These blog posts shine a spotlight on individuals and organizations in our community that are helping make our world a more welcoming place for everyone. Last year, we hosted a photoshoot to celebrate people who embody the All Are Welcome Here message in their lives and work.
Not only was this experience super fun for everyone involved, it also shed light on what the word "welcome" means, the inspiring things happening in our community, and creative ways that we can continue moving forward together. We’re sharing these stories to celebrate our community, inspire others, and show the power of a message turned into actions big and small.
Zeenat & Shannon from Planned Parenthood
On Thursday, February 20, Planned Parenthood is hosting Ready or Hot: Fashion Meets Passion for Planned Parenthood, a radically inclusive, body-positive fashion show that celebrates bold self-expression, positive change, and the vital work of Planned Parenthood. This year's impressive line-up of runway models includes Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and local music icons HALEY, Lazerbeak, SYM1, and more!
All Are Welcome Here is proud to have donated 250 of our new VOTE stickers to the event. (Our founder is a young breast cancer survivor who strongly believes in their preventative education and affordable early screening programs.) We are also proud to have had the opportunity to meet (and photograph) Zeenat and Shannon who share beautiful wisdom and insight into the inclusive work happening every day at Planned Parenthood. At the time of this interview, Zeenat was an Educator, and Shannon was and still is a Nurse Practitioner.
What does the word "welcome" mean to you?
"Acceptance, acknowledgement and respect for someone’s ethnicity, nationality, religion and other factors that shape their identity without wanting to change or influence them."
(Photo: Zeenat — educator, activist and proud immigrant | By: Shuttersmack Photography + Design)
As an educator, Zeenat understands the importance of providing youth and adults with comprehensive sex education so they can make healthy decisions. Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged by current events big and small, but Zeenat reminds us that there is hope in the qualities that make America strong.
"I believe so much of what makes America strong is people creating connections while continuing to keep their identity. Respect, compassion, empathy and advocacy are what makes this country beautiful and showcases our incredible capacity to love fully and freely."
What a beautiful place it would be if each of us took these qualities to heart and applied them to our everyday lives. Note: Since this interview, Zeenat has moved out east and is now an educator at Day One, a nonprofit that provides critical education and guidance to New York City's youth on dating abuse and domestic violence. Learn more at https://www.dayoneny.org
What does the word "welcome" mean to you?
"A warm and inviting place."
(Photo: Shannon, Planned Parenthood Nurse Practitioner | By: Shuttersmack Photography + Design)
As a nurse practitioner, Shannon provides quality, non-judgmental sexual and reproductive health care to every patient. She is a tireless advocate for sexual health and speaks up for what she believes in order to inspire others to do the same. Spreading awareness and inspiring action starts with each of us. Together, we all have the power to use our voices to champion inclusivity.
Shannon reminds us that the work is never done: "Inclusivity feels like it is applied to only certain portions of the population at times. I think there needs to be more community awareness and efforts to be inclusive and welcoming of EVERYONE, regardless of their background."
Planned Parenthood is the very definition of inclusivity & accessibility.
Planned Parenthood has been providing high-quality health care and education to women, men, and young people for more than 100 years. Planned Parenthood is:
- A trusted health care provider to all who need them, no matter who they are, who they love, or their ability to pay.
- The largest provider of sex education in our region reaching millions across the country.
- A fierce and passionate advocate for the health and rights of all people.
Take it from Zeenat and Shannon:
Zeenat: "[Planned Parenthood] is committed to providing services and educational programs that are culturally specific and competent while addressing unique challenges faced by each community. [They] use every opportunity to partner with organizations that already do incredible work and align with goals around health equity. All educational programs prioritize providing vital information by working with people’s values and needs."
Shannon: "We emphasize the importance of keeping our doors open and providing quality health care to every individual that presents to the clinic. No matter what."
You can help make our community more welcoming too!
Everyone has a part to play in making the world a more welcoming place for all. How can you embrace this message of kindness and apply it to your everyday life?
Zeenat recommends education, awareness, and kindness are a great place to start:
"Being aware of what is going on in the world around you and especially the changes affecting people in this country is incredibly important. When you know the struggles and fears that others are facing, you can be better prepared to be welcoming.
We need as many people as possible standing up for others because it shows that we not only accept everyone but will fight for them and their rights. Educating yourself, voting, volunteering, referring people to helpful resources are all ways to make others feel welcome.
Most of all, be kind – to your neighbor, your coworker, your classmate. The smallest of actions can go a very long way."
Join us for Ready or Hot!
Tickets are still on sale. Get yours today and we'll see you there!
Nominate an Ally for All
Help us celebrate the incredible individuals and organizations that are turning the All Are Welcome Here message into action in our community. Nominate as many people as you like (even yourself, we won’t tell). Selected Allies for All receive:
- $100 donation to a cause they love
- An interview and photoshoot to be featured on the All Are Welcome Here blog and social media
- Free All Are Welcome Here swag