by Evey Wilson with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice about their experience at the 2014 NC Reproductive Justice Youth Summit, hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice NC Foundation. Reposted with Permission. Original posting available here.
Young people can be a difficult audience to reach. NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation tackled this challenge by partnering with other nonprofits to sponsor a day-long Reproductive Justice Summit targeting youth ages 16-24 for a series of advocacy skill sessions. SCSJ voting rights organizing intern Xan McKnight let a session entitled “Navigating North Carolina Voting Laws,” where she spoke to young voters at a session co-taught by Trenten McNeill and Alyssa Davis of Democracy North Carolina.
Xan’s presentation focused on ways that North Carolina’s draconian new voting laws suppress the vote of youth, the elderly, women, communities of color, and other vulnerable populations. Through audience participation, a list of voter impediments was created, followed by a list of existing and proposed solutions. Trenten and Alyssa focused on the nuts and bolts of the new voter suppression law. The final segment was a collaborative discussion of best practices in nonpartisan community organizing to help young people become engaged in elections, help coordinate voter awareness on college campuses, and assist people without photo ID in obtaining free state-issued identification before the new voter ID law goes into effect in 2016.
Speakers from SisterSong, Advocates for Youth, Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), NARAL Pro-Choice NC Foundation, Equality NC, and Third Space Studio facilitated the summit and over 100 young leaders ages 16-24 came together to participate. They discusses how to create social change in their communities, especially pertaining to issues of Reproductive Justice, which is the intersection of reproductive rights and social justice. Sessions included discussions about identity, youth activism, the impact of personal stories, health care, how to actively listen and open a dialogue with more difficult/resistant audiences, and how to create a plan for the future of reproductive justice in North Carolina. SCSJ supports Reproductive Justice issues and recognizes the important intersectionality between reproductive justice issues and other social justice issues.