As our last big event before winding down for the spring semester, YWWAV took a trip out of state to the annual Civil Liberties and Public Policy conference in Amherst, MA. This was my first time attending the conference, but I can definitively say that it will not be my last. Attending this conference gave me the opportunity to see the thousands of different approaches one can take to solving issues of reproductive justice. I was able to meet activists, organization founders, counselors, educators, doctors, sex workers, doulas, artists, and publishers from across the country who work every day to advocate for, fight for and protect the reproductive rights and health of communities everywhere. I was able to meet Loretta Ross herself, who coined the term reproductive justice, and led several of the conference’s workshops. But perhaps what I am most proud of is the fact that I got to see the YWWAV participants come out of their shells to engage in the workshops, network with the people there, and even find the courage to give speeches on their own experiences in front of the hundreds of conference-goers. With workshop topics that ranged from inclusive pleasure-based sex ed to revolutionary parenting to “hood girl healing,” there was something for each of the girls. For some of the young women in the program, it isn’t often that they are able to venture so far outside of New Orleans and given the exposure to such a wide range of worldviews that this conference provided. Driving back to our hotel each day, I noticed that they were asking different sorts of questions than usual and thinking about all the possible tracks their futures could go–what type of work they wanted to do. Some were even thinking of possible workshops they could hold at the conference in future years. In a world where Black girls are often told that they talk too much and too loudly, that they should instead sit back quietly, these girls found a place where their voices were heard, where they were asked to go on instead of shut up, and where they were encouraged to take up space. This trip reminded them that they matter and showed them that they have skills and knowledge and talents that are valued and needed. This was an experience that I will always will hold in my heart going forward in this field, and I hope they will as well.
April was an incredibly eventful month for Lift – and for reproductive justice in Louisiana. As a policy intern at Lift, I used the CQ state database to track legislation in our state that would impact the health and wellness of women, children, people of color, and other marginalized communities in Louisiana. Tracking these bills was super interesting because I was able to get a firsthand look at what was going on in terms of policymaking in our state.
Bills of note (some good, some excruciatingly terrible): SB 181, Milkovich (gross), HB 338, Hoffman (gross), HB 264, Smith (good! she’s an idol of mine), SB 374, Barrow (GOOD!), HB 499, Smith (good)
After going through CQ state every week, I got super attached to some of the bills I saw and read. So it’s easy to imagine how upset I was when some of them (SB 181) were successful.
On a lighter note, Justice for Louisiana Women Advocacy Day was an amazing success! I was incredibly proud of our team and everyone who put in countless hours to ensure that the day ran smoothly. I also met SO MANY inspiring, powerful people that are doing amazing work around justice in Louisiana. I made a bunch of graphics for the advocacy day and it was so exciting to see other organizations and individuals share them on social media!
This week as a wrap up, I’m writing a blog post about incarcerated women, so look out for it on Lift’s website! I am so happy that I was able to serve as an intern in this program and work with Claire and Michelle, and I will forever be grateful.
My final few weeks at Lift Louisiana have been just excellent. We have worked so hard as a team for these past few weeks and accomplished so much.
One of the most important accomplishes for Lift this month was that we hosted the Justice for Louisiana Women Advocacy/lobby day at the capital. We hosted over 100 people to organize, learn, and advocate for women’s health and rights. So much of my time this semester had been spent planning for and organizing this event, so to see it come to life was incredible. We took advocates on tours of the capital, held a press con
ference, had a multitude of speakers to speak about current bills and policies, and went to the capital to lobby our legislators directly. The experience was extremely educational and fulfilling, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to plan and be a part of it.
My other exciting project that I have completed is that I hosted the My Louisiana Sex Ed campaign’s first filmed, small group discussions. Here, we hosted several Tulane students from various different backgrounds to talk about their differing experiences with sex ed. Students compared and contrasted their sex educations and exposed gaps in many states’ education systems. Hearin
g stories about the good and the bad of sex ed. from all over the country was truly eye-opening and certainly reinforced for all of us how important it is to have comprehensive sex ed., not only in Louisiana, but all over the country.
Overall, I am so grateful for my time with Lift Louisiana. I have learned so much about sex ed., policymaking, and being a good advocate. I am so thankful for Lift, NCI, and the individual and communities I have met throughout my internship. This education and these relationships will impact me throughout the rest of my life, and I will continue my fight for reproductive rights and justice, even outside of the scope of this internship.
The end of the semester is once again here as is my final week working with NOAF. This has been the longest I’ve ever worked with a nonprofit (slightly over 8 months), and I can honestly say that this will be a bittersweet end. While I’m excited about my upcoming adventures with law school, I know that I’ll miss the fund and everyone who supports its mission. I’m hoping that reflecting on everything we’ve accomplished will make this exit a bit easier.
Over the last few months, I’ve learned a shocking amount about databases, website interfaces, and the integration of different software. Each of these was necessary to update fundraising procedures, yet I can honestly say that I never expected this to be the bulk of my work. In the past, I’ve had limited experiences with website design and previously, my database experience had been limited to maintenance. This makes everything that I’ve done that much more significant to me. NOAF’s new website will be up and running any day now, and Salsa Labs is set to make life easier for the entire organization. It feels great to see how exactly I’ve helped and impacted the organization.
Thankfully, I have still gotten to support the organization’s more typical fundraising components as well. Our major event, the Game-a-thon, was on Sunday, and over $25,000 was raised significantly more than any year before. Additionally, GiveNOLA will be this upcoming Tuesday! I’ve also been supporting the other organization I’m interning with (the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center who I actually learned about through this program) for this upcoming event, and I’m extremely excited to see how both nonprofits do. So, while my time is coming to a close, I’m happy to say that lots of great things are coming NOAFs way, and I’m so grateful to have had the chance to be part of their invaluable work.
On Wednesday April 11th, I hopped on a bus to Baton Rouge, headed to the State Capitol for a day of networking, training, organizing, and lobbying with our coalition partners! I represented the New Orleans Abortion Fund and met with other interns & staff members of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Lift Louisiana, Women with a Vision, and others. I took a tour of the Capitol Building, learned about the Committee hearing process, had lunch, heard from different speakers of participating organizations regarding specific bills that were up for a vote or a hearing, including bills covering comprehensive sex education to HIV decriminalization, voting reform, LGBTQA+ rights, abortion restrictions, and many more. Finally we received a crash-course in lobbying, which covered how to use & fill out comment cards and how to get these cards to our senators and house representatives on the floor.
The day culminated in a mass movement towards the Capitol building where we filled out comment cards and requested face time with our local senators / house representatives using the information we had just learned. Although I just filled out a little yellow card with my opinion (urging my senator to oppose SB-181, a bill up for vote on Monday in the Senate which would ban abortion procedures after 15 weeks), I felt good knowing that I knew more about how to navigate the legislative process. I loved the “advocacy toolkit” (pictured) that we all received, which outlined a lot of the bills and highlighted a lot of the organizations that were present.
I look forward to finishing up these last few weeks with NOAF and graduating soon!! Thanks for following my journey 🙂
Hi everyone! My work with Dr. Lederer is continuing to be amazing! Currently, I have two projects with Dr. Lederer that I will be wrapping up at the end of April.
The first project is a literature review of sexual violence prevention education. At first, Dr. Lederer and I thought this would be a short review, but after looking through various articles, we realized that a more in-depth analysis was needed. From my research so far I have found a lot of evidence for short-term attitudinal change from sexual violence prevention programs, but I am beginning to see gaps in long-term behavioral change evidence. As I finish up my literature review, I am hoping to synthesize what goes well for other universities and what does not. With this information, I hope to help inform Tulane’s future sexual violence prevention education.
The second project I am working on is a follow-up to a previous study. I am doing transcriptions of interviews with participants of the prior study. We hit a bump in the road when participants were not showing up for the interviews. To increase participation, we increased the incentive used. Since the adjustment, two more interviews have been scheduled! The more conversations we have, the more information we have to inform the previous research study. Hopefully, before the end of my internship, I will be able to transcribe a few more interviews!
As my final semester at Tulane wraps up, I am incredibly thankful for the experience I have had as a Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health Intern. The skills I have honed, and connections I have made are incomparable.
A picture of my workspace–hydration and good tunes to help me through dense research studies!
Hello everyone! My Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health Internship at NCI continues swimmingly. Just before Spring Break, I received the fantastic opportunity to present some of my work at Conceiving Equity, a mini-summit themed around reproductive justice and reproductive politics. For the first part of the evening, I participated in a poster session along with many other interns and student researchers. My poster displayed a portion of the literature review research concerning the rights of pregnant and parenting students under Title IX sex-discrimination legislation. For over an hour, I discussed some of the systematic barriers to fulfillment of Title IX rights with professors, peers, and Tulane community members. The highlights of the poster session included meeting Dr. Sally Kenney, the director of NCI, brainstorming ideas to help young parents at Tulane with Dr. Katherine Johnson, and inspiring a few classmates to apply for an NCI internship in the future. Not only did the presentations spark some great conversations, but it was incredibly encouraging to share some of my work and receive so much positive feedback. The event concluded with a fantastic presentation from J. Shoshanna Ehrlich, who explained the fascinating history of the “pro-woman” anti-abortion arguments. The summit was a huge success thanks to the planning efforts of Dr. Clare Daniel and the staff at NCI, and I truly hope that it becomes an annually recurring event.
This month, my internship research takes me to the review of various sources of state and federal funding for sex education programs. I am currently exploring the “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” that receive a significant portion of Louisiana’s federal dollars for teen pregnancy prevention as part of a larger project to identify what and how funds for sex education are spent in Louisiana. The search involves a lengthy catalog of nonprofit financial forms, phone interviews with grassroots organizations, and keeping up with new policy shifts in a constantly changing political climate. I am thrilled to have decided to stay in New Orleans this summer as an NCI Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health intern to continue working on this project with Dr. Daniel and the NCI team, so I look forward to where the next few months takes us!
Hi y’all! My name is Brittney Sheena and I am a senior at Tulane University majoring in neuroscience and minoring in public health and Spanish. I began working with the Newcomb College Institute and Dr. Alyssa Lederer in May 2017 as a Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health Intern. Through this internship, I have advanced my scientific research and writing skills, learned how reproductive justice and rights influence other rights, and engaged in increase dialogue about reproductive health issues.
Since May, I have been working on a sexuality health education project assessing college students’ knowledge deficiencies. Through this qualitative investigation I developed content analysis and literature investigation skills. At the beginning of last semester, Dr. Lederer and I submitted a poster proposal to the American College Health Association (ACHA) conference to share our findings with others in field of college health. After waiting several months, we heard positive news from the conference that our proposal has been accepted. I am currently looking into conference funding opportunities to be able to travel with Dr. Lederer to Washington, D.C. to present our findings. My primary project remains the completion of the manuscript for knowledge gap findings. I am excited to see the complete project to fruition and have learned an incredible amount about reading, writing, and engaging with public health research from this opportunity. As this project comes to a close, I am starting on a new task of looking at STI knowledge correlates. I look forward to assessing a similar topic from a quantitative perspective and strengthening my analytic skills from a varying approach.
Hello! My name is Emily Galik, and I am currently a senior at Tulane. This spring I’m working as a Reproductive Rights intern at Tulane’s History Department, under the supervision of Professor Karissa Haugeberg. You may recognize me from previous posts on my experiences at NCCWSL, PLEN Women in Public Policy, and interning at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
As Prof. Haugeberg’s Research Assistant this semester, I’m helping her as she edits a new volume of Women’s America: Refocusing the Past, and develops a new photo essay on US women in STEM fields.
I am in my element in this position–conducting primary source research for a project concerning women’s history. However, this project focuses my search not on text sources, but images. A particular quirk of curating photos for this essay is that I must consider the rights and licensing restrictions for the photographs. My past research experiences primarily focused on text sources, or selecting photos from an archive to display in-house. Such restrictions are stricter concerning use in a published, edited volume such as Women’s America, versus undergraduate academic research or exhibition in an adjoining gallery. Thus, I anticipate that prohibitive costs could lead a photo or two to be dropped from the photo essay in favor of free or cheaper options.
This photo of Grace Hopper meeting President Ronald Reagan at her 1983 promotion to commodore has no access/use restrictions, while many photos of women working on ENIAC do, despite their concurrent contributions to programming–perhaps because of their different hosting sites, or the belief this later image of Hopper is less ‘desirable’ due to its later date.
If we complete the necessary work on this project, I will likely assist her research on women nurses and/or some other reproductive health-related field. I also look forward to bi-weekly meetings with interns working at other sites in the program, and learning more about their work.
My name is Mati Mugore, and I am currently interning at the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies (IWES). IWES is a non-profit founded in New Orleans that protects and advocates for women of color and their families. IWES works on several different key issues, including HIV prevention, youth development, reproductive health, and mental health. The program that I am working with specifically is called Creating a Future Together (CrAFT), an initiative that works to institutionalize comprehensive sex ed in schools in Louisiana. The CrAFT team has trained over 100 educators in sex education schools, in addition to training hundreds of students in advocacy.
As a public health major, it has been really valuable for me to learn about trauma informed approaches to sexual health education, and to observe the mechanics of non-profit organizing. IWES is a very collaborative environment, and every person who works there brings a new skill to the table. It is the most diverse environment that I have ever worked in, and the wide variety of backgrounds and personalities within the organization is really emblematic of the interdisciplinary nature of public health. My supervisor has been very helpful about making sure I learn as much as possible during the internship, and I even attend staff meetings so that I can understand all the different initiatives that the organization is working on.
My project specifically is called My Dream Sex Ed, and it involves hosting focus groups and round tables with students of color in New Orleans, where they can discuss what their aspirations for sex ed are. Information and themes from these discussions will be featured in a booklet that IWES can use as an advocacy tool. This project is a really exciting opportunity to develop qualitative research skills, and to learn about focus group facilitation. I have been reaching out to students on Tulane, Dillard, and Xavier campuses, and I am excited to engage in meaningful group discussions.