by Lauren Mitchell, PEP Young Women's Leadership Council
Like many of the others on the Young Women's Leadership Council, I came on board about three and a half years ago to work with PEP. A couple of years prior to this, however, I was an intern at PEP and had worked closely with that year's YWLC members and their member recruitment efforts. All of this is to say that I had a pretty thorough knowledge of the history of the YWLC. At that point in time, the Council was made up of a group of strong, intelligent, women with a passion for reproductive justice, though the Council itself seemed as though it was pulled in a few different directions without a solid core.
Since coming onto the Council, and having some of the basic background of what its history looked like, I can say that one of our biggest successes over the last few years is that the Council has made a move to have a solid structure and therefore more tangible goals. Perhaps this would seem obvious, but I think it's important to point out that this wasn't an easy process: as it turns out, putting a large group of strong, intelligent, but most importantly, opinionated people in a room and asking them to agree on something (“something” being as open-ended as it sounds) is challenging.
With all that said, we've evolved over the last few years to re-define the “leadership” that the Council is meant to incorporate. We've become a solid base with which to support PEP as representatives from our communities. I'm grateful to have been a part of the Council, to have worked on the Reproductive Justice Cards and On Our Terms research campaign, and to have been a part of a community that I will continually reach back to.