How long have you been a DCAF volunteer?
I’m fairly new to the DCAF world, but I’ve been an abortion advocate since 2005 when I was a freshman in college. I became a Planned Parenthood volunteer and felt a sense of love and community that I had never experienced before.
What motivates your activism?
Two things motivate my activism. One is seeing a need from my community. I’m from a small town in Ohio where we didn’t have a lot of access to healthcare— especially sexual and reproductive healthcare. We also had very little sexuality education— so when I started learning about my body, my sexuality, and my existence as a person living in this very intersectional world, I felt a real need to be able to give my community something that it didn’t have access to. The second motivation for me is my direct connection to the abortion community. When I was a senior in college I had an abortion and it was the best decision of my life. It allowed me to finish college, go to graduate school, and live the life that I wanted for myself. I’m so thankful that Planned Parenthood was there for me (and continues to be there for me and millions of other people) to both provide me with care but also give me the tools that I needed to understand the advocacy world and that not everyone is afforded the same opportunities that I had because of the lawmakers who continuously chip away at access.
How do you stay optimistic in unfriendly climates, such as the recent antagonism directed at Planned Parenthood?
The resilience and power of my people is so real! Everyday I’m surrounded by brilliant minds in the DCAF community, amazing women of color who fill me up with joy and love and #BlackGirlMagic, and my family who hold me down and have been so supportive of everything that I have ever done! I know that no matter what’s happening on the outside with protesters and anti-abortion extremists, we’re building power on the inside with love, passion, and commitment to making a real change in this world. I also eat great food around the DMV with my boo and travel to get away from the chaos when I can.
What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in your time as president?
Right now in the abortion fund community, we have a real opportunity to shake things up. The DC Abortion Fund has been incredibly successful at building capacity over the last few years and we’re at a really great place. During my time as president, I hope to develop amazing leaders within the organization who have been abortion patients in the past, like myself, to lead the way to new realities for the organization, both financially and politically. I also hope to bring in an intersectional approach to our work and ensure that we’re building for the future with more young people and people of color at the center of our fund.
Have any words of wisdom to bestow on the DCAFers at large?
As we are about to embark on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it’s important to remember that although we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, it’s our responsibility to create a new reality for sexual and reproductive freedom. We should be thinking about ways to push the envelope, tell our stories, and demand access for all people. We should remember that we can’t talk about abortion without thinking about all of the intersections in people’s lives and their ability to truly make decisions for themselves and their communities. Regardless of how you enter this fight, I hope you’re in it for the long run and continue to work in community to make it stronger.
By volunteer Rose D. Image courtesy Lindsey W. Get to know Kersha at upcoming DCAF events and volunteer opportunities.