By Bridget Schilling, 2018 Next Generation Fellow
My name is Bridget Schilling and I am a 2018 Next Generation fellow with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, based in Houston. Admittedly, when I moved to Texas for college, I expected the worst in terms of the socio-political and policy landscape and did not foresee getting involved in social activism or any sort of organizing. What I’ve found, though, is a huge community of passionate people who are dedicated to making Texas a more equitable place. I have cared about general equality and rights for as long as I can remember, but did not truly understand how inequity stems from systemic issues before I started getting involved in issues of reproductive and sexual health. My understanding of reproductive justice and the reach of oppression is still growing, but it inspired me to get more involved in doing the work in Texas and I’m so glad that I applied to be a Next Generation Fellow.
I have loved being a part of this cohort of fellows so far. I am heavily motivated by other activists and the energy that they bring to movements. Being a Next Generation fellow has meant getting to know other people who are passionate about reproductive justice and hearing their approaches to advocacy and organizing in their own communities. This year’s cohort is 35 members strong and being exposed to people with so many different backgrounds and experiences has been truly inspiring and impactful. I am confident that the Houston cohort and the projects which we are working on will be able to have a tangible impact. My Houston group has a number of events in the works and I love the way that we have been able to put an LGBTQIA+ spin on the event plans and receive the support of NARAL’s staff throughout.
Being a Next Generation fellow has helped me practice talking about abortion and being a better advocate for an issue that is important to me and so many others. In addition to my own responsibilities as a fellow, I have been lucky to see some of the on-the-ground work that NARAL does in Texas and felt even more inspired to pursue activism and advocacy in my daily life and career aspirations.