Marcurius Byrd just completed his first year of Law School at the University of South Carolina and is a Legal Fellow for the South Carolina Coalition for Healthy Families.
Growing up I mostly lived in Blythewood, South Carolina. My dad was in the military but the only places we moved to because of that were Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Jackson. When he went to other places my family didn’t really move with him.
I was heavily surrounded by my mom’s side of the family…grandma’s house was next door, grandma’s sister’s house was across the street and so on. My family has always been open and supportive. So even though we were in a conservative area in the south, I never really felt like it because my family allowed me to express different interests and develop my own opinions and values. The only time I really left the south outside of those short-term moves was for college, when I was at Washington and Lee in Virginia.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I became interested in reproductive justice. For me all of the issues I care about kind of intertwine and are intersectional. But I can say it’s probably more all related to the environmental side, and wanting to be a good steward of the earth. Reproductive justice for me alongside the right to choice is also about overpopulation and limited resources available…well maybe not limited, but how we distribute those resources might be a better phrasing.
But it also started clicking when I became older and was in college, especially after taking a women and gender studies class. Abortion allows people to make their own choices instead of being pigeonholed into one role in society. I’ve always wanted people to decide which roles they’ll play in life.
I always see the stereotype that the man is supposed to be the person working and the woman is supposed to take care of the kids. For me, personally, I have the urge to be a father and to raise children. I want to have kids and watch them grow and am much more nurturing. If my future wife ever wants to work full time then I can easily take the role of “house dad” and do the work at home. Both the women and men in my family work, step into leadership roles, and act as head of household in varying instances. I’m used to having that strong female presence in my life.
With that being said, my reproductive hero, aside from Ashley Crary and Eme Crawford, is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I’m really looking forward to the day that we can just have 9 RBG’s on the bench.
Looking into my future career, I am leaning towards selecting the reproductive justice route when it comes to my public interest. Especially after meeting Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, last weekend. In five years, I hope to see myself practicing law…or who knows, maybe being in the legislature. I think the opportunities I’ve had to educate myself and my desire to improve our communities and the lives of the people in them will always lead me to make the rights choices in life. We all deserve to be happy and prosperous, and I hope to get us one step closer to that goal.