By Justine Schnitzler, Spring 2016 Campus Leader at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
My name is Justine Schnitzler, and I am serving as NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina’s Campus Leader for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am so excited to work with NARAL in the coming months and semesters, and excited to share my experiences with all of you! To give you a bit of background on myself—I am a junior double majoring in History and Women’s and Gender Studies, a proud Tar Heel, and a future lawyer. I have been actively involved with reproductive justice since my first year of college, and currently write for UNC’s feminist journal, the Siren.
This has been my first month “on the job”, and I have mostly utilized the time to start
organizing what events I want to host on my campus this semester. However, there were some particularly bright spots: after all of the paperwork, I had the opportunity to participate in the Historic Thousands on Jones Street March (HKonJ) on February 13th with my supervisor, Sarah. I had to get up early to make the campus bus to Raleigh, and was certainly not thrilled to realize once outside that it was twenty-seven degrees! However, the excitement of the march soon erased any disdain for the cold—it was an honor and a privilege to march alongside hundreds of others who shared my passion and commitment to a variety of social issues, especially relating to reproductive healthcare.
A second neat event I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of was addressing thank-you cards for abortion providers. This was my first NARAL event I’ve planned as a campus organizer, and I had a blast! I recruited members of my aforementioned feminist journal, the Siren, as well as members of other social justice groups on campus. When it was all said and done, we filled out enough cards to stuff an envelope and share our gratitude with the individuals working so hard to help Americans exercise reproductive choice.
I also wanted to give a shout out to my amazing supervisor, Sarah—who traveled to DC with NARAL to rally at the Supreme Court for the first day of oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, an incredibly important case that will determine the application of Roe v. Wade for Americans in the coming months, years, and decades. This case seeks to establish the standard for “undue burden” placed on reproductive health clinics by conservative state legislators. It is an amazing feeling to be connected to an organization so visibly committed to rallying behind choice. Side note—I did my best to get to the Supreme Court myself, but unfortunately, seasonal allergies knocked me off my feet for a bit!
For the month of March, I have several exciting events planned for my peers at UNC-Chapel Hill, including a screening of the important new documentary Trapped, and a collaborative event with Students United for Reproductive Justice.
Thank you so much for reading my updates, and stay tuned for my next blog post!