Reproductive rights activism: kicking the semester off at UNC Asheville!

by Kelli Early, 2017-2018 Campus Leader at UNC Asheville

Kelli Sept blogThe Fall semester has started at UNC Asheville, and with it comes all the possibilities for my second year as a NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Campus Organizer.  I was unable to hold any formal events for September due to sickness and attending the Advocates for Youth Urban Retreat; however, Urban Retreat gave me so much great information that I want to utilize through trainings on campus!  For example, one session was on “Trauma Informed Care” which I think would be amazing to do at UNC Asheville where so many students are organizing around racial/economic inequity that can retraumatize people who are experiencing these oppressions.  Additionally, there was a great “Reproductive Justice 101” that clearly defined the differences between reproductive justice, rights, and health work and how those differences should affect organizing strategies.  Furthermore, I got to meet Becki, the UNCW Campus Organizer for NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, and she gave me great ideas for the semester, including showing the documentary No Más BebésFor the “Be Bold End Hyde” campaign, I did a closed screening of Care in Chaos for the UNCA Planned Parenthood Generation Action organization, which had 7 people attend.  I facilitated a discussion about the relationship between clinics and police in Charlotte and got the group to brainstorm some creative resistance to mass protests outside of clinics, since our Asheville Planned Parenthood clinic also experiences protests.  For the September 28th International Safe Abortion Day, I tabled outside of our cafeteria to give information on the limited access to abortion worldwide and got over 40 petition signatures for the “Be Bold, End Hyde” campaign.

At the beginning of the semester, I met with several student organizations, UNCA Out and Planned Parenthood Generation Action, to discuss the current climate of student organizing on campus.  From these meetings, I learned that UNCA has so many student organizations outside of UNCA Out that focus on queer/LGBTQIA+ issues and that bringing together the issues of reproductive rights and queer liberation were highly sought after.  Thus, for October, I’ll be working with the UNCA Out and the Trans Student Union to hold an abortion speakout that focuses on queer/People of Color stories that are on my campus and community!

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