Andrew Jenkins, 2010 Fellow, is a feminist killjoy and queer social justice activist hailing from the west coast. He started his activism as a student organizer, leveraging progressive issues to turn out thousands of young people to vote in the 2010 midterm election. In 2011, Andrew organized the first ever convening of LGBT military personnel – post repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – as the Conference Director for OutServe. Andrew now brings his unwavering passion for youth leadership development and feminist praxis to the talented team at Choice USA, where he works to engage, train and mobilize the upcoming generation of reproductive justice leaders. In addition to mobilizing young people, Andrew is developing and implementing innovative programming to engage & recruit young men to be vocal advocates for reproductive and gender equity. When he’s not organizing on the ground, he’s doing it online as a contributing writer at RH Reality Check and ConwayStrategic.
Location: Long Beach, CA, United States
- Issues Areas:
- Trans* and Queer Liberation
- Reproductive Rights, Health, and Justice
Campus: California State University at Long Beach - Long Beach , CA
Fellowship Class Year: 2010
Blueprint: Reproductive Justice for Long Beach
Andrew Jenkin's Blueprint addressed several problems, including the lack of reproductive and sexual health care services at CSU Long Beach and for low-income families in Long Beach, as well as the high prevalence of STI's in the local LGBTQ community. For example, he fought to provide safe sex resources in dorms to counter the high levels of STI and unintended pregnancy rates and increase awareness amongst thousands of families in Long Beach that they qualified for a state program (FPAC) that provides low-cost to free reproductive and sexual health care services. Another major problem Andrew tackled through his blueprint was the lack of infrastructure for reproductive justice organizing at CSU. Prior to starting an RJ organization in 2010 there had never been a youth-driven, pro-choice organization on campus. Thus, there were limited resources for pushing messages, mobilizing students, and lobbying for choice. Because of this, Andrew worked to build the Choice USA chapter at CSULB, significantly expanding its active membership, and developing strategic plans and resources for future campus organizers.
Featured Fellow Spotlight
YP4: Can you share with us what you stand for?
Andrew: The liberation of the oppressed. Creating systemic and progressive change for marginalized communities.
YP4: And how did you come to be a part of yp4?
Andrew: A really good friend of mine from the debate community nominated me. After submitting an application and getting accepted into the fellowship, I decided to take the risk and head to Oakland for the regional training, with absolutely no idea what to expect. Honestly, one of the best decisions of my life.
YP4: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Andrew: Going back to my community and empowering other young people to envision themselves as agents of social change. Watching the high school debaters that I worked with in college begin to develop their own voices and build the confidence to speak out about the issues they care about was singlehandedly the most rewarding experience.
YP4: In your work what motivates and inspires you?
Andrew: Love in the face of overwhelming pressure to submit to fear. It’s easy to get succumb to fear and hatred, and yet millions of wonderful people on this planet choose to move against that fear and express love and compassion instead. Those people inspire me to do the work I do.
YP4: What is your vision for the world?
Andrew: I envision a world where difference is no longer the justification for separation, alienation, and violence. I envision a world where difference is celebrated as a resource for change and love. I want to see all people empowered with the knowledge and agency to navigate their lives and make healthy and informed choices about their bodies. If we can achieve democracy for the body, we can do anything.
YP4: Where do you see yourself globally?
Andrew: It wasn’t until my freshmen year of college that I started to see myself as a global citizen. And not just any ordinary global citizen; but a citizen with immense power and privilege. The privilege of my citizenship status. The privilege of living in a country that wields global supremacy and power. As such, I see my work as more than domestic social justice work. I see this work connected to the well-being of people around the world. I do this work for them too.
YP4: Tell me about your work. That you are doing right now
Andrew: I work at Choice USA, a youth-led and youth-focused reproductive justice organization engaging and empowering upcoming generations of pro-choice leaders. In a broader sense, I’m working towards a vision of sex positivity and reproductive freedom. The maintenance of our bodies through sexual and reproductive oppression plays a fundamental role in normalizing systems of violence and domination. That’s why I do this work.
YP4: What is a struggle that you’ve faced or are facing in your work?
Andrew: Finding a work-life balance and committing myself to self-sustainability. I think this is a problem that all of us face in this movement. It’s a constant battle, and I don’t see it disappearing any time soon. I’m fortunate enough to people in my life, many of them from the YP4 network, who hold me accountable and push me to prioritize my health and well-being. In that sense, I’m incredibly lucky.
YP4: What advice do you have for others who may be dealing with similar struggles?
Andrew: It’s okay to admit that there’s a problem and that we have weaknesses. Find people in your life that you can lean on for support and prioritize those relationships. The very act of talking about self-care is self-care.
YP4: How can other Fellows get involved or find more information about the work you’re doing?
Andrew: You can check out the work we do at Choice USA by visiting our website, choiceusa.org. You can email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org and find out how to get involved with my work. Or you can follow some of my writing at Feminists for Choice and RH Reality Check.
YP4: What advice would you give to the incoming class of Fellows?
Andrew: Really commit yourself to this journey. YP4 is no joke. They care about you and they’re ready to invest in your work. And I don’t just mean the national office. I’m talking about your fellows, trainers, mentors, and supporters. Take some time out of each week to build your relationships with these folks.
YP4: If every time you entered a room your theme song played, what would it be and why?
Andrew: “This is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan, because I’m doing me all day every day, and without apology.
YP4: Is there anything else that you want to share?
Andrew: This movement survives because we love and support one another. Relationships are at the core of this work. Don’t ever forget that.