A time for radical love and power building in community

protestors for reproductive freedom hold signs
Blog author DyAnna (third from left) and her friends attend a protest for reproductive rights in Duluth on June 28th

I have this dear friend named LyLy. We met here at TakeAction as I started my new role from my bedroom in west Duluth. Minnesota was in its first weeks of being shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic —  “unprecedented times.”

I think LyLy and I clicked because we were consistently on the hunt for joy together. Not that surface-level “there’s so much to be grateful for” kind of joy. We wanted to practice the radical act of defiant, eyes-wide-open joy in a time of deep hardship.

Just under a year after we met, LyLy asked me to join a team to raise money to fund abortion care in Minnesota. She’s the board co-chair for Our Justice, an organization dedicated to Reproductive Justice that provides financial support and other assistance to ensure people can access abortion care when they need it.  I was so in. I was — and still am — deeply invested in the mission and vision of Our Justice, and, at the time, I’d never had this kind of chance to act on my values.

I’m not going to lie: I was a little worried. I didn’t know where many of my family members were at on abortion care. I knew that publicly raising funds for Our Justice was a risk. But I was not alone. I was raising money as part of a team, and that made the risk feel possible. Even though it felt scary, it was important to me that I got clear with my family members (especially my siblings) about my values. My team proved our power, bringing in over $7,000 as #TeamEggz. 

As I feared, I wound up having a pretty intense falling out with one of my brothers, and it was hard. My team, LyLy, Imogen, and Natalie, had my back completely, and were so supportive. In that moment, it was deeply healing and empowering to take action with people who shared my values, throwing down together for reproductive justice. Since then, my brother and I have made up, and LyLy and I continue to raise funds as #TeamEggz. 

Reflecting back on the experience, I think about how a lot of people say, “When we work together, we can do hard things.” I don’t think we’re honest enough that we MUST do hard things in this hard world, and so we MUST find people to do them with, together.  

When I heard the news about Roe v. Wade, LyLy was the first person I thought of. I thought about all of her hard work on the board of Our Justice, of our work together on #TeamEggz, her time as an abortion doula, her fascination with baby highland cows, and her episode on Mango and Peppers, where she talks about the importance of organizing with love. It was the love-that-powers-action of our team that made it possible for me to take the risk of living my values and fundraising for abortions these past few years, and it is that love and the teams I organize with that keep my discipline-of-hope during times like these.

These past few days, while filled with rage about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe, I’ve been thinking about the practice of hope and joy as disciplines, and organizing out of love. We deserve better, and a world where Reproductive Justice is centered, honored, and valued is not far away — we just have to build and nurture our connections to one another to realize it. 

I invite you to start building those connections as we act, together, in a team that spans our state. Abortion is still legal in Minnesota. We need all hands on deck to keep it that way, and make sure it’s accessible for everyone seeking care.

Here are three things you can do right now:

  1. Donate to our local abortion clinics, funds, and advocates to help meet the rising need for care, and support work to expand access to abortion. As a Duluth resident, I want to give a special plug to support abortion care in the Duluth area. 
  2. Make your plan to vote. No single elected official can create the change we need, but choosing the right leaders is an *essential* part of building the people-centered democracy we deserve. Early voting is open now for key primaries across the state. Primaries are our chance to move from politics ‘as it is’ to politics ‘as it should be.’ 
  3. Sign up for a deep canvass shift, or reply to this email if you want to have a 1:1 conversation with a TakeAction organizer. Again, no single candidate or election can transform our democracy — only we can, together. We need to build power to protect what we still have and advance our visions for abortion access and reproductive freedom in the long term. Growing our power starts with having curious and compassionate conversations with our neighbors and building relationships that sustain us through hard times and move us toward the people-centered democracy we deserve.