By Eric Shi, 2018 Next Generation Fellow
Growing up, I always thought that I would become a doctor—I wanted to go into medicine in order to benefit those who needed help. As I grew up, I realized that a career in the medical field wasn’t something I necessarily wanted anymore. However, I still carry with me a deep interest in public health. This passion combined with my interest in social justice led me to NARAL Pro-Choice Texas as a Next Generation fellow.
Prior to entering college, I had little to no involvement with anything related to policy and politics and was relatively uneducated when it came to most social issues. In the limited time that I’ve been at Rice University, I’ve had many different experiences that have expanded my understanding of what it means to be civically engaged. When it came to reproductive rights and justice, I aimed to learn more about the scope of issues that they encompass by participating in an Alternative Spring Break trip to Washington, D.C. I was able to meet with many different organizations that are fighting for gender equity and equal access to reproductive healthcare. This experience helped me see that I could combine my interests in health and justice, and it drove me to join NARAL in order to gain a more in-depth understanding of the problems in Texas. I think that activism in Texas is extremely crucial because there is a lack of accessibility and protection here that is afforded to people in some other states, and that makes it even more important to fight for change here.
As a cisgender man, I understand the privilege I hold when talking about reproductive justice. To be the best ally possible, I seek out opportunities like Next Generation so that I can continue to learn and grow and be able to educate others. I look forward to using what I’ve learned through Next Gen and teaching others around me about reproductive rights.