This is a speech that was delivered at the Supreme Court on March 2, 2016. Here is the full text. You can watch the full rally here.
My name is Alyssah Roth, I am a young, queer Chicana from El Paso, Texas, and I am the president and co-founder of West Fund.
In 2010, when I started college, I became involved with what is nowURGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity. This organization has continued to play a vital role in who I am today, and more importantly, why I am here today.
In the summer of 2013 when HB2 was introduced, El Paso, along with the rest of Texas, clung to hope as we watched Senator Davisâ filibuster, wishing desperately that we could be at the capitol chanting and rallying with all of the fearless activists. But once HB2 was going to be signed into law, we decided that we could no longer sit back and let this devastating bill harm the resilient and powerful people of El Paso. So West Fund was born.â
by Samantha Romero, West Fund Volunteer
It was Valentine's week around this time, three years ago when I had an abortion. I was very fortunate to have had my abortion early in 2013 — before Wendy Davis filibustered Texas's HB2 and the clinic shutdown law went into effect. At this time three years ago, I was blissfully unaware of all that was happening in Austin.
I was in love with Stanley. We were young and recent college grads. But we were both underemployed and financially insecure. On top of that, at 24, I was only beginning to understand relationships. Understanding compromise between two is challenging enough, I couldn’t begin to think about three. We were in no way prepared to be parents. I know although I had Stanley, I felt alone because my pregnancy was something I kept from everyone, including my
mother and my sister.
Many things in my life have been overlapping lately, especially readings for my classes that touch on my own personal interests, such as personal identity. But I experience this the most with kick ass Chicana authors, or “women of letters,” as Sandra Cisneros recently put it in her Jezebel interview. It has only been within the past few months that I’ve really sat myself down to read much by Sandra Cisneros or Gloria Anzaldua, but now that I have, I really wish I had done it sooner.
As a mixed race person, my identity has always been really hard to navigate. But one of the ways I realized that I am the most privileged when it comes to my identity has been the way that I have never felt othered. I’ve grown up in a community where many people identify the same way I do because I was born and raised on the border -- which is such a powerful and divisive symbol for so many people’s identities, cultures, and languages here in El Paso. The culture here is so ingrained in so many aspects of my life -- language, holidays, religion, family, food -- that I’m almost not even conscious of it anymore, or the ways that it is different from more dominant white culture. In fact, it wasn’t until my second or third year in college that I said to my best friend: “Dude, I’m Mexican. I’m Mexican.” And since then, it has been an ongoing struggle for me to define my place in my queer body, in my border home, and in reproductive justice work.
Thanks to our supporters and volunteers for a successful Pro-choice Party! We were able to raise over $1,200, as well as build community around abortion access in El paso. Check out our album on Facebook to see all the fun!
We are still accepting donations. If you'd like to contribute, please click here.
To raise money to fund abortions, sometimes we have to get creative. When the National Network of Abortion Funds said they wanted to host a Taco and Beer Challenge -- we thought it was right up our alley.
It's simple and you can take the challenge!
All you have to do is:
Eat a taco, and/or
Drink a beer.
Donate to an abortion fund.
And then tweet and share a selfie of yourself and tag your friends to do the same!
by Mary Shaner, West Fund Volunteer
The West Fund is an abortion access fund that serves people in west Texas and along the border. We’re a group of young activists that were enraged that Texas politicians have done everything legislatively possible to deny 27 million Texans access to reproductive healthcare services -- including abortion. We formed in 2013 when House Bill 2 (HB2) was passed despite the pleas and work of people across the state. Below is our analysis about how it affects different parts of our community and how those identities and access to abortion care intersect.
A quick definition of intersectionality: One’s identity is influenced by many factors (e.g., age, gender, sexual orientation, class, race, ability, geographical location, language, religion, and/or immigration status, etc.) that intersect, creating distinct experiences. These experience vary from a position of power or privilege on one end -- or having the ability to get what you want or unearned benefits that someone is born into or acquired during their lifetime. On the other end, oppression and lack of privilege -- the internalized, interpersonal, or institutional dominance of some groups over others.
Although abortions are legal in Texas, these procedures have become increasingly restricted by the House Bill 2 (HB2). We will use intersectionality to explore the ways in which HB2 places a burden on people who are seeking to have an abortion in Texas, specifically in the El Paso/Rio Grande Region.
The West Fund is all about one thing: community. Part of that means making sure our community members have access to abortion care. And another part is doing all we can to have people in our community drive our work.
We would love to get to know you and why you support reproductive justice and abortion access. It's important to us.
Some of our board members and volunteers will be hanging out at Hope & Anchor onTuesday, June 16th at 6:30 - 9:30 pm and we'd love to have a beer with you. Click here to RSVP.
We'll have our cute buttons and stickers for donation as well as a sneak peak of our T-shirts that you can pre-order on the spot. It's a chance to learn more about us and what we're like when we aren't trying to change the world.
We want to hear your ideas, your hobbies, and how we can do more to fight for reproductive justice in our community. It's relaxed and you can roll through any time.
Click here to RSVP!
Looking forward to meeting you!
First off, thank you to everybody that helped make the West Fund’s Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon such a great success! We managed to raise over $2,100 to help our patients. The struggle for reproductive justice is never over -- especially here in Texas -- but we are building momentum for abortion access for ALL people.
My name is Gina Lawrence and I have volunteered with the West Fund for almost half a year. I got involved because I believe that reproductive justice is so much more than abortions--it’s about choice, autonomy, and intersectional feminism. I love working on the web and graphic design, so I have been able to practice my skills and interests AND help West Fund be even better. For the Bowl-a-Thon, my team, The Rhetorical Choice, raised $715 -- more than any other team -- and we’re all young, dedicated, and persistent. No special skills required!
Don’t hate me, but this is mostly a shameless self-promotion post -- with some Bowl-A-Thon info thrown in. Fair warning.
So, remember when I decided to participate in a Bowl-A-Thon team earlier? It was so simple I couldn’t even believe it. All you do is register using this link and you plug in what it asks for.
Once you put in your “personal” information, you get three important options. You can choose to START A TEAM if you and your friends want to get together and push each other to help reach your goals.
West Fund is a non-profit abortion fund that works to make abortion accessible to all people, regardless of their zip code, income, insurance, or immigration status.