June Activists of the Month

June, #Fight4HER, activists, 2019

Our #Fight4HER activists are fearless when standing up for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of people across the world. This month, we’re spotlighting #Fight4HER leaders Isabella Mahan, Eve Wilson and Sam Kearney.

Thank you for your dedication, and let’s keep up the fight for health, empowerment, and rights around the globe.

Isabella Mahan (she/her pronouns), Columbus, OH

  1. Tell us about yourself!

I am a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, studying Political Science and Peace, War, and Defense with a concentration on International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law. I hope to work with NGOs or international organizations to protect victims in post-conflict societies. I want to help create a global community that is equitable for all people and allows for each person to access their full potential without the bars of oppression.

  1. Why do you #Fight4HER?

I #Fight4HER because reproductive rights are a fundamental human right that must be guaranteed to each person regardless of gender, race, socio-economic standing, or the country they were born in. I firmly believe that without access to reproductive healthcare there will never be the possibility for the full realization of other rights that come through the progression of an equal society. Repro rights are a basic foundation for human rights and it is impossible to support such rights without the #Fight4HER.

  1. How did you find out about #Fight4HER?

I found out about #Fight4HER on the UNC campus while volunteers were petitioning. I remember speaking with one of them for a while and feeling excited about finding a cause I really felt passionate about.

  1. What has been your favorite part about working on the #Fight4HER campaign?

My favorite part of #Fight4HER is the feeling of hope that is present when I and other activists gather and are creating a plan for moving the campaign forward. Things can feel far too overwhelming at times, but knowing there are other people who also care to push these movements gives hope that change is not only possible but, as long as we persist, change is imminent.

  1. If you had one piece of advice for new activists, what would it be?

I would tell new activists to not get discouraged and to put energy into creating bonds with those around them. Especially with current domestic events threatening repro rights, the political arena can feel overwhelming and hopeless. Having a strong group of like-minded people around you to support one another when hardship occurs, encourage one another, and form communities that will not be broken by the attempts at oppression politicians may make not only allows for individual success and progression but will do the same for the campaign. To me, grassroots organizing is all about connection and community; just as this is important when growing #Fight4HER, it is important to implement the same feeling of community within ourselves.

  1. What other issues do you care about?

I am incredibly passionate about the assurance of human rights for all people. My studies have focused on the major issues within our domestic prison system, especially the abuses of women within the system. Transitional justice in post-conflict societies is also incredibly important to my studies and a key tenet of my values. After atrocities, I believe it is the responsibility of the global community to protect those who are most vulnerable and support them in their pursuit of peace and reparation. I concentrate on the progression and improvement of reparative methods to bring peace and justice for victims within their day to day lives as well as on the global stage.

Eve Wilson (she/her pronouns), Denver, CO

  1. Tell us about yourself!

I’m currently an architecture student at the University of Colorado-Denver. I’m a first generation college student and what motivates me is to build a better city for people who are of lower income and means. I grew up in a low-income household and I saw how families are affected by not having access to needed resources. This is also what motivated me to want to be involved in #Fight4HER, as one resource that is exceptionally hard for low-income families to acquire is proper reproductive care and family planning services.

  1. Why do you #Fight4HER?

Growing up, I saw how women in my family were affected throughout their lives by not being able to truly decide their destiny. Either by marrying young or having a child before they were ready, many of them had to give up on their dreams so my family wouldn’t judge them for choosing options my family didn’t agree with. Therefore, for myself and future women in my family, I want to remove the stigma of abortion, birth control, or simply choosing a different path than what is expected of us. I also want to make those options more widely available for women all over the world.

  1. How did you find out about #Fight4HER?

I found out about #Fight4HER at a university tabling event during the spring semester. It seemed interesting, so I signed up. Sarah Snead then contacted me to see if I would like to work over the summer as a volunteer and since then I’ve been involved.

  1. What has been your favorite part about working on the #Fight4HER campaign?

My favorite part has been working with all of my fellow volunteers. In this last month of being involved, I’ve gained so many friends. With them, I can discuss pressing global issues while also bonding as young women with similar interests.

  1. If you had one piece of advice for new activists, what would it be?

A piece of advice I would give is to not let bad events or situations really get to you. I’ve had people give me snide remarks for being involved in this issue and who tell me it’s inappropriate. I remind myself of my own values and keep in mind that not everyone is going to agree with me. That’s life after all.

  1. What other issues do you care about?

For me, another issue that really concerns me is the lack of affordable housing and the resulting homelessness in Colorado. I feel as if there isn’t enough incentive in Colorado for developers to build low income housing; additionally, not enough is being done to provide for the growing homeless population here either. I feel like more campaigning should be done on this issue and am looking for groups that are speaking out about this.

Sam Kearney (she/her pronouns), Madison, WI

  1. Tell us about yourself!

I’m an army brat (my mother is my service member) and have had the chance to travel throughout the U.S. and meet people from all over because of it. This diverse background has given me a love for people and their stories and helped push me into majoring in Public Health with a focus in Sociology. I’m also very interested in the environment and animal welfare and do my best to make those key focuses in my lifestyle!

  1. Why do you #Fight4HER?

I #Fight4HER because I believe comprehensive healthcare (including reproductive care!) is a right for all people – not just those within the U.S. Knowing what I do about the Global Gag Rule and how it negatively impacts not only reproductive health but also many other health prevention strategies in worldwide organizations means I can’t support this policy. I’m privileged enough to be able to #Fight4HER so I’m going to do what I can!

  1. How did you find out about #Fight4HER?

I actually went to the 2018 #Fight4HER summit in Ohio after a friend tagged me in a post about it on Facebook! I’m so excited to be a fellow this year!

  1. What has been your favorite part about working on the #Fight4HER campaign?

My favorite part about being involved with #Fight4HER is the chance to take an issue to the people and get their support. I love talking to everyone who signs our petitions and hearing their stories and watching them make the connection to how important this policy is!

  1. If you had one piece of advice for new activists, what would it be?

My advice to new activists (as a new activist myself) would be to take action. If you believe in something strongly, go outside of your comfort zone and fight for it! You don’t have to chain yourself to someone’s fence – just speak up!

  1. What other issues do you care about?

I not only care very strongly about reproductive rights for all, but I’m also a vegan and involved with animal welfare activism and groups too! Not only that, but as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I care deeply about the injustice we face and want to make the world a little bit brighter. I love people (even if I am an introvert!) and want all people regardless of their sexuality, gender, race, religion or culture to be able to live in a world that respects their health and their rights!

We’re committed to #Fight4HER and couldn’t do it without the support of our volunteers. Thank you so much for the hard work you put in every day to repeal the Global Gag Rule!

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