The president of Planned Parenthood recounts her life as an activist.
For decades, Richards has been at the forefront of anti-war, civil rights, labor, and women’s issues; as she demonstrates, activism and the desire to work for the common good run in her family. Her father was a labor attorney and environmentalist, and her mother, Ann Richards, was a fierce fighter for women’s rights who became governor of Texas. As a high school girl new to Austin (she was born in Waco), she made and wore a black arm band supporting the moratorium to end the Vietnam War. After graduation, she headed east to Brown University. She supported striking janitors and librarians, took a semester off to intern for the Project on the Status and Education of Women in Washington, D.C., and became a union organizer in New Orleans. There, she met and married labor organizer Kirk Adams and formed a family that has supported labor across the country ever since. After some time in Southern California, she went back to Texas to work for her mother’s campaign for governor, and she formed the Texas Freedom Network to fight against right-wing textbook censorship. Then it was off to Washington again to serve on Nancy Pelosi’s staff. The author sprinkles short asides throughout the book that alternate between genuinely instructional and boring—e.g., well-worn tips on work-life balance. However, the guidelines for starting any organization are spot-on: direct, down-to-earth, and highly practical. In 2006, Richards and her family moved to New York City so she could assume the lead role at Planned Parenthood in 2006, and she has made the organization instrumental in a wide variety of women’s-rights causes. In the past year, she has spent considerable time battling for her organization amid the Trump administration’s efforts to cut funding.
A memoir that makes palpable the immense influence of an organization that has improved so many women’s lives.