January with William and Mary’s Voices for Planned Parenthood (VOX)

By Jenny Rossberg, Spring 2015 Choice Out Loud Campus Representative at the College of William and Mary. Connect with Jenny at vox@email.wm.edu.

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VOX members Taylor Medley and Sadie Meadows

January was a short month for VOX, since we only got back to school on the 21st, but we’re already off to a great, action-packed start!

January 22nd was the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade and VOX participated in several events in order to show our support for this landmark decision, including a small rally outside of the Kimball Theatre in Williamsburg and a tabling session in our student center.

VOX students and Williamsburg community members held bright, friendly signs to show their support for the Roe anniversary. Two members, Taylor Medley and Haley Arata, said the community responded very positively to their presence. People honked in support as they drove by, while others stopped to talk to the sign-bearers and express their support for the pro-choice movement.

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Some more of our lovely pro-choice activists, Ashley Meredith and Danielle Horridge

The next day, VOX set up a table with a Roe v. Wade anniversary poster and (of course) our usual supply of condoms, buttons, and information. Students were happy to see us tabling so soon in the semester, and a lot of new people signed up for our emailing list. In turn, we had a huge turnout at our first general member meeting the following Monday!

This month, VOX also got together to talk about sexual assault on college campuses. In our last general member meeting, we read several articles about UVA and the university’s decision to forbid sororities from going out on the fraternities’ bid night. Rape culture on college campuses, issues of victim-blaming, and institutional negligence toward addressing these problems head-on are just as relevant on the William and Mary campus as they are at UVA.

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All the pro-choice supports with their bright signs and bright smiles!

VOX works closely with the sexual assault prevention/healthy relationships branch of HOPE, a student group that promotes students’ emotional and mental welfare on campus. Later this semester, we’re planning to team up with HOPE and Lambda, the LGBTQ activist club, to sponsor an anti-street harassment week and address issues of rape culture and sexual harassment on the William and Mary campus.

Speaking of the future of our campus and our country, here are some of the super cool things VOX is going to do this semester:

Our main event for the spring semester is always Vagina Monologues. We donate all the proceeds from the show to the Avalon Women’s center in our area, so we’re looking forward to another successful performance and fundraising effort.

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The VOX table with all our condoms and stickers.

Of course, we’re going to continue doing Clinic Defense at a Richmond Planned Parenthood clinic and help escort people visiting the building past protestors. VOX is also hoping to organize some professor panel discussions about reproductive justice, abortion rights, and rape culture on college campuses. Those events will be open to the entire student body since we’re looking to engage a wider range of people. We will host a speaker to talk to students about sexual health and the risk of contracting STI’s, specifically HIV, and start a flier campaign to educate students about the lies and manipulation used by Crisis Pregnancy Centers to frighten women.

Overall, this is going to be an awesome, productive semester filled with feminism, fun, and the ongoing crusade for reproductive justice.

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