This piece is part of our 21 Local Innovators To Watch roundup in the August 2022 print issue of District Fray. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Dr. Floyd is vice president of medical affairs and medical director for Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
District Fray: The importance of Planned Parenthood
Dr. Serina Floyd: There are not a lot of us willing to do this [type of] work — being vocal, providing the direct care needed to patients, serving as advocates and activists. I do this work because it’s my passion, and because I have two daughters. I want them to be proud of the work I’m doing and the person that I am — and I want them to protect their rights, have bodily autonomy and lead their lives the way that they choose. I think the current generation is much more aware of social justice issues than my generation. They are often more aware of the issues facing individuals who have historically been oppressed and marginalized. If anything, the past weeks have strengthened and galvanized these folks—but I think the energy and momentum was there already. It just helped to make it that much stronger.
I’m here because I feel like this is a pivotal location. This is a center when it comes to policy and the ability to be an activist and an advocate. It’s also the opportunities the D.C. area offers. You can [get involved] in a way you may not be able to be involved in other places. If we were living in any one of these I don’t know if I could live in other states where [abortion] access has been stripped away. I have to live somewhere where I know that my own personal rights will be respected and that my decisions will be respected.
Every individual can participate in what is happening right now to affect positive change. For those of us who are willing to be vocal and speak out about the issues, that’s great. If you’re not comfortable, that’s also great. There are other ways to get involved. I think the key thing is, whatever amount you are comfortable, it’s important to get out and get involved. At this moment in history, probably more than any other since I’ve been alive, there is a need for people to advocate and push hard for those not able to have a voice.
First and foremost is voting. Votes are extremely critical — we know this. We are obviously learning at this particular moment in time, especially given who is in power. How they came to be in power was ultimately through voting. There are a lot of abortion funds financially trying to help support those losing access. If you have the means to contribute financially — or in any other way that’s going to help support individuals who don’t otherwise have the resources — I highly suggest it.
If you are comfortable with being vocal and reaching out to legislators, whether it’s through phone calls, signing petitions, testifying — I highly suggest this as well. Raise awareness through whatever your platform might be, whether it’s social media or personal circles.
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