Ashton Kutcher’s Crusade

Photo Credit: Change.org

Photo Credit: Change.org

We know that young student moms face the frustrating situation of not having enough parenting resources on college campuses. But what about our dads? Too often, we forget to acknowledge the great role that our men play in raising and caring for our children. Increasing resources for both parents provides greater opportunities for our parenting students to properly care for their kids—and to get an education!

Now let’s take a moment to consider this issue beyond our college campuses. How often do you see changing tables in public women’s restrooms? Pretty frequently, right? But what about men’s restrooms? It seems that many stores and public venues forget that dads also have to pitch in with the diapers!

If you’ve been huffing and puffing about this frustrating lack of resources for dad, you aren’t alone. But never fear— Ashton Kutcher is here!

Ashton Kutcher’s Changing Table Crusade

Hollywood celebrity, Ashton Kutcher, is sounding the alarms about the lack of diaper changing tables in men’s public restrooms. In recent Facebook rants, Ashton let the world know that he’s fed up.

On March 8th, Ashton posted, “There are NEVER diaper changing stations in mens public restrooms. The first public men’s room that I go into that has one gets a free shout out on my FB page! ‪#‎BeTheChange‬”

 

Ashton K- March 8 FB post

 

 

 

 

 

A week later, he was posting again about his frustrations. “It seems this idea of diaper changing stations has struck a chord. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people just complain about s*** and don’t do anything to improve their condition. So lets do something. In for equality? Pass it on – ‪#‎LeanInTogether”

Ashton K- March 16 FB post

 

Now, Ashton is on a crusade to make change happen. Ashton is working with Change.org to encourage Target and Costco to provide diaper changing tables in the men’s restrooms at their stores.

In his petition, Ashton shares the following message:

As a new dad, I recently learned an unfortunate reality about changing diapers while out in public with a child. Almost all public changing tables are in women’s bathrooms, which makes it nearly impossible to find a table that’s accessible to dads. As crazy as it sounds, many stores don’t give dads the option to change their babies’ diapers.

It’s 2015, families are diverse, and it is an injustice to assume it’s only a woman’s job to handle changing diapers. This assumption is gender stereotyping and companies should be supporting all parents that shop at their stores equally – no matter their gender.

Changing tables in men’s rooms will be a tiny step in the long process of rectifying the legacy of gender discrimination, but it’s a step we need to take. Dads, like myself, want to participate equally in the child care process and our society should support that.

Target and Costco have proven themselves time and time again to be companies that honor diversity, support families, and provide great services to kids of all ages. That is why I am calling on them to be the change. As leaders in their industry, they can initiate a company-wide policy to provide universally accessible changing tables in their stores. 

If Target and Costco take this step, I know that other companies will follow suit and recognize that we should be supporting all parents equally. 

#BeTheChange

#LeanInTogether

The Public Responds

So far, over 86,000 people have signed the petition. A Target representative has responded to the challenge. However, there has not yet been a public statement from Costco.

Hi Ashton,

We appreciate the interest. As you’ve noted, at Target we are absolutely committed to creating a family-friendly environment and accommodating the needs of our guests. For the convenience of all of our guests, we have made changing tables a standard feature in both our men’s and women’s restrooms for more than 25 years. In addition, as we build new stores, we place changing tables in our women’s, men’s and family restrooms. In the event a changing table is unavailable, we encourage our guests to notify a team member and we will be happy to offer an alternative private location to meet their needs.

Molly Snyder
Target Public Relations

What You Can Do

The first step to making change happen is to speak out. Don’t sit back and wait for your campus to change. You have to be the one to step out, raise your voice, and actively address problems on your campus. Like Ashton, you can challenge your college community to provide more changing tables for parenting students. Here’s a guide for how you can do this project on your campus: Diaper Changing Stations.

You can also check out our recent post, Take Action on Your Campus, to learn helpful tips for engaging and equipping your campus to be more supportive of pregnant and parenting students.

 

This post was contributed by Beth Rahal, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. If you would like more information about how you can get invovled with the Pregnant on Campus Initiative, please email Beth at brahal@studentsforlife.org

The lullaby heard around the world

A year ago, few would recognize the name “Kimberly Henderson.” And yet, over the past few months, the former American Idol contestant has become a household name. After posting a YouTube video singing to her newborn, Kimberly’s cover of “How Will I Know” has viral and has reached over 4.4 million views.

A Mother’s Love

This past week, Kimberly posted a moving testimony detailing how she almost aborted her daughter, Vaida Everly. This Facebook post has become so popular that it has been liked by over 720,000 viewers and shared over 150,000 times. The post has reached over 28 MILLION Facebook viewers.

Here is Kimberly’s post:

Photo Credit: Kimberly Henderson

Photo Credit: Kimberly Henderson

Two years ago today I was sitting in an abortion clinic thinking not having Vaida was best for me.

People remember dates for birthdays, and anniversaries. Well this date is forever burned in my brain. It’s a day that I will remember and I remember every single detail of that day. I think that is Gods way of showing me that HIS plan is and will always be greater and bigger than anything and everything I’ve ever known.
I sat in the abortion clinic for nearly 7 hours. I remember wearing a pink t shirt that was soaking wet from crying. Below is my post from that day and I remember crying the entire time I was writing it. I hope that by sharing this that it touches someone.

“Today I was at the abortion clinic. I had my mind made up. My boyfriend was cheating on me. I have small kids, what will people think?? I kept telling myself I’m all alone I need to do this. Sitting there.. I could hardly make out anyone or anything through the tears. People were eating fast food around me, laughing, texting. I on the other hand was a wreck. I kept my face down, my face was drenched in tears. I kept telling and giving myself every reason to go through with this even though I did not believe in it. I kept saying I’m on birth control this could not happen..I kept trying to justify it. But my heart was heavy. I felt like I was about to make a horrible horrible decision and God was giving me signs to not do it.. I woke up this morning, my daughter was sick I had to find a sitter, I got lost, my car broke down for about 15 mins and I got here late but they still got me in. I prayed God would stop and give me a sign, give me the strength to get up and walk out of here..

The lady called me to the desk. Last step before you go back. I fumbled through my wallet to find my drivers license and out fell a card a couple left on the table Saturday night when I was working… It had their church name on it.. On the back was a common verse…

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

I knew God was speaking to me.

Two of my best friends called me just in time and said the most comforting things. “I will be there for you..There’s a reason God gave you that gift.”

I told the lady I changed my mind. As I was about to walk out. A young girl no older than probably 19 says to me..”Are you going to do it?” I told her I couldn’t.. She said..”I wish I could be brave like you..” I told her she was brave and she could do the same thing. She said she had to do it because of some serious circumstances.. As I turned around she said..”When you see your baby’s face for the first time you’re gonna be so glad you walked out of here today.”

Pouring tears I walked out and felt a huge weight off my shoulders. No matter what your circumstances are God doesn’t make mistakes and he is here for you.

This is my testimony. If you have any negative comments you can refrain from making them here. I will let it be known that I do not care what people think. Hence this post. My friends and family mean the world to me. And have my back 100%. Even if I have to do this by myself. I thank God everyday for them.”

Most of all I remember the enormous amount of relief and strength I felt when I walked out those doors. No guilt. No shame. No regrets. I remember feeling that this all… This all has to mean something one day. My daughter Vaida Everly has a purpose. Her name means beautiful life. And lord she is just that.. A beautiful life. After a scary pregnancy, and after countless weak moments thinking I just could not do this by myself.. September 12 2013 I welcomed my beautiful Vaida Everly into this world with both my best friends by my side. I remember seeing her for the first time and bursting into tears. And engraved in my head were the words that girl told me before leaving the clinic that day. “When you see your baby’s face for the first time you are going to be so happy you walked out of here today..” She was beyond right. 6lbs 4oz of pure perfection and no matter what pain I felt physically and emotionally… She gave me a feeling of joy that I can’t even explain. A kind of joy that if a war was going on outside I wouldn’t even know it. I am so in love.

My once tiny 6lb baby is now 18lbs. Full of life. Full of energy. Loves to laugh. Loves to smile.

And last but not least she is that beautiful baby girl I was singing to at midnight in the kitchen. The video that has touched millions of people all over the world. Singing to her in our kitchen for a memory keep sake is the reason our entire life is about to change. For the good. For the better. She was meant to be here.

I’m so lucky.

What you can do

Stories like Kimberly’s inspire us to continue to support and celebrate young moms! You can learn more about Kimberly’s story on YouTube here. Here are some ways that you can

 

This post was written by Beth Rahal. For more information about how you can share your story, please email Beth at brahal@studentsforlife.org.

TAKE ACTION on your campus

At the 2015 Students for Life of America East Coast National Conference, the Pregnant on Campus presentation (entitled “Bringing Truth, Hope, and Light to Your Campus”) featured a panel of pregnancy and parenting resource experts to discuss how pro-life student groups can better support students on college campuses. The panel brought together Peggy Hartshorn (Heartbeat International), Sally Winn (Feminists for Life), and Beth Rahal (Students for Life of America) to offer their experiences and expertise on supporting post-abortive, pregnant, and parenting students.

Watch the panel here

Take Action

As a pro-life student leaders, you are called to action! You are called to step up and provide the answers and solutions that your peers need to embrace life-affirming pregnancy decisions. If you want to empower young women to choose life, you must:

  • Educate your peers about pregnancy, abortion risks, pregnancy options, and life-affirming resources.
  • Advocate for your pregnant and parenting peers on campus.
  • Show your peers that you care about them and their unique story.
  • Offer compassionate, non-judgmental support.
  • Bring resources to campus, advertise resources, and network with the community.

Learn more about what you can do here: http://pregnantoncampus.studentsforlife.org/what-you-can-do/

For more information about how your student group can get involved in the Pregnant on Campus Initiative, contact Beth at brahal@studentsforlife.org

Making Room for our Nursing Mamas

Photo Credit: Tamar Shugert Photography

Photo Credit: Tamar Shugert Photography

As a parenting mom of a young infant, one of the first challenges that you are going to face is where to feed your baby. Often universities provide lactation rooms or other private areas for breastfeeding moms; however, these facilities are not always well advertised or even readily accessible to moms.

If you are a working mom, remember that you are protected under the law and that your employers must provide a “reasonable amount of break time” for you to nurse your infant child or to pump milk. However, as a student, you may struggle to find appropriate accommodations for your nursing needs.

How Can We Help Nursing Moms?

It’s embarrassing that many educational institutions have not provided better accommodations for our young mothers, who are working hard to achieve educational goals and raise a child. No mom should be forced to use a bathroom to breastfeed or be placed under the uncomfortable scrutiny of peers when attempting to breastfeed in a public place.

Let’s help provide our fellow students with reasonable accommodations to ease their nursing needs. Here are 2 projects that your pro-life student group can do:

For help with your Pregnant on Campus projects, please contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator, or email our Pregnant on Campus Coordinator at pregnancyresources@studentsforlife.org. Find out more projects here: What You Can Do.

Learn More

For more information on breastfeeding provisions and laws in your state, check out:

 

This post was written by Beth Rahal, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. If you wish to become more involved in the Pregnant on Campus Initiative, please contact Beth at brahal@studentsforlife.org.