NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina
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Campus Corner

Check out what our campus organizers were up to for the 2016-17 school year! Interested in becoming a campus organizer for 2017-18? Apply here!

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler, Campus Organizer at UNC Chapel Hill

This is going to be my final post for NARAL as a Campus Leader—I am moving on from my undergraduate career and heading out in the big wide world! I plan to work in justice issues here in the Triangle over the course of the next year while I await law school decisions in the fall. It has been a pleasure to work with NARAL Pro-Choice NC, and I am forever grateful to this organization for the incredible work they do.

As a college junior last winter, I applied on a whim to serve as NARAL’s campus representative for UNC-Chapel Hill. Almost two years later, I am graduating in three weeks from my beloved institution, with a track record of engagement on reproductive health issues with my peers I am truly happy with. I was able to collaborate and work on multiple events over the course of the 2016-2017 academic year, which I will recap briefly for y’all!

Last October, I screened the film VESSEL on my campus, welcoming about twenty students over the course of the event and enjoying a hearty discussion following the film. We also collected donations for the Charlotte Uprising during that event—something I was particularly proud to facilitate. VESSEL in an incredibly poignant and timely documentary, and all attendees agreed it introduced ideas worth sharing.

This spring, I was able to host a "reproductive justice party” for like-minded activists on campus—and we had a ball! We distributed NARAL and All Above All* goodies, played a thoughtful game designed to get spark conversations on sexual and reproductive healthcare, and enjoyed each other’s company in a relaxed setting. While this spring semester has also afforded me the chance to work on petitions, call my legislators, and fight hard for the NC General Assembly to respect our right to choose, it is the moments I shared with my peers, scheming and dreaming of abortion access for all, that I will remember the most.

This is going to be my final post for NARAL as a Campus Leader—I am moving on from my undergraduate career and heading out in the big wide world! I plan to work in justice issues here in the Triangle over the course of the next year while I await law school decisions in the fall. It has been a pleasure to work with NARAL Pro-Choice NC, and I am forever grateful to this organization for the incredible work they do.

Kelli Early, Campus Organizer at UNC Asheville

I had a great two semesters working with NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina to spread no-stigma education and advocacy about abortion rights. In the Fall semester of 2016, I held multiple tabling events on our campus quad, including a March to the Polls where I spoke to a group of 60 people about my personal abortion story and the need to recognize abortion access as a healthcare issue. Additionally, I held multiple "Letter to your Senator” events calling on our local representatives to repeal the 72 hour waiting period and our Congress representatives to repeal the Hyde Amendment. Our letters culminated in a response from Senator Van Duyn of Buncombe County, who told us about her ideas for the Whole Women’s Health care Act. I also registered over 65 people to vote in the process of tabling. I have been able to meet amazing individuals in the reproductive rights field, including members of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and the Carolina Abortion Fund. I was also able to restart the student organization Students for Reproductive Justice, which will help continue educating students on the basics of reproductive health and build coalitions with other student organizations, like the Trans Student Union, to rally for an end to new anti-choice legislation.

In my Spring semester, I saw that my campus community was shocked by the outcome of the election, so I decided partner with the Asheville Planned Parenthood to reignite the student body. I held multiple sexual health education tablings where Planned Parenthood covered the medical questions of students, while I had petitions and ways for them to become reproductive advocates. This resulted in numerous students becoming clinic greeters at Planned Parenthood and a consistent membership to Students United for Reproductive Justice. One of my favorite events of this semester was the 1 in 3 week where myself and members of SURJ spread abortion stories around UNC Asheville, AB Tech and over 18 businesses across Asheville. We concluded the week with a abortion story coffee meet up, where 3 people shared their abortion story to a group of men and community members at UNCA. In my last event, a Sex Trivia night with Planned Parenthood, I saw many faces who I had met throughout the school year, and realized that I had slowly helped start a following of people who want to see abortion rights as human rights. This year has taught me so much about the history of laws and regulations meant to disenfranchise women, the LGBTQ+ community and communities of color in North Carolina. The opportunities I have had to learn from others experiences and others knowledge is invaluable and I look forward to being an advocate for NARAL Pro-Choice NC for the rest of my lifetime.

Bex Hyman, Campus Organizer at Guilford College

Through my experience with NARAL I had the opportunity to attend the Creating Change Conference in Philadelphia in January 2017. I spent inauguration day listening and learning from people using their voices as tools of change. I spent inauguration day being inspired by peoples’ vulnerability and passion—an experience that confronted me to use my voice more actively as a Campus Leader and engage, question, and educate my community in uncertain times.

Because of this challenge, when I returned the campus in late January, I accepted the opportunity to speak on a panel addressing what a Trump administration could mean for reproductive rights. I tend to stray away from public speaking at all costs but felt as if I could us my knowledge as a tool of change and help to educate the community I so deeply care about.

From tabling on Thank You, Birth Control Day, to the Advocates for Youth:1 in 3 Week of Action, to hosting a "How to Get an Abortion in North Carolina” teach-in in collaboration with Carolina Abortion Fund, to speaking next week at the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Conference this opportunity with NARAL has allowed me to put theory into practice, it has allowed me to connect more deeply with my community, and trust my voice as a valuable and active tool in creating the change I want to see in the world.

Taylor Johnson, Campus Organizer at Duke University

My name is Taylor Johnson, and I have been the campus coordinator for Duke University for the school year of 2016-2017. This past year, with the election and change of federal government, has been a tough one for all of us and especially the activism/organizing community. During the fall semester, most of us began with a great deal of hope. During our biweekly discussion meetings, Duke undergrads explained their hopes for the future: the first female president; the first Jewish and socialist president; a continuation and elaboration upon the gains made by the Obama administration in the field of reproductive rights and women’s health. Because of these dreams, much of our activism in the first semester of the year focused on the upcoming election. We held phone-a-thons, canvassed across campus, and encouraged as many students as possible to get informed and get out the vote. Using the 1 in 3 Campaign materials, we worked to remove the stigma around abortion and explain how pivotal access to safe medical abortions is for women’s health. On a campus with more than a 50% female student body, many of whom are currently sexually active, it was very important to invoke discussions on women’s reproductive health options. Though these discussions began in an atmosphere of optimism, they continued in as much force upon the morning of November 9th, 2016.

Though we all, myself included, needed to take some time to recover from the reeling blow the federal election dealt to us all, we never let down the banner for women’s health, LGBTQ rights, reproductive health and access to health care services. In the second semester of the year, beginning with the women’s marches in Washington D.C., Raleigh, and around the globe, we made our voices heard. We told the newly elected federal and local administrations that a fluke of the Electoral College system would by no means mean undisturbed terms in office. From day one, we showed that we will continue to fight for our rights at every turn. On Duke’s campus, we continued to spread resources on women’s reproductive health issues and rights. We encouraged students to discuss what each new policy or social development meant to them personally. A great deal of the spring semester has been spent reminding students, queer, female-identifying, and otherwise, that there will always be people there to fight for their rights…to remind them that there is a community of activists and others alike, who will provide a shoulder to cry on, an information packet to read, and/or an angry, feminist fist to shake at any who threaten us.

Leah Block, Campus Organizer at NC State University


The past year has encompassed themes of resistance here at NC State and across the greater national community. Through resistance, communities here on campus have strengthened their bonds and all-around effectiveness. We have doubled down our efforts in the realm of social justice, including and especially in the area of reproductive justice (RJ). Through my position at NARAL Pro-Choice NC and NCSU SAGE (Students Advocating for Gender Equality), I work to establish an intersectional approach to RJ on campus; and cultivate support for abortion access across the greater student body.

Fall semester saw great efforts to promote knowledge on the 2016 presidential election candidates and issues. Indeed, in order to secure abortion rights and access, we must elect into office those who champion women's human rights.

NCSU SAGE partnered with NC State's Women's Center to host two on-campus film screening events for the purpose of raising awareness on issues pertaining to reproductive justice. The first of these events was a screening of "After Tiller," which would later be followed by a screening of "The Hunting Ground." Though the past fall was daunting, and for many of us scary, student activists persevered. In October, students came together in the Talley Student Union to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Planned Parenthood, making birthday and thank you cards for the local clinic while enjoying free pizza.

We have not let up this spring semester as far as activism goes on campus. In fact, we have been busier than ever, resisting both national and state efforts against reproductive rights. To kick off the semester, NCSU SAGE hosted a march group at the monumental Women's March on Raleigh, which was attended by over 18,000 people. At the march, student activists helped to ramp up NARAL Pro-Choice NC's Rapid Response team and collected the signatures of countless individuals eager to defend abortion access.

To go off of the momentum from the march, NCSU SAGE hosted a "Know Your Birth Control" Jeopardy event; as under Trump, many are unsure if they will have easy access to their preferred birth control methods. Even being college students, many of us are still "in the dark" about birth control methods, functions, and accessibility. The purpose of this event was to raise students of this darkness, so that they may feel empowered to make their own autonomous decisions.

As the weather warmed up this semester, we decided to get loud and proud about abortion rights and access. NCSU SAGE partnered with NC State's GLBT Community Alliance and took to the Free Expression tunnel to engage in some good ol' art-ivism. We painted the tunnel hues of pink, white, and black, and wrote messages of "NO MORE BACK ALLEYS! NO MORE COAT HANGERS!" and "Planned Parenthood Saves Lives!"

Lastly, to wrap up the semester, SAGE hosted a "Menstrual Hygiene Product Drive" for the local Women's Center of Wake County. A large population of low-income women cannot afford menstrual hygiene products or baby products, as they are not covered under any governmental or welfare programs. The purpose of this drive was to both raise awareness on and combat this issue. Students were eager to donate their time and supplies for such an important cause, and the event left me feeling inspired despite these tumultuous times we live in.
 
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