By Sarah Hogg, Spring 2015 Choice Out Loud Campus Representative at James Madison University. Feel free to email Sarah or connect with her on Twitter @SarahLovely.
As we all know, February is the month of love. Everything seems to center around Valentine’s Day, and if you don’t have a partner, constantly being bombarded with messages of romance and true love can be pretty isolating. It gets hard to practice self-care when we’re saturated with the idea that our primary concern should be finding a partner. Furthermore, taking care of ourselves as activists is already a difficult task—while this line of work is deeply rewarding, it is also very demanding. In order to combat some of these potential negative feelings, I gathered a few of my friends and asked them to tell the world why they love this movement, both as a reminder of why we do the work we do and also as a reminder that Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to be centered around a romantic partner. Check out the photos below!
Working on this campaign with my fellow reproductive justice activists and friends helped me ground myself this Valentine’s Day. It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in all of the setbacks we face—with the rapid proposal (and passage) of anti-choice laws all across the United States, it’s no wonder we get tied up in the negatives. Getting burnt out is a normal thing—I don’t know any progressive activists who haven’t gotten tired, weary, and fed up at least once in their lives as advocates. Sometimes it seems like all the bad stuff out there is just too much to deal with. There are times where I don’t want to get out of bed because, well, let’s face it—this is hard. However, when things get rough, I think it’s especially important to examine why we do this, why we love it, why we fight. It can help us nourish our activist roots and allows us to grow.
I am truly in love with the work that I do. There’s nothing I love more. I know this, I’ve known it since I worked my first election cycle, since the first time I walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic to volunteer, since I ran my first campus campaign with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. I’ve never really lost touch with loving reproductive justice, but sometimes reminding myself why I do helps re-energize me and inspires me to do more. Furthermore, reflecting on this love is a form of self-care for me—activism in itself is self-care for me because it engages the deepest parts of me and lets me do what I’m most passionate about. Reconnecting with this love is healthy and feels really, really good.
The folks working in the reproductive justice movement are some of the fiercest, hard-working, resilient people I know. I’m proud to stand with them and work towards a common goal of reproductive freedom for all (one of the many reasons I love reproductive justice is that it is intersectional!). I’m thankful for the chance to get in touch with my roots with a fantastic group of young feminist activist.
So, this year (and every year), my Valentine is reproductive justice, and I couldn’t be happier about it.