[THROUGH THEIR EYES] Ep. 6 What’s the social justice issue that’s most important to you?

Alison Mitchell: The world around us is constantly changing, for better and for worse. And while it’s easy to focus on the negatives, there are plenty of ways for us, as high school students and faculty members, to get involved in our communities and actively create change. Whether it’s making donations to a neighborhood shelter, attending a protest, or volunteering at a local organization, there are lots of ways that we can make a difference.

Hi and welcome to Through Their Eyes, a podcast sharing the stories that shape perspective. I’m your host, Alison Mitchell, and today I’ll be interviewing sophomore Julia Taylor and junior Audrey Senaratna about the social justice issues that are most important to them.

Mitchell (cont.): [If you could say your] name, your grade, and your pronouns.

Julia Taylor: Okay my name is Julia, I’m a sophomore, and I use she/her pronouns.

Audrey Senaratna: Uh, my name is Audrey Senaratna, my grade is 11, or like, I’m a junior, and my pronouns are she/her.

Mitchell: What is a cause or social justice issue that is important to you?

Taylor: Um, for me advocating for women’s rights, especially like, women of color’s, rights is really important to me and it’s something I like, think about a lot and just different ways to be able to contribute or help to that.

Senaratna: Um, I am really passionate about like, the Roe v. Wade like, rights for abortion justice movement. I think that’s really important. Um, yeah, like it’s feminine rights, it affects me, it affects women around the nation and I’m just like, very passionate about it.

Mitchell: What work have you done to aid this cause?

Taylor: So I do, uh, for women and children recovering from domestic violence and substance abuse, um, I do each year since I was 10, I collect like, bags of toiletry items and different educational supplies. And, the last few years I’ve done it at the Heart House, it’s like a local, or a place in St. Paul. But before that, I also, I just collected bags and there [are] a couple [of] other centers, but I found like, a specific one that I do[nate to] each year now.

Senaratna: Actually, I’m signed up to do an onboarding shift at Planned Parenthood in like two days.

Mitchell: Wow!

Senaratna: So my mom and I just signed up for that, like two weeks ago, and we’re onboarding in a couple [of] days. Um, I’m just like, excited to see what like, they have us do, what I’m gonna get to do, and just like, to help because I think it’s really important.

Mitchell: What inspired you to start doing this work, or like, who inspired you?

Taylor: Um, well, I had an aunt who struggled, just with like, different um, just different problems like um, kind of like, pertaining to that and it inspired me to help other women, I guess, with those difficulties. And I think it’s like, an ongoing problem, and I think even the smallest things, the smallest bag can make a big difference. And it’s about like, the community work too, everyone who donates, you know, getting people aware of the topic.

Senaratna: Their (Planned Parenthood’s) stance on improving abortion and just like, um like, health care options for people and like, providing that for everyone in their pro-choice stance, I think is like, I very much resonate with that and I think it’s like, super important that every female has access to the treatment they need and the treatment that is right for them. And so, that specifically drew me to Planned Parenthood.

Mitchell: What’s been the most rewarding part of the work that you’ve done?

Taylor: I love [how] there’s always like, letters that the women write back, um, just saying thank you, and it’s just like, it’s so nice just being able to see like, hey, like this was important like, these are real people getting these items and it, it means something to them. And even like, beyond the letters just knowing like, hopefully, because I try to do it like, around different like, seasons too like, whether it’s like, kind of Christmas season, winter, or like, I guess times like, when it, when you, when you kind of want something [to] kind of cheer you up. And so it’s just like, it feels really good to know like, not just me and my part like, helping other people but like, all the people who donate too like, who really care about it and continue to donate each year.

Senaratna: Yeah, I think anticipating working with Planned Parenthood um, I just think it’ll be really rewarding to know that, like, in the future, I’ll look back and I’ll be like, I helped or I did this because it’s like, what I think is right, and I’m trying to make a difference. Um, and like, I also just think that the exposure to these kinds of stories, and then learning about other people’s experiences um, is just like, that’s also super valuable, um, and that can have a lasting impact on people. And I think that’s also another part of volunteering that isn’t necessarily just the work you’re doing.

Mitchell: What do you wish people knew more about your work that you’ve done or the causes you support?

Taylor: I think just being able to know like, hey, these are real people and this is like, this is, you know, we often like hear things online or ‘oh, that sounds nice or good’, but it really does impact real people and even like, a little bit, the smallest donation, the smallest thought or, you know, even tiny put towards something can make a big difference. And I think personally, for what I’ve been doing, I just think it’s like, it’d be cool if people just understand like, hey, like, this is in our community, this is something that isn’t far away, and it’s not too hard to do something like that either. You know, it just, really for me, it just takes time and effort and I think anyone can contribute to that.

Senaratna: I guess I just wish that like, people would do a bit more research because I think sometimes people say, like, they kind of make a stance of where they’re like, ‘I’m pro-life, but I wouldn’t force it on other people’. Like that is inherently pro choice, because it’s your choice, like you don’t have to do that. Like it’s truly just like, mind blowing reading some of these things on the news about like, things that are being passed right now. And it’s like, feminine and LGBTQ rights and like bodily rights that are just seeming so fundamental and so humane, that are being stripped away from people. And so I think just like, looking more into that and doing legitimate research on the effects and the reasoning behind this legislation. Um, I just think that’d be really important for people to look into.

Mitchell: Once again, I’m your host Alison Mitchell. Thanks for listening to this episode of Through Their Eyes, a podcast about the stories that shape perspective. Make sure to check out our five previous episodes, located in the podcast section of the Rubiconline, and stay tuned for the final episode of Through Their Eyes.

Music Credits:
“Abstract Science” Coma Media (pixabay.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License