In late 2012, I came into my role as Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas on the heels of the Texas Legislature gutting the family planning infrastructure and amping up attacks on abortion access. I’d been taking calls on the abortion fund hotline and hearing firsthand how the sonogram law and the 24-hour waiting period were affecting the most vulnerable people in our state. From day one of my coming into this position, my goal was to do whatever I could to play a part to revitalize a resistance to the anti-choice agenda. I had a vision for building a strong organization and strong movement for reproductive health, rights, and justice in Texas.
I always saw my role as part of a transition, the bridge between a difficult period and the beginning of a strong long-term movement that will not settle for less than a society that honors all reproductive decisions, free from barriers, shame, and stigma. A movement that supports every person in Texas to decide for themselves whether, when, and how to parent and to do so with the support of their community.
I am heartened by the strong, diverse movement for reproductive health, rights, and justice emerging in Texas and nationally. And the goals I set out to achieve have for the most part been accomplished: we have a strong, growing majority of people across Texas speaking out for abortion access, family planning, and support for Texas families. I know the time is right make room for new leadership to take this movement to the next level. Therefore, I will be stepping down as executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas at the end of March 2018.
I am grateful to have this opportunity and I know there is a wealth of talented individuals ready to take on this challenge, especially among the people of color who are making important changes and improvements in the movement for reproductive health, rights, and justice.
When I took the helm of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, I could have never envisioned that seven months later I’d be part of building the “unruly orange mob” that came forth to make it possible for Sen. Wendy Davis to filibuster an omnibus abortion bill. I would never have predicted that our partners at Whole Woman’s Health would take the fight all the way to the Supreme Court, in one of the strongest decisions supporting access to abortion since Roe.
It has been an incredible ride and the greatest pride of my life to be part of this movement. I have had the honor of traveling around this great state over the past five years and seeing firsthand the spirit and resilience that lives in communities large and small. This movement’s strength does not reside in the state capital; it breathes fire in places like Lubbock and Waco, Brownsville and Bastrop.
NARAL Pro-Choice Texas has been a leader in protecting access to reproductive health in Texas for 40 years. This is a time of transition, but more than that it is an exciting opportunity for the organization and I eagerly anticipate where the next leader will take us.
In the past five years, the organization’s budget has increased by 500% and I am confident the next leader will continue to grow and strengthen this organization. I want to thank our members for continuing to support NARAL Pro-Choice Texas at this significant turning point in the organization’s history, so we can remain strong for the years to come.
I am so grateful to all the people who have been part of this movement over the past five years. Thank you to everyone who has sent an email or made a phone call to your elected officials, to everyone who has come to a lobby day or a rally or signed a petition. Every person I’ve met as I’ve traveled from El Paso to Houston, Plano to McAllen, has kept me going when this work has been incredibly hard. You are this movement and you are all leaders in your communities. Thank you for the love you have shown me and for continuing to support the important work of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas.
With love and solidarity,