Leaders Of Change - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1982249

Leaders Of Change

As a Sag Harbor local who read history textbooks and learned of the Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade at Pierson High School, it is with the utmost urgency that we continue to advocate for the fair and just rights of women’s reproductive health.

The editorial published about the Supreme Court leakage of reversing Roe v. Wade [“Activist Judges,” Editorial, May 26] highlights the importance of what our future may terrifyingly encounter.

As a Master’s of Social Work candidate, it is not only my personal investment in this topic that drives me to pursue advocating for the rights of women, but it is also a fundamental oath of social work practice to be a voice for the disenfranchised.

Throughout the history of the profession, as well as the history of this country, we have been guided by principles — declarations we abide by as citizens of the United States of America, better known as the Constitution. As a guiding light to govern, this doctrine serves as a source for justice — to ensure that everyone has basic human rights.

However, isn’t ironic that the Constitution fails to mention abortion? Or is it because it does not mention women at all?

Residing in Chicago, I am ingrained with following state-level policy reforms. At the start of this month, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Youth + Health Safety Act, ensuring that everyone, regardless of age, has bodily autonomy and can choose whom they involve in their most private and personal health decisions.

Currently, this law is enacted at the state level, but how much more harm, unjust and difficulty must young women face until this is adopted on a national level?

What does this signal to the young women currently enrolled at Pierson? Does it show them that they do not matter? That they only matter in certain circumstances or in certain jurisdictions in this country?

What can we do on a local level as community members of the great small towns here on the East End of Long Island to be leaders of change? To stand up for our young girls, so they know, and that our country knows, that we matter.

I conclude with reciting a message by Betty Friedan; I was fortunate as a 15-year-old to have her come speak to my history class at Pierson:

“It would be a great service to tell girls who plan to work in society to expect this subtle, uncomfortable discrimination — tell them not to be quiet, and hope it will go away, but fight it. A girl should not expect special privileges because of her sex, but neither should she ‘adjust’ to prejudice and discrimination.”

Jenna Salsedo

Chicago, Illinois