Choice Out Loud All-Stars: Sandra Sanchez
Our Choice Out Loud - On Campus representatives have done amazing work to engage the community around the issue of reproductive rights. We asked our graduating class of activists from this academic year to tell us why they decided to become a campus representative, what they accomplished, and what they've learned. Here's the latest post in this series.
Meet Sandra Sanchez.
What was your major?
I am a Political Science and Women's and Gender Studies double major at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia.
Why is choice important to you?
For me, being pro-choice is simply the idea that women have the right to choose and have control of their bodies and their sex lives. Being pro-choice is the belief that women have the right to have a child, to give up her child in an adoption, to have an abortion, or any other choice about her body. Also, an important part of being pro-choice is that it encompasses all of reproductive rights. This includes contraception, sex education, advocacy for sexual assault victims, and of course, choices made during the pregnancy. As human beings and as American citizens, rights are afforded to us that allow us to be free thinking, free living individuals - choice, in any way, but especially in a reproductive standpoint, fits in with all those values.
How did you get involved in the pro-choice movement? Do you intend to stay involved after you graduate?
I interned with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia in the Spring of 2013 as their Advocacy and Communications Intern. After that, I became the campus representative for the University of Mary Washington. Working for NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia got me to get heavily involved in the pro-choice movement, but, prior to that, I had attended various rallies and worked on pro-choice activities on UMW's campus, such as the Wear White for Women's Rights event. After I graduate, I plan on staying involved in the movement, although my current job is not in the realm of reproductive rights or even politics, I still plan on volunteering and spreading the word on what's going on.
What was your favorite event that you planned as a Campus Representative? My favorite event was when we held the 12th & Delaware documentary showing on campus! I had a good group of students that were engaged and interested in the documentary and afterwards the discussion that was facilitated was productive. After that event, many of the attendees wanted to work further to stop CPCs.
What is/are the greatest skill or skills that you've learned from being a Campus Representative?
The biggest skill I gained was engaging students and opening a dialogue. Especially since I am very passionate about reproductive rights, I wanted to really engage students so they could be just as passionate and potentially make a change. Engaging students and opening dialogue helped me not only as a campus rep but also in my current job where I'm engaging with clients about my company's product. I honestly believe that if you educate people then those lessons stick to them. It doesn't help to merely yell about being pro-choice, it's also important to engage people, to explain why this position is the right thing for society and for women.
What is your earliest memory of interacting with NARAL Pro-Choice America?
My earliest memory of interacting with NARAL Pro-Choice America was going to a women's rights rally my sophomore year of high school. To be honest, I went on a whim! I had a friend who lived in Richmond and she asked if I wanted to go to a rally that was against VA's TRAP bill, and I went. After that I just wanted to keep going to rallies, so, for the next one I went to, I spray-painted a sign that said "End the War on Women," and I was wearing a shirt I made. Then, a few months later, I was on the NARAL website!
Out of all the different ways to engage with this issue, why did you choose to engage with NARAL Pro-Choice America?
As a political science major, I think people getting together and protesting, rallying, and making noise are the best ways to make change. I wanted to engage with a group that did those things. I also think that NARAL Pro-Choice America does a good job of providing information about the issue and raising awareness. They have such a loyal volunteer base, and I really loved that about them.
What are your future plans?
After school, I actually got a job with a digital advertising start-up company. I will, of course, continue to spread the message of choice. I would like to eventually go back and get my masters and maybe a Ph.D! Who knows? The world is full of choices and I plan on keeping it that way!