Yesterday, we found out that one of the leading organizations in the reproductive justice movement, the Pro-Choice Public Education Project (PEP), has ceased its operations due to financial struggle.
It’s pretty telling how this news comes to us in the same week of the Newsweek article about how young women apparently don’t care about reproductive rights. While it’s true that many reproductive health, rights and justice organizations have suffered financially because of the recession, articles like this that blatantly ignore the existence of organizations like PEP which are led by and focus on young people make it all the harder for them to get the recognition and funding they so deserve. We need to keep the media (and mainstream organizations) accountable for misinformation about young people’s organizing and the erasure of the work being done in the reproductive justice movement.
Feministing has had a long history of friendship and collaboration with the folks at PEP and we’re incredibly saddened by this loss. I remember meeting PEP’s staff for the first time in 2006 at their 10 year anniversary fundraiser, when Feministing was just a baby. That’s right, this organization was up and running for 14 incredible years, working to engage and empower marginalized communities around sexual and reproductive health where the reproductive rights movement fell short. Through grassroots organizing, groundbreaking research and leadership development, PEP has impacted thousands of lives and will be remembered as a pioneer in reproductive justice.
Aimée Thorne-Thomsen, founder and Executive Director of the organization (you may have seen some of her awesome guest posts on the site), is the inspiration behind PEP, and we’re confident that she’ll be moving onward and upward in her future endeavors. In Aimée’s announcement yesterday, she says:
PEP’s closing is a huge loss, not just for young people, but for the Reproductive Justice Movement as a whole. We hope that our allies will take concrete steps to include young people in their work, make space for them in the movement, and recognize their critical contributions. We urge our colleagues to continue to strengthen the larger discourse of whose bodies, sexuality and gender are protected and whose are not, and to elevate the needs and issues of young people across the country.
Thank you Aimée, and everyone at PEP for your amazing work. Go to their Facebook page and share your thoughts, or you can email her if you have questions or want to offer any support. And remember, this is not only a great loss, but a reminder that we must keep talking and moving to make sure reproductive justice is supported, and that young people’s voices are heard.