Hayley in Billboard’s After ‘ROE’ publication

Billboard reached out to musicians, label execusives and many more people from the music industry to ask what real action might protect reproductive rights. The music industry, as Billboard wrote, has some powerful tools it can use to fight for the rights. Hayley Williams is one of the people Billboard asked to join the conversation. Click HERE to read the text and below you can find Hayley’s answer to Find Power In Your People section.

I grew up in the Deep South, where there’s absolutely no separation of church and state. My mom didn’t raise me with a super-closed mind, even though I grew up in church. I just didn’t feel like my viewpoint fit in a lot of places. Now, being in music and having friends from all over the place, it’s a lot easier to learn. I’ve learned a lot from my friend Beth [Cosentino] in the band Best Coast, and I feel like she has taught me a lot about speaking up and being willing to take the sh-t that comes with that.
I wish that someone had told me earlier on that I could speak out against power, and yes, it comes with sh-t and it comes with people pushing back against you, but that’s how progress is made. I have a lot of anxiety, and when one of the first big women’s marches was in town, I was going through a divorce — it wasn’t even my divorce yet, it was like a horrible breakup in that same relationship — and I was like, “I can’t go,” and I was talking to Beth about it and just being like, “I feel like if I speak up about something, even if I know it’s right, I feel like it’s going to bear down on me and I’m not going to be able to breathe.” I think the confidence to speak up about these things is a muscle.

It’s also a continuous learning lesson. You have to be willing to be wrong and then get redirected. You have to be willing to ask a lot of questions and find resources and people to partner with. I’m learning right now that the best and the shortest route is to direct people to A, people smarter than me, but B, to people that actually do the work day in and day out — obviously, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, but now, it’s just becoming more and more apparent that we have to dig deeper than that. Being a woman from the South, I think it is important to speak up because there are a lot of people down here that are now stranded, essentially, and you have to be able to point them to actual help. I’m focusing on Abortion Care Tennessee, which is here in Nashville, and Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund.