I became a sister of Alpha Nu because I believed in the sisterhood's vision--to unify communities through the empowerment of women from all backgrounds. But never did I think that the leadership development skills that I gained during my time in chapter would lead me to the capital of the United States, to speak face to face with congress members on multicultural and women's rights issues.
As the community service chair for my chapter, I had the pleasure of networking with many organizations both on campus and in our town. One of the organizations that approached us for programing happened to be Planned Parenthood, Generation Action--a group of young college students who work in the community to spread awareness and educational materials on health. With them, we spent a few weeks tabling on campus and learning more about women's health and other issues facing our community.
It was a wonderful experience for us as a chapter, but also for myself. I learned so much about community engagement through this partnership, and I was able to build upon the voice I found when I joined Alpha Nu. But I wanted to do more. So I became a member of PPGA as well.
Then, in the summer of 2015, the year I graduated, I was given the chance to travel to Washington DC with PPGA with a group of other young professionals to speak with and educate our congress members on issues such as Title VI, the golbal gag order and the many uses of birth control. I had been to many rally days back in my own state, and have spoken with local congress members before. But none of that prepared me for the moment when I actually walked through the halls of our national capital and shared my story with the nations law makers.
Not every congress member we met with was excited to see us. But for those who listened, we were able to find some common ground, which was powerful in and of itself.
One of the most powerful and personal moments for me was when I finally shared my personal battle with ovarian cyst with some of our congress members and how if it wasn't for the policies listed within ACA (Obamacare) most health insurance providers wouldn't cover me. It blew my mind just how little some congress members knew about how the people in their state were effected by pre existing conditions. But I was more than happy to educate them, and thankful to the law makers who took the time to listen.
I spent a total of a week in Washington DC, speaking to law makers, learning about the health issues women face around the world and developing effective strategies to help women combat these issues themselves. There still is so much work left to be done in our communities when it comes to women's healthcare and reproductive rights. But I can't help but to feel a bit optimistic when I see the parallels between the work I was doing there with PPGA and the values and purposes Alpha Nu holds dearly. While my community engagement work is now more limited, I'm proud to know that I'm a sister of an organization that continues to promote and advocate for the rights and empowerment of women everywhere and always encouraged when I see the powerful impact my sisters, young and older, have on their communities at large.