Next Generation Spotlight – Ayelia Ali
– Ayelia Ali, Dallas
My interest in reproductive and sexuality education stemmed from my own experiences as a young person in Texas. My high school offered little to no information – unless you count sitting in a crowded auditorium with the boys on the other side, as an old VHS played about puberty. When I attended college, again, little to no information offered by my college’s health services. As I took more classes about public health, I knew I wanted to make the strides in the movement. My own experiences served as an extension to my passion for the reproductive justice movement.
Audre Lorde is someone whose words speak volumes about perseverance – “when I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” In a political and social climate like Texas, where it may be intimidating to support contraception, preventative services, and abortion, it is words similar to that, that push me. I dare to be powerful and to use my strength to support the reproductive justice movement.
To me, reproductive justice means allowing a person to make any decision, whatever is best for them, about their reproductive future. A person’s autonomy over their reproductive future is critical in their participation in all aspects of society. Through Next Gen, I hope to continue fostering the relationships I have made with other fellows and to continue the advocacy experience NPCT has taught us. With the Next Gen cohort, we are all able to come together and create a bigger collective impact in Texas.