after hearing of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, many of us were terrified, as we knew the nomination would come from the current president, and we remain with that feeling as we await the possible confirmation of his nominee. But it’s not over yet. We can still do something. And we (the “adults”) aren’t alone. We have so many amazing, powerful, fired-up young people right there beside us. And they care a whole hell of a lot.
So even though I was all the way in Massachusetts, Ohio kept its place in my heart and on my mind. We have work we can do here, from thanking Senator Sherrod Brown for his unwavering support for abortion access to insisting that Senator Rob Portman listens to his constituents and rejects the appointment of Kavanaugh (you can call 1-844-515-2798).
Get out and volunteer, talk to your friends and family, vote for representatives that support reproductive freedom (especially locally), inspire–and be inspired by–all of the wonderful young people who are already changing the world. We can’t let each other down. We have to keep fighting.