OP-ED: How I’m Keeping Up Activist Momentum Post Women’s Marchby Jennifer Levitt for Planned Parenthood February 8, 2017
After experiencing the solidarity at the San Diego Women’s March and seeing it radiate across the globe last month, I was more inspired than ever to protect the essential rights and freedoms I hold so dear. That covers a lot of ground — from the basic reproductive health care and education that Planned Parenthood provides, to the rights of immigrants who seek refuge in our great country. It was uplifting to see people from all walks of life and a variety of viewpoints come together to fight for a future in which people can follow their dreams and plot the course of their lives on their own terms.
Many people are now asking themselves: What are the next steps?
For me, answering this question lies in supporting community organizations. Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights are facing unprecedented attacks. As a longtime supporter of this great organization, I know that access to basic health care — including birth control, STI testing and treatment, cervical cancer screenings, breast cancer screenings, and yes, abortion — helps women improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the well-being of our entire community. By providing reproductive health care and education, Planned Parenthood is also providing social justice to the people who need it most.
I encourage you to learn more about Planned Parenthood, and to sign up for their email list. Planned Parenthood does an outstanding job of keeping supporters informed of attacks on reproductive rights, helping you contact your governmental representatives or sign petitions when access to safe, legal abortions and quality reproductive health care is in jeopardy. During a time when so many people are feeling frightened and discouraged, it’s especially important (and empowering) to make our voices heard.
You can also join me in volunteering with Planned Parenthood. Earlier this year, I united with hundreds of other supporters at Pink Out Day in Sacramento. We showed our support for Planned Parenthood to governmental representatives at the state capitol and learned what we can do to protect the women, men, and teens who rely on Planned Parenthood for their basic health care needs. It was inspiring to learn how much support we have from most of our representatives. But this is just one of the many volunteer activities that support this organization. Many volunteers distribute information about Planned Parenthood’s services at community events, while others lend a hand at their administrative offices.
Of course, another important way to support Planned Parenthood is through financial support. Every donated dollar helps Planned Parenthood provide reproductive health care and education. What’s more, this organization advocates for reproductive rights so our local, state, and federal representatives understand how critical Planned Parenthood’s work is in our communities. They knock on doors, they make phone calls, and they visit our legislatures to make sure our community and our representatives are fully informed about Planned Parenthood. Our donations help make health care, education, and advocacy happen!
On April 6, I am going to The Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest’s 54th Anniversary Dinner, Now More Than Ever, to show my support. I hope you will join me there, because we must protect Planned Parenthood and ensure its doors stay open for generations to come. Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years. And, I am going to do everything in my power to make sure it will be here for the next 100, providing preventive and reproductive care, abortion services, education, and more for the people who need it most.
To learn about all the ways you can help support Planned Parenthood visit planned.org/howtohelp. This website will explain how to sign up for their email newsletter, volunteer, donate and more. We need your help – now more than ever.
Jennifer Levitt is a long time community volunteer, centering many of her efforts around social justice issues in the San Diego community. She formerly chaired both Jewish Family Service and Jewish Women’s Foundation and is currently a member of the Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest Board of Directors.
*Photo from Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest Facebook page, taken at the San Diego Women’s March, Jan. 21, 2017.