What it’s like to be a VP at Planned Parenthood

Ever since Donald Trump became the 45th President of the U.S, it seems like PP has been under attack more than ever. Women and allies have banded together to let their voices be heard to keep PP from becoming dismantled and we are so lucky to have a boss like Christina Chang in our corner.

Christina Chang is the VP of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood and she is your next feminist inspiration. She has been on the battlegrounds, providing services and care to New Yorkers who desperately need it, and speaking out on social media telling people how to get involved with their local PP.

We got to speak with Christina at DEED’s Feast for Action event focusing on women’s empowerment. Check out DEED here, and read on to find out her take on feminism, what is in store for the future of Planned Parenthood, and how you can get involved in the fight for PP. 

What was your reaction after finding out Donald Trump won the 45th Presidential election?

So we had a watch party with PP and it was around 2 a.m. and I had to leave the party. I left crying because I realized the numbers were not going to add up.

I woke up the next morning, hungover and sad, and my kids said, “Mommy! Mommy! We have our first female president!” I said, “Actually no, that’s not true, kids. Hillary did not win.” My seven-year-old looked at me and said, “What are you talking about mom? Bullies don’t win, you said that mean people don’t win.” I did say and did believe that.

After that I went to work and saw all the people around me and the work we had to do, and we just all held each other and cried.

What is your “new normal” at PP?

We’re fighting all the time, and that is really hard to sustain. So right after the election, congress was trying to appeal the ACA and defund PP through that process, we had to fight! We had to rally, we had to show that we had support, we had to make ourselves heard, and it was exhausting.

But we actually were able to fend that off, and now we have to go back and do it again. This time though I have hope because before I did not know if we were going to win that battle, now I do.

I knew y’all were going to win that battle, because we are definitely not the minority in supporting PP!

Actually we are not! 75% of people in the United States support planned parenthood. Those voices needs to be heard, for PP and lots of other organizations making sure that people are safe and respected.

Why do you not want people to counter-protest at Planned Parenthood sites?

I know there are people out there who want to fervently defend those decisions people should be able to make. But to do it outside of our health centers unnecessarily involves the person who is just trying to seek care. We want our patients to come and feel safe and not be caught in this cross shouting and fighting. It’s not what they are there for. We found that this policy of non-engagement with protestors actually de-escalates the situation.

We need people to protest, we need people to raise their voices, just don’t do it in front of our health centers because it creates a really scary and confusing environment for our patients.

How do you feel about possibly being a inspiration to many millennial women out here in the U.S?

I would be incredibly humbled. A lot of the times you don’t feel like what you have to say is worthy of being lifted up like that and able to inspire. If i’m able to do that and touch someone and make them feel like they are able to do something bigger than they ever dreamed, I would feel incredibly privileged and lucky.

Who is your inspiration?

You know, I’ve been reflecting this and why it was so hard for me to name someone. I think it’s because I believe that we all have the capacity to be a hero in small and big ways every day but no one acts heroically all the time. So I have a hard time naming a hero because it’s not a static trait.

I see heroism in ordinary people when they demonstrate kindness to a stranger while standing on a subway platform; I see heroism in the courage of someone like Malala who has shown us what it means to be strong and resilient; I see heroism in Ruth Bader Ginsberg who uses her intellect to fight for equality in the law; I see heroism in our health care providers who provide abortions to honor the decision of women who have decided that it’s just not the right time for them to have a child.

Not a simple, short answer but I thought I would put it out there.

What does feminism mean to you?

Feminism is about equality, self-determination, empowerment, and inclusion. Feminism is not just about gender but about intersecting identities that include race, economics, faith, and more and how these multiple identities can confer power or marginalize people. Feminism plays itself out in both the personal, public, and political spheres.

To find out how you can be a supporter of Planned Parenthood, click on this link right here. You can also visit Christina Chang’s Twitter page which is @ChristinaChang5 or you can visit the Planned Parenthood twitter, facebook, and instagram page for more info on PP.

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