Over the course of the past few weeks, reproductive justice champions across the United States have been celebrating the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in a variety of unique and meaningful ways. On Thursday, January 20th, for example, Choice USA and Campus Progress hosted a phenomenal event that placed six young RJ champions center stage to debate the historical impact of Roe, and the future of our movement. Sticking true to the mission and values of the organization, Choice USA invited six young activists from the movement to go head to head (with words) on the issues, and offer helpful tips for moving forward.
Here are some video highlights from the event.
Choice USA Executive Director, Kierra Johnson, had the following to say about the event and the anniversary of Roe v. Wade:
Young leaders will continue to defend the right to abortion and fight for reproductive justice. Our methods may differ from those who have gone before us. The issues we take on may seem different. In the end, though, the foundation is the same: we are working for a world where all people have agency over their own bodies and relationships and the power, knowledge and tools to exercise that agency. We are champions.
These conversations about young people and reproductive justice are of the utmost importance. If we continue to dislocate youth from the conversation, we will ultimately do the movement a disservice. The fact that over 100 young reproductive justice activists attended the discussion is a testament to our generations commitment to this movement. We’re certainly not absent, but we’re waiting to be taken seriously and given the tools and education we need to create lasting change.
Organizations like Choice USA and Campus Progress know this and they’re making significant investments in the next generation of reproductive justice champions. In fact, one of the comments that I made during my speech at the event, and I want to emphasize again today, was that young people have to give back to the movement by supporting organizations that support us. We can do this through simple donations each month to organizations that are committed to our work. Or we can donate to abortion providers strapped for the resources they need to provide life-saving services to women. Donations that make a difference… without breaking our pocket books.
Young reproductive justice leaders are organizing on campuses and communities all across the country and we’re actually winning on some really important issues. Whether it be establishing a reproductive justice organization on campus for the first time, or lobbying our university to provide free birth control, we are fighting to create change every day. But our relationship to the movement has to be reciprocal and mutually reinforcing. We need to be educated, activated, and provided with the necessary resources to create lasting change and sustain the movement long-term.
For the organizations that are making these strategic investments, thank you. I promise you, your work is paying off.
Andrew (AJ) is a vehement progressive, youth activist, and reproductive justice organizer. When he's not busy with the movement, you can usually find him dancing in the club or watching trashy reality tv.