Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Green-Pink Conference Day 2: Takin' it to the streets!

On June 20th, the West Coast FMF interns and other feminist and environmental activists attending the Green-Pink Western Regional Training traveled to Planned Parenthood Los Angeles' beautiful headquarters for a day of action and action planning! Co-sponsored by the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Sierra Club, and Planned Parenthood LA, the training was an opportunity for people to see women's rights, reproductive health, and environmental activits find common ground and develop a plan of action.

On Saturday, we started out thinking about how to get public attention for our concerns through community organizing and advocacy. Through the session, Community Organizing 101, we learned about the important tactics in effective organizing. We then put our knowledge into action distributing literature on Planned Parenthood's services around South-Central Los Angeles, and raising awareness of the low-/no-cost health services available to the community.

A common misconception is that Planned Parenthood only provides birth control, but the reality is that PP provides testing for STIs, HPV screenings, counseling, gynecological exams, cancer screenings, and more, for both women and men. Planned Parenthood is an integral part of low-income communities.

With the help of all the FMF interns and other conference attendees, we distributed 3300 door hangers advertising the free and low-cost services, in just 2 hours! Planned Parenthood now expects to see a rise in calls and appointments.

After the community action, the conference concluded with a section on advocacy. We learned how easy it is for someone to take a stand on an issue they care about: calling their Senator or Congressperson, circulating a petition, and even visiting your Senator or Congressperson in their field office! Yes, that is right - you can go and have your voice heard! Literally!

We then developed our personal goals and plans of action for when we get back to campus. Julia, another FMF intern and I, developed a plan to tackle welfare reform!

I urge you to speak up for the global issues you feel passionately about. Visit your representatives, launch an activist group, and develop your plan of action. Consider taking action on FMF's Afghan Women's Health Initiative, to reduce maternal mortality in Afghanistan, or FMF's Global Reproductive Rights and Health Campaign, to ensure that women around the world have access to the vital reproductive health services they want and need.

-Anita Lederer, FMF Campus Intern

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