#WhoRunsTheWorld (Or #NowWhat)

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“Who runs the world?” -Beyonce (Women do, duh.)

Saturday’s global Women’s Marches scattered expectations, supporting various causes that included women’s rights, immigration reform, health care reform, environment protection, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, workers’ rights and to give Donald Trump the finger. A reported 673 marches took place worldwide, and in my hometown of Reno, over 10,000 men women and children took to the main street with signs and chants, positivity and hope.

So,now what?

My biggest fear is this movement will slowly fade as the year progresses. Where do we go from here? Despite my admiration for the high turn out of this weekend’s protests, what will be most impressive is what we do by putting our words and feelings into actions. Movements are not just about dramatic marches- they’re everyday acts of resistance, creating the positive change and seeing growth with issues we marched for.

First off, VOTE! Vote in your upcoming city, county and state elections! That is the biggest way to have your voice be heard. Support who and what what you believe in. Call, write and email your city’s and state’s representatives about the issues that you are concerned about the most.

Start by donating to organizations like Planned Parenthood, PFLAG, the ACLU and the National Lawyer’s Guild. Also, support media outlets like NPR that provide the public with reliable journalism.

I also understand if you’re broke (you and I both!). One of the simplest thing you can do is not be a passive observer if you see someone being mistreated. Stand up when you see someone being teased or harassed. Tell the abuser that they are wrong. One of the best way to support women, people of color, the LGBTQ, etc, is to stand up for them and never be complacent on something you believe will advance their position in society, as well as their happiness and safety.

If you are more community orientated, volunteer at one your local non-profits. Organize a toiletry drive for a local women’s shelter (shelters often need sanitary napkins and tampons the most). Spend some time at your local animal shelter- kitties and puppies need love, too. Get involved with political and advocacy groups in your area. Get off your couch, step out of your comfort zone, meet some cool people and make plans to change the world!

Remember that the resistance doesn’t stop with the march- we need to keep the drumbeat going and the pressure on from all sides and state. There is no “right” way to get involved- you simply need to get out there. Figure out what works for you. Then do it. JUST DO IT. Fight on, dear reader!


I Stand with Planned Parenthood

I was 23 the first time I used Planned Parenthood’s services. I was uninsured, broke and in need of a medical exam. At that time, I just dropped out of college so I couldn’t use the campus clinic and going to the ER was out of the question. Planned Parenthood was the most affordable choice for me, and for my friends, who recommended that I go and seek out their services. I received quality care from professionals at a low cost and felt safe.

Last week, when I read about the House and their decision to freeze funding for Planned Parenthood for a year, I was livid. I understood their ruling (even though I still think it’s ridiculous) and my heart went out to the millions of people who rely on their services. 2.7 million women and men in the United States visit Planned Parenthood health centers annually, with one in five American women visiting a Planned Parenthood at least once in her life. Despite what some think Planned Parenthood does, Planned Parenthood provides nearly 400,000 Pap tests and nearly 500,000 breast exams each year. They provide about 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including 700,00 HIV tests. The organization also provides educational programs and outreach to 1.5 million young people and adults each year. Only about 3% of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.

Today, I stand with Planned Parenthood. I am in support of women’s health care and affordable care. As a woman who still uses Planned Parenthood for contraceptive services, I don’t want to see this great organization fall and not be there for those who need it most. If you are in support, wear pink today. Attend one of the many support rallies across the country. Donate. Volunteer your time in a Planned Parenthood facility. Learn about what Planned Parenthood does for your community.