Check out what our campus leaders are up to for the 2017-2018 school year!
Molly Burchins, Campus Leader at NC State University
My name is Molly Burchins, and Iím the Campus Leader at North Carolina State University for the 2017-2018 school year. Iím an interdisciplinary studies major, with a concentration in womenís and gender studies and a minor in social work. This will be my first semester as a NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Campus leader, and Iím incredibly excited to work with my fellow NCSU students to bring about awareness and education around reproductive justice. I have previously worked with the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) and IgniteNC on issues surrounding reproductive rights both in Raleigh and throughout the state. While my own personal activism has included a wide range of social justice issues, Iím very passionate about work that centers reproductive justice, and, even more specifically, comprehensive sex education.
Iím currently working with #ShoutYourAbortion (SYA) and Collective Sex, a storytelling initiative and all-femme production company, to bring their shared program on creative abortion storytelling as activism to NC State in early November. Because of our stateís current policies on abortion and the pervasive social stigma attached to it, I believe that this program has incredible potential to make an impact on my campus. During the same week, I will also be participating in All* Above Allís Hyde Amendment Week of Action to raise awareness of the Hyde Amendmentís dangerous implications for reproductive choice and autonomy. Along with tabling around my campus, I am hoping to host a discussion as a part of the NCSU Womenís Centerís Feminist Fridays in order to get more students involved in the movement to repeal the Hyde Amendment.
This work means so much to me, because I believe that itís important to approach reproductive justice work in a way that doesnít lose touch with real experiences. Iím so thankful for this opportunity to organize and advocate for reproductive justice and abortion rights on my campus, and Iím excited to do my part in creating a lasting impact on my campus community.
Kelli Early, Campus Leader at UNC Asheville (they/them)
As a queer North Carolinian, I was born into a racist, classist society where being a woman/femme person, person of color, or member of a queer community meant your body was subject to systematic violence. As I grew up witnessing Southern women and people be denied reproductive health care, I felt enraged that one's identity or class status could determine how much of one's own bodily autonomy one actually owned. This directly conflicts with my beliefs that sexual and reproductive health care are human rights that are guaranteed regardless of gender, race, sexuality, or ability. This is why I'm proud to be going into my second year as a NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Campus Leader, where I'm advocating for reproductive rights and health in North Carolina.
Going into my final year at UNC Asheville, I wanted to focus my energy on learning from and with reproductive justice advocates in the South who fight against stigma and oppressive legislation affecting disenfranchised peoples. In my first year with NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina in 2016-2017, I was focused on connecting students' excitement for the 2016 general election and how their voting power could dismantle anti-choice representatives. While some North Carolinians voted for anti-choice Congressional members, specifically Senator Tillis and Senator Burr, there were thousands of young people in Western North Carolina who were mobilized after the election to call for equal pay, an end to abstinence-only sex education, and a call for comprehensive healthcare that makes abortion accessible to people of all classes. With this momentum of activism, I have helped start a Planned Parenthood Next Generation student organization to give students a place to safely organize for reproductive rights through stigma-breaking educational events, storytelling, and direct actions. This semester alone, we have gathered over 100 petition signatures, mailed 60 letters to our U.S. Senators, and held 3 teach-ins to engage the student body. Because Planned Parenthood has expertise in reproductive health, we regularly table with the latest information on their services, as well as petitions from NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina against anti-choice bills, like the 20-week abortion ban proposed in Congress. As a Campus Leader, I am focused on engaging new, young students through teach-ins about North Carolina's reproductive rights history, clinic defense, and legislation breakdowns to ensure group education around the historical fight for reproductive rights. Additionally, I want to bring a lens of reproductive justice into my campus organizing by extending the conversation past abortion and birth control, to include advocating for general bodily autonomy that also allows people to have children in a safe, sustainable environment. Drawing these connections between reproductive health and climate justice, racial equity, and queer liberation are important to building a sustainable reproductive justice movement.
I am excited to continue my work at NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, because this organization has opened my eyes to the intersectional nature of reproductive advocacy. As I look on to graduation, I know that this internship is the base for my future in fighting for a better society.
Esther Fiore, Campus Leader at UNC Wilmington
My name is Esther Fiore, and I am one of the Campus Leaders at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for the Spring 2018 semester. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the liberal state of Vermont. Vermont has always been forward thinking in its laws, policies, and beliefs regarding women's rights and equal access to reproductive health care. However, when I transferred to UNCW, I saw that the women in this state were not as supported by the beliefs of their community members or by the laws in place regarding women's rights and access to safe reproductive health care. I immediately felt passionate about getting involved in as many ways as possible in working to better the policies and attitudes surrounding this important social justice issue.
Previously, I was an Environmental Science major at Colorado State University, focusing on environmental justice issues. However, I came to realize my passions reside much more strongly with social justice issues pertaining to women's rights. Now, I am currently a Sociology major, and after graduation, I plan on earning my Masters degree in Public Policy. I am a member of the Feminist Student Alliance at UNCW and plan to use that platform to help further my women's rights and reproductive justice work, as well as to help further the reach of the 1 in 3 Campaign. My goal is to work to reform public policy and community attitudes regarding women's healthcare and reproductive rights and to ensure that all women have safe and equal access to reproductive health care no matter their class, race, or sexual orientation.
I am both extremely grateful and excited to have been given this opportunity to work hand-in-hand with NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina on these issues. My co-Campus Leader, Angelina, and I have many events currently being planned for this semester on breaking down the stigma surrounding abortion and informing others of factual information on women's reproductive health care in North Carolina and what we can do to improve the current attitudes, beliefs, and policies.
Anna Katz, Duke University
As a senior majoring in African and African American Studies and Global Health, I have spent much of my time at Duke University analyzing health disparities associated with race, gender, and other key social determinants. Within this field, I've had my soul ignited by the reproductive justice movement that necessarily links reproductive rights with social justice. I spent this past summer working at Choices WOmen's Medical Center in Jamaica, Queens, a reproductive health clinic that has provided safe and compassionate abortion care to women for more than 45 years. On campus, I work as a peer sexual health counselor, and I am currently teaching a course to train the next generation of peer advisor. I am thrilled to draw from these experiences in y organizing work as a Campus Leader for the 2017-2018 academic year.
My work on campus thus far has included a screening of Trapped
, a powerful Dawn Porter documentary that examines how restrictive laws on abortion affect both patients and providers, and an afternoon of tabling to spread the word about so-called crisis pregnancy centers
(CPC). One of my primary goals is to build partnerships with existing campus groups to create a broader network of advocates and to encourage allies to explicitly invest in reproductive justice. I partnered with Peer Advocacy for Sexual Health (PASH) for the CPC event, and I am very excited for an upcoming collaboration with both the newly formed Duke chapter of Planned Parenthood generation Action and the Duke Democrats to educate our peers on the Hyde Amendment. Inspired in part by UNC Asheville Campus Leader Kelli, I am also working to put together a Sex Trivia night in collaboration with The Bridge, on online community for Black and Latina women.
I am eagerly looking forward to all that this year brings, as I continue to challenge myself as an organizer and connect with fellow reproductive justice advocates on and off campus. A huge thank you to NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina for providing me with such wonderful resources and support. Let's get to work!
Angelina Kianka, Campus Leader at UNC Wilmington
I am thrilled to represent NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina as one of UNC Wilmington's Campus Leaders! This will be my first semester in this role, and I recognize the unique opportunity I have to educate my community in all this is reproductive justice. I'm a junior, and I study Creative Writing, Publishing, and Women and Gender Studies. Literature has tremendous power in social contexts, and I aim to inspire change through writing. My goal is to see women and other marginalized groups better represented and portrayed in literature and media. If I can somehow help facilitate this change in my career, my mission will be accomplished!
AI have always been an advocate for women's rights and access to reproductive health care. Given the current political climate, it's apparent that we need all hands on deck! It's important to understand that rights are no guaranteed. We do not have the luxury of not being engaged. And it's not just access to abortion--it's access to contraception, comprehensive sex education, family planning services, and preventive care that is at stake. I plan on partnering with the Feminist Student Alliance to coordinate events, host discussions, and educate students on how to get involved--and why it is urgent to do so.
Aravia Patterson, Campus Leader at Bennett College for Women
Hello from Greensboro, North Carolina! My name is Aravia Patterson, and I am the NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Campus Leader here at Bennett College for Women. I am a senior majoring in Biology and Africana Women's Studies. After graduating from Bennett College for Women, I plan to attend graduate school to obtain my Masters of Public Health in Global Health with a concentration in sexuality, and sexual and reproductive health. I am excited to have NARAL Pro-Choice NC at Bennett College for Women, because it is my belief that access to adequate reproductive health care and education is a human right. Growing up in a disadvantaged area of Columbia, SC, I noticed that many of the girls and women of color were experiencing high rates of unplanned pregnancies, and did not have access to safe and legal abortion. After graduate school, I would like to obtain my PhD to restructure the sexual education curriculum in public schools, so that it adequately educates and prepares young people to be healthy and sexual people.
Kristen Sands, Campus Leader at Davidson College
My name is Kristen Sands, and I am the Campus Leader at Davidson College for the 2017-2018 school year. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, I am a political science major aspiring to a career in reproductive justice advocacy work. I am incredible excited to work with NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina and bring their mission of reproductive freedom onto my campus this year. I kicked off my work as a Campus Leader on International Safe Abortion Day by tabling outside of our main academic building alongside campus leaders for Planned Parenthood Generation Action, offering up everything from information and conversation about International Safe Abortion Day to condoms, donuts, and reproductive rights pins and stickers! We had a great day and received positive feedback from both students and faculty members who stopped by our table to offer support or engage in conversation about the importance of safe abortion access.
Coming up in just a few weeks, I will be screening "Care in Chaos" on campus and am fortunate enough to have Calla Hales, director of A Preferred Women's Health Center in Charlotte, who is featured in the documentary, coming to speak to at the screening and engage in discussion with us about what communities and individuals can do to create a safe, dignified environment for patients seeking an abortion.
Another event I have in the works for my campus is an abortion storytelling event titled "I Defy," referring to individuals who defy abortion stigma. I am currently collecting abortion stories from members of our student body, faculty, and staff that will be shared anonymously or by the individual at an event in November. Also coming in November, I will be participating in All* Above All's week of action to repeal the Hyde Amendment with an educational lunch event aimed to raise awareness of the harms of the Hyde Amendment and how students can become more involved in grassroots support for overturning it.I am really looking forward to coming together with members of my community here at Davidson to fight for reproductive justice and learn from one another in our activism throughout the year. Thank your NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina for giving me such great resources to be an advocate on campus!
Marie-Antoinette Sintim, Campus Leader at UNC Chapel Hill
My name is Marie-Antoinette Sintim, and I am the Campus Leader at UNC Chapel Hill for the 2017-2018 academic year. I am a senior studying Women and Gender Studies. I was born in Sekondi, Ghana, and moved to the United States when I was 8-years-old. I've lived in North Carolina since moving here and have grown to love this state and have grown in my desire to make it better.
I started work within social justice with the Episcopal Church, of which I am a member, when it started a program to deal with the history of racism and its lasting effects by creating a partnership to learn about the racist history of the United States, particularly in
North Carolina, Botswana, and South Africa. And now my academic career and passion around gender equity issues have led to me working as the Campus Leader for NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, and I am very excited.
Last summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to be an undergraduate intern for NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, and I absolutely loved every moment of it. I had studied issues of gender equity in my academic life, but it was completely different to be part of an organization addressing the issues head on. So I decided to apply for the Campus Leader position in hopes of continuing to work around abortion access and exposing the many threats to women's health and access to abortion.