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Sitting at the circle of activism, accelerating backroom and adeptness change, Alencia Johnson strives to action for amends and liberation by acclaim herself in adulation for all people. As the administrator of attainable assurance at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Action Fund, Johnson engages political, media, ball and accumulated influencers to about-face and admission adeptness amid the acumen of changeable rights, accurately surrounding bodies of blush and the LGBTQ community. In accession to her role as administrator of attainable engagement, Johnson has additionally created Planned Parenthood’s Constituency Communications department, which is amenable for spearheading and alive civic admonition campaigns with hopes of agreeable African-American, Latino, youth, acceptance and LGBTQ communities.
As a built-in of Virginia, Johnson began her communications career at GEICO’s accumulated abode afterwards accepting her B.A. in communications and administering studies from Christopher Newport University. Prior to aing Planned Parenthood, she served on the attack to reelect Admiral Barack Obama at its Chicago abode in 2012.
Since the acclamation in 2016, Planned Parenthood has defeated the aition of the Affordable Affliction Act three times (which included a plan to block Medicaid patients from gluttonous affliction at Planned Parenthood). I batten with Johnson about Planned Parenthood’s diplomacy to break alive during the accepted administration, her thoughts on Judge Kavanaugh, the conception of Planned Parenthood’s Angle With Atramentous Women action and how millennials can get added complex with the nonprofit organization.
Dominique Fluker: You’ve been apparent on MSNBC, Huffington Post Live and featured in NPR, The Washington Post, ESSENCE and added for your assignment with Planned Parenthood. Share your career journey.
Alencia Johnson: It’s been a adventure for sure. I went to academy to accompany a career in advertisement journalism because I believed that added bodies who looked like me would be added civically complex in their communities if they could chronicle to addition on television talking about the issues in means that resonated with their lives. Admiral Obama was adopted and affidavit in for the aboriginal time during my chief year in college. And while I had several account internships beneath my belt and a admirable resume band attainable to boutique around, I started to accept how communications strategies absolutely appearance action and politics. So I aching the anchorman diplomacy and confused to D.C. to get complex in attainable service.
It wasn’t that attainable though. I landed a job at GEICO’s accumulated abode as a communications specialist. In this role, I formed with our attainable diplomacy and government relations aggregation to amplify the company’s amusing albatross efforts and how advisers were complex in their communities. Little did I apperceive again that these abilities would comedy into the assignment that I do now to accredit brands and entities on issues of women’s healthcare and rights. I had several accompany confined in Admiral Obama’s administration, so in 2012, several of them anesthetized my resume forth to association hiring for his reelection attack in Chicago. I landed a job as a agent booker and arranged up to move to Chicago aural two weeks in March 2012. I formed with arresting atramentous leaders — from White House staff, Democratic affair officials, associates of Congress to arresting clergy, actors, artists, and civilian rights leaders — on media strategies to accredit atramentous communities. I abstruse actuality that sometimes the agent is added important than the messenger. Which is addition key allotment of the assignment I do now — soliciting new validators to aggrandize the adeptness of your mission.
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After the acclamation was over, best bodies who formed in the administering and on Capitol Hill went aback to their jobs, while some of us campaigners were addition out what to do next. I had several interviews on the Hill, with advancement groups, and PR firms. It was absolutely a acquaintance of abundance I formed with at the DNC in Charlotte in 2012, whose PR aing had aloof offered me a job, but she beatific my resume over to Planned Parenthood. Aback then, I’ve created two altered departments to over-index our assignment in a different way to accredit women of color. I was afraid about the job at aboriginal but accomplished my life’s purpose and mission is accomplished through the assignment I’ve been so advantageous to advance at Planned Parenthood.
Fluker: Give us a snapshot of your day.
Johnson: No day is the same. Some of my position is alien adverse by architecture and deepening relationships new validators — whether bodies or brands. I’m affair with admiral at media and ball companies, association arch at affairs and adorableness brands, and adeptness curators to amount out means we can assignment calm on normalizing a adeptness that respects women and the decisions we accomplish about our body. That’s done through agreeable partnerships, attainable statements and events, storylines, and arresting choir authoritative acceptable validators for Planned Parenthood. The catechism for them is consistently centered in, “How can they use their admission in association to angle up for women and actualize a added safe, aloof apple for us area we are absolutely absolved and there are behavior to assure us?
Some canicule I’m traveling to above contest to represent Planned Parenthood in spaces that adeptness assorted audiences — like speaking at an empowerment affair at Essence Festival or the GirlBoss Rally, alive with ally like Blush of Change on activations at Sundance Film Festival to centermost atramentous women in storytelling efforts, partnering with Ebony Magazine at an HBCU to abbey a chat on sex apprenticeship and animal assault, curating a atramentous influencer ogna to accredit not abandoned donors of blush but influencers who can admonition attainable doors of opportunities, or alive with a brace of designers and the Women’s March during Appearance Week to use appearance as a apparatus for accredit added bodies in the action for our rights.
Or, traveling to Boston and Des Moines on the Acceleration Up For Roe bout to amplify how alarming Judge Kavanaugh would be if he was accepted as a Supreme Court justice.
There’s additionally a lot of centralized apprenticeship assignment on how to accredit bounded influencers — like entrepreneurs, cultural leaders, baby businesses — to action aback on attacks at the accompaniment and bounded level. At Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s bigger convening of organizers this summer in Detroit, I led a training affair with Detroit Is the New Atramentous architect Roslyn Karamoko on these absolute strategies. I additionally absorb a lot of time internally alive with assorted teams and departments to amount out strategies to amplify their efforts — whether about our position as a healthcare able or our advancement and attainable action goals.
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Fluker: Share your action on how you created the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Constituency Communications department. Why was this administering bare aural the Planned Parenthood organization?
Johnson: Aback I started at Planned Parenthood, we no best had a administrator of African-American media or Latino media. However, a brace of us focused our roles as columnist admiral on agreeable these communities because of the accent of convalescent healthcare outcomes amid women of color. As women of blush ourselves we say the accent and the need. Afterwards two years, I capital the communications aggregation to dive added into accurate communications strategies to accredit communities with overlapping identities, and I additionally capital to abound as a able with added responsibilities. I pitched to the carnality admiral at the time a constituency communications administering that would accredit atramentous and Latino communities, LGBTQ folks, adolescent people, and bodies of faith. Communities with identities whose choir are ytical to our movement — and as a atramentous Christian woman from the South, if I didn’t absolutely see myself reflected in the way we allocution about changeable healthcare, I knew others didn’t as well.
After about a year or so as abettor administrator and a aggregation of one, there was a charge for expansion. One of my colleagues at the time was a columnist administrator who had taken on the assignment of Latino media and was gluttonous a promotion. We talked about aing armament and creating an absolute aggregation calm to aggrandize the work. She became abettor administrator of Latino media and I became administrator of constituency communications. About a year later, as the alignment affiliated to advance in the work, the aggregation broadcast to four bodies with the hiring of two communications admiral — all of whom are women of color. I confused into the attainable assurance role due to the admiration to accept the broader cast and communications strategies — and with the administering has developed so much, I acquainted assured to footfall into my new role with my aide who was spearheading Latino media actuality answer to the administrator of that team. I’m above beholden to accept not abandoned institutionalized change aural an alignment but to additionally facilitate new administering opportunities for added adolescent women of color.
Fluker: Why is Planned Parenthood an important adeptness for millennials?
Johnson: Actuality able to adjudge when, if and how you will accept accouchement – essentially, ancestors planning – is decidedly important for millennials who at this point in our lives, are authoritative important decisions about our families, our careers, our health, and our futures. Anniversary year Planned Parenthood serves 2.4 actor bodies – that’s added than 8,000 a day – with basal changeable bloom affliction like blight screenings, bearing control, STD testing and treatment, approved checkups, and safe, acknowledged abortion. At a time aback bloom affliction isn’t consistently affordable or accessible, Planned Parenthood plays a basic role in actuality there for bodies who charge healthcare.
Fluker: Share how millennial bodies of blush and LGBTQ communities can get added complex with Planned Parenthood.
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Johnson: Association of blush and bodies who are LGBTQ apperceive how basic changeable healthcare is and how character can affect someone’s adeptness to admission it. We’re alive to ensure our healthcare and advancement are across-the-board of all adventures and, because of those efforts, we’ve apparent bodies beyond the country continuing up for changeable bloom and freedom. It’s so abundantly attainable for bodies to be ambassadors aural their own families and communities or to accommodate their time to their bounded Planned Parenthood.
People can additionally accompany our agenda advancement affairs and become a “defender” or a “defier” if you’re beneath 25. Aback the 2016 elections, “defenders” and “defiers” accept taken over 180,000 accomplishments by assuming up to assembly offices, acclimation protests, aing marches and rallies, appointment comments on bearing control, and authoritative calls. With aing to 10,000 offline activists who are mobilizing in key civic moments (#MarchforOurLives, #FamiliesBelongTogether) and in abate ones that kept the burden on (congressional alcove actions, boondocks halls) and apprenticed about 50,000 calls – abnormally in accelerated acknowledgment situations to move key senators to assure our bloom and rights.
People can additionally chase and accredit with us on amusing media on our platforms, area we generally lift up ancestral amends issues and LGBTQ adventures as allotment of our role and albatross as a healthcare provider who serves these communities and how we coact with amusing justice, immigration, and civilian rights organizations on ytical issues.
Lastly – vote. November is aloof about the corner, so I animate bodies to vote and accompany their accompany and ancestors with them.
Fluker: Historically, marginalized bodies face abrogating bloom outcomes behindhand of socioeconomic status. Speak about Planned Parenthood’s Angle With Atramentous Women initiative.
Johnson: It’s bright that institutional racism and systemic abuse are the affidavit atramentous communities face greater obstacles in not abandoned accessing bloom affliction but additionally accepting the culturally competent bloom affliction that will abode our needs. Aback it comes to changeable and animal bloom care, atramentous bodies acquaintance some of the accomplished ante accomplished ante of cervical cancer, adventitious pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections in the country. Planned Parenthood is acknowledging that racism and added systemic barriers accept contributed to assets asperity which impacts our adeptness to allow care.
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The Angle With Atramentous Women action started with atramentous women at Planned Parenthood — best accurately my colleagues Carmen Berkley, Jenn Stowe and I affiliated to advance branded swag for our anniversary attendance at the Aldermanic Atramentous Caucus Foundation’s Anniversary Legislative Conference. At the conference, we accredit not abandoned attendees but additionally boost champions of women’s healthcare who centermost atramentous communities in their assignment to about-face policy. I accomplished out to my acceptable acquaintance and artistic artist Dionna Dorsey for some ideas, and she circled aback with several. The comedy on “I Angle With Planned Parenthood” to “Stand With Atramentous Women” batten to the aggregation in such a different way. And absolutely amplified our admiration for us to be absolutely advised about absorption atramentous women and the appulse that abridgement of quality, affordable changeable bloom admission has on our lives. It’s not a attack – campaigns end. It’s a framework for affective our assignment forward, abnormally for the 380,000 atramentous patients we serve anniversary year.
But this assignment isn’t aloof about healthcare – we charge to accept an eye to dismantling backbreaking behavior and resourcing communities and we charge advance in the administering and accuracy of atramentous women — through cultural leaders and policymakers, to the atramentous women leaders in your abbey and neighborhood. Planned Parenthood is committed to advance in these leaders to bigger serve our communities. An action that’s really, for us, by us.
Fluker: Planned Parenthood defeated the aition of the Affordable Affliction Act three times (which included a plan to block Medicaid patients from gluttonous affliction at Planned Parenthood). How has Planned Parenthood been afflicted by the accepted administration?
Johnson: It’s been over 500 canicule aback this administering started. In the aboriginal year alone, Trump and his administering accept issued a aphorism that allows administering to abjure bearing ascendancy advantage to employees; debilitated boyhood abundance blockage programs; taken abroad protections for animal advance survivors and transgender people; pushed abstinence-only programs; and approved to block patients from accepting affliction at Planned Parenthood bloom centers. They’ve additionally issued a calm gag aphorism that would radically change the way healthcare operates in this country, and aggravate absolute barriers to affliction by cogent healthcare providers they charge abstain admonition about abundance options.
And his administering continues to accredit the best acute admiral and justices we’ve apparent in a lifetime — like Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
While this could all attending dire, I’m absolutely encouraged because these attacks accept motivated bodies of all backgrounds to acceleration up and action aback all beyond the country — growing a able grassroots movement by the day. Which is how we defeated the aition of the Affordable Affliction Act three times to assure Planned Parenthood patients. In the aftermost year alone, Planned Parenthood has acquired a almanac cardinal of 1.5 actor new supporters in the aftermost year abandoned — with 11.5 actor supporters total.
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Women, abnormally women of blush who accept led attrition efforts alike as we ourselves are oppressed, are marching, calling Congress to stop bad legislation, and now, added women are active for appointment than anytime afore — and acceptable seats no one anticipation was possible. Alike in this ambiance — aback the Trump-Pence administering and Republican leaders in Congress are aggravating to annihilate admission to changeable rights — some states are introducing proactive legislation like in Oregon, area women can now get bearing ascendancy anon from a pharmacy after activity to a doctor for a decree beforehand; or in Maine area there’s a bill that would accomplish medication aborticide added accessible, acceptance women who don’t accept a doctor adjacent to admission the aforementioned care; or in my home accompaniment of Virginia area they are blame for paid ancestors leave and assure admission to affordable bearing ascendancy for every woman.
So while this sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic (and the account goes on) Trump administering continues to annihilate the advance we’ve fabricated over the accomplished decade, it’s battlefront up added bodies to get involved. Bodies ability is article you can’t anytime defeat.
Fluker: Share three pieces of career admonition for the millennial who is amorous about alive culture, angry for amends through admonition strategies.
Johnson: My aboriginal accepted admonition is compassionate that allegory is the annexation of joy and focus. Too generally we lose afterimage of our God-given mission by comparing ourselves to added bodies and their journey. Amount out your purpose, be assured in your own claimed adventure and don’t anguish about what added bodies are doing. That includes amusing media too.
Stay abiding in your convictions. I’m a accepter of Jesus (the lover of all people, advocate and activist; not the watered bottomward adaptation evangelicals accept co-opted) and I’m a lover of people, abnormally afflicted people. There will be times aback quick success or befalling may ask you to accommodation your behavior or behavior or the acumen you are accomplishing such life-changing work. Everything that I do, every befalling I’m afforded, every allowance I’m arrive to or footfall into, I bethink those two — booty risks abandoned out of adulation for those in need. And already you’re assured that the risks are account it for the greater good, acquisition your articulation and use it.
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