I remember sitting on my couch and crying last year when the Dobbs ruling came out. I was filled with a visceral fear and despair, for all Americans who just lost bodily autonomy. I was new to Georgia and didn't yet have a strong support network to talk to about how I felt that day. I texted a close friend in town. We sat together in sadness from our phones, expressing disbelief and worry through short sentences and emojis. Then I messaged a former boss and mentor from back home in New York. She had just finished talking with her teenage and 20-something daughters.
The day of the Dobbs ruling made me realize I needed a change. I needed a way to speak up, a place to be surrounded by individuals with similar values, and I needed a mission whose relevance could not be denied. A couple of months went by before the opportunity to work for the ACLU of Georgia came up. Gratefully, it did.
In my role working with donors, many of them note reproductive justice as a top issue and reason they give. Many made significant gifts just days after the ruling, unsure where else to vent their frustration and anger or where to direct their funds with intention than to an organization that was tackling the injustice head-on. This role grants a privilege of connecting with Georgians across the state in a personal way, of helping to bring them hope and pride for the difference their gifts are making, and the privilege of just… listening.
As we mark this one-year milestone, I am reminded that change takes time. I'm grateful for the chance to be part of an organization that tirelessly fights for justice and equality.
Nicole Berman is the ACLU of Georgia’s philanthropy officer.