The value of being an on-again, off-again activist

16 May

Earlier this year, I stepped away from the reproductive justice blogosphere. I wasn’t overwhelmed or busy; instead I felt bored. I felt as if I had been repeating the same conversations over and over, while getting nowhere. I wasn’t dismayed about the future of abortion rights so much as ambivalent.  I figured I would step away, take a break, and find my enthusiasm. I figured reproductive justice could wait for me.

While on my break, my local newspaper posted an anti-choice opinion piece on the horrors of Gosnell. It went something along the lines of “why isn’t mainstream media talking about this” and “we need to stop abortion now.”  I shook my head, but didn’t do anything about it. I just closed the newspaper.

Another day, I came across a post on another message board I frequent where a user said that seeing a woman breastfeed in public made them uncomfortable, and that women should cover up so that the user wasn’t distracted while eating her dinner. I sighed and closed the thread.

Seeing these two different reproductive justice topics outside of my RJ blogosphere got me thinking, though. The conversation doesn’t stop when I choose to step away–it just loses my voice. And not just any voice for reproductive justice, but MY voice. But that’s not the only thing I realized. I also realized that the RJ discussion doesn’t just happen in the blogosphere, on our pro-choice blogs and twitter hashtags. It happens in everyday conversations, among people who don’t spend their every day engrossed in a battle for our rights.  I don’t need to dedicate every waking hour of my time to pushing for reproductive justice; I can instead go about my daily life and find small conversations or local articles to reply to.

But I’m not the only one who can do this. It can be tough and draining to dedicate your career or all your volunteer time to reproductive justice (technically, it can be tough and draining to dedicate all your time to any one subject).  And while it is essential that we have those 24/7 dedicated people, reproductive justice still needs the “now and again” people. The people who care, but don’t spend their days writing blog posts and tweeting. We need to get our information out into the greater world to the people who may not even know of the term reproductive justice. We need our friends, our siblings, our parents to not just see our dedication but also understand where we come from.

So if your co-worker mentions state funding for abortion, take three minutes to give them a reply. If you see an article in the local paper about TRAP laws, take five minutes to write an email and send it. If you come across a Bowl-a-Thon page, share it on your social media pages. Then go about your day, and realize you’ve done a ton of good for the reproductive justice movement.

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