Earlier this year I had the privilege of being selected to serve on the Young Leaders Advisory Council (YLAC) for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. We have monthly conference calls to update on work that is being done in our respective states. On the first call we each told a little about the work we were doing and where we were from. I was intimidated. All of their work, perspectives, backgrounds, and areas of the country seemed so much more exciting and important. What could I offer this group? Did I belong here?
All of the members of YLAC met for the first time at the National Planned Parenthood Conference in March. Most of the attendees at the National Conference were CEOs, Presidents, or Vice Presidents of Planned Parenthood Affiliates. These are the folks who make the hard decisions and take the lead. YLAC-ers were sent out into this group to bring to their attention the concerns of young people in Planned Parenthood.
It was a difficult and somewhat intimidating task. But, we did it. We spread out to the different breakout sessions and voiced our concerns through individual conversations, addressing small table groups, and presenting to large crowds. Our message was clear: We need to be more inclusive and intersectional in our language and work across generations.
Slowly as the conference went on I began to feel more comfortable, I found my voice and began valuing my own perspective. I was chosen to be part of this team, I was a piece of this colorful puzzle, and I had valuable insight to contribute.