By Sarah Hogg, Fall 2014 Choice Out Loud Campus Representative at James Madison University. Feel free to email Sarah or connect with her on Twitter @SarahLovely.
It’s been a great month for choice and reproductive justice at James Madison University! I’ve been the campus rep here for two years, and this has definitely been my favorite semester yet. In October, we worked on building solidarity and community among pro-choice activists on campus, published an op-ed on TRAP regulations in the student newspaper, and ran a successful campaign on the importance of voting pro-choice!
My favorite event of the month was our “What’s Scarier Than Halloween?” pro-choice voting awareness campaign. Every semester our Choice Out Loud team runs some kind of whiteboard campaign, and I have to say that I think this one was the best yet!
Our goal was to raise consciousness about voting on JMU’s campus and make it fun and educational at the same time. Putting a twist on our usual “I’m voting pro-choice because…” whiteboards, we decided to mix it up and make this campaign Halloween-themed. The whiteboards read “What’s scarier than Halloween?” and students and staff wrote in their pro-choice, pro-women, healthcare related answers and then took a picture with the whiteboard.
At the end of the campaign, we made a photo album of all 38 participants and their responses, which was posted to NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s Facebook page. Not only was the campaign fun for everyone involved, it got students talking about the importance of voting in favor of reproductive justice for all.
One of my main goals of the Choice Out Loud internship this semester is building solidarity and community among pro-choice folks. While great work can be done on an individual level, amazing work is done in groups where people feel they are safe, understood, and share the same goals and aspirations. In order to begin work on this goal, I held a pro-choice movie night where a small group of active Choice Out Loud volunteers watched “Obvious Child.”
Afterwards, we had a short discussion, but overall my goal was just to bring people together to begin to build those meaningful relationships that truly make grassroots movements unique. I’m looking forward to continuing this community building in November with a pro-choice coffee series called “Coffee, Consciousness, and Choice” where volunteers will come together to discuss a new reproductive justice-related topic each week!
We’ve had a great semester so far, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us at James Madison University over the next couple of months!
Check out all of the “What’s Scarier than Halloween” responses: