Florida, non-profit organizations, places, political action, Public Policy, society

Volunteering for Planned Parenthood

planned parenthood

Like many people, I was motivated to get more politically involved by Trump’s election and the Women’s March. In early 2017, I decided to begin volunteering for the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.

One of the first events I volunteered for involved contributing to a physical presence on the day of an anti-Planned Parenthood protest. We weren’t supposed to think of ourselves as counter-protesters since we weren’t protesting anything. Our goal was to overshadow the protesters so anyone coming to the clinic felt welcomed and not bombarded, and so people driving past noticed us more than them.

planned parenthood

Standing in the line on the street was fun. I felt some of that same Women’s March excitement in the air. People talked more about Trump than about the protesters. It was clear that his inauguration had spurred people into action. Like me, many of the people there were volunteering for Planned Parenthood for the first time.

The event was eye-opening for me. Our show of support for Planned Parenthood in the face of the protesters was dramatic. We arrived before they did, stayed later, and outnumbered them by at least 3-to-1. Also, they were more pathetic than I had expected them to be. I figured I’d feel anger when facing the protesters, but I felt sad. There were some elderly men, and also families with children whose faces showed they had been forced to attend. Their signs were full of fear-inducing phrases in ugly colors and fonts, while ours were bright pink. The protesters looked miserable; the Planned Parenthood side was joyful.

planned parenthood

This event was meaningful for me in more ways than one–it was the first time I publicly showed support for the pro-choice movement. I’ve been pro-choice for over a decade, but it’s the one political issue I’ve shied away from posting on social media about, or discussing with family. I was raised in a fairly conservative Christian household. Abortion is a major issue for most of my family members. When they vote Democrat, they do so with a heavy heart because of this one issue. I know that they are not ignorant or insensitive zealots–they are caring and compassionate. They genuinely view abortion as murder, and want it to be illegal in order to save lives.

I began calling and thinking of myself as a liberal when I was around 17 years old, but for the first couple years, I’d mention abortion as the one issue I disagreed with–I thought it should only be allowed in special circumstances, such as rape or incest. At some point in my early twenties I began considering myself pro-choice, but if anyone asked about my beliefs, I’d say, “I’d never get an abortion, but I think other people should be able to if they want.”

planned parenthood

Now, at 36, over two decades after I first began developing my political beliefs, I feel comfortable standing in the street wearing hot pink and holding a Planned Parenthood sign. I can say I’m pro-choice without wanting to add a preface or any qualifications to the statement. The evolution of my beliefs helps me feel kindness and compassion toward people who believe differently, at least on this issue. It also shows me that political stances are fluid, not static, which gives me hope for our country overall.

Talking about politics is important. My beliefs on abortion wouldn’t have shifted if I hadn’t encountered so many people who were pro-choice, if I hadn’t been forced to evaluate my beliefs and why I held them, over and over. This is why I want to make an effort to speak up more. I’m still figuring out how to do so in a way that is kind and open rather than judgmental or forceful. Blogging posts like this is one of those ways.

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non-profit organizations

#30DaysofNPOs Day 4: NAACP

The NAACP has been working for Black Americans’ rights since 1909. They focused on voter suppression in the recent election and, as a result, are calling for a restoration of the Voting Rights Act. They’ve also publicly recommitted to ending racial discrimination and injustice in light of the rise in hate incidents occurring since the election. The NAACP is a good organization to donate to if you want to supports orgs that are fighting the destructive actions of Trump and his followers.

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non-profit organizations

#30DaysofNPOs Day Three: Amnesty International USA

While they are known for international work, Amnesty International also protects human rights in the US. The group has been around since 1961 and is against police brutality, torture, the death penalty, prisoner abuse, and more. The will be integral in protecting humans rights in the US during a Trump administration.

Click here to read Amnesty International’s post-election plan. It involves the following:

  • Protecting the right to protest
  • Mobilizing people to take a stand against hate
  • Pushing back when Trump’s agenda puts human rights at risk
  • Demanding scrutiny of presidential appointments and nominations
  • Empowering members to put grassroots pressure on Congress
  • Pushing the Obama Administration to protect human rights in its final weeks

They’re already watching Trump and put out a press release about how his nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General could lead to human rights violations. Overall, they’re a good organization to support.

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non-profit organizations, political action

#30DaysofNPOs Day Two: SPLC Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has been working to protect civil rights since 1971 and is a great organization to donate to. They monitor hate groups, have a “hate watch” page and a “hate map” where you can look up active hate groups in your area. They tracked hate incidents the 10 days after the election, which reached 867. With all of the white supremacist Trump supporters coming out of the woodwork, the SPLC will be very important in coming weeks and months.

y'all means all

Y’all Means All: SPLC t-shirt

The SPLC also sells these shirts that would be great to wear in the South.

(Note: I’ve been better about posting these to social media, so follow me on Facebook, instagram, or twitter for updates!)

 

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non-profit organizations, society

#30DaysofNPOs Day One: ACLU

I am highlighting a non-profit organization (NPO) a day from Black Friday until Christmas. My criteria is that it 1) has an extensive history of success 2) operating on a national level 3) in a way that affects public policy 4) related to issues presently threatened by a Trump presidency, i.e. civil rights, immigration, race relations, women’s issues, religious freedom, environmental issues, workers’ rights, etc.

ACLU stands for the American Civil Liberties Union and it is one of the most well-known organizations I am highlighting. I chose the ACLU first because they cover all issues related to civil rights rather than a single issue. Also, the day after the election, the ACLU announced they would take Donald Trump to court if he implemented his proposed policies that would violate civil rights laws. (Here is a page in which they go deeper into all of the problems with Trump’s proposed policies. Since then, they’ve blogged about some of Trump’s nominations for executive offices.)

You can donate here, purchase a gift membership here, and check out their merchandise here. I am fond of the whistle blower shirt, since I was sorta kinda a whistle blower. I also kind of want to start carrying around a tiny Constitution? Oddly enough, the Trump victory has made me feel the most Patriotic I’ve ever felt in my life. I want to drape myself in American flags and tell Trump nope, this is my country, you aren’t taking it.

Note: I am still looking for more non-profits to highlight, so if you know of some that meet the criteria outlined above, please mention them in the comments!

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