Students engage with national politics

May 16, 2022

About a week before the event Rapping and Hutcherson spread news about the rally. They put up flyers around the school, posted and reposted news about the event on instagram and other social media platforms and reached out to students at other schools in the Atlanta area as well. 

“I decided to reach out to people I knew from other schools, such as North Atlanta, Atlanta International and Maynard Jackson because why not have as many high school students from the area be involved as possible,” Rapping said. 

Junior Neisha Ball attended the rally, seeking a place where she could express her feelings about reproductive healthcare and feminism in general. 

“The rally was important to me because it seemed like the only productive way to express how I felt about the leaked draft of overturning Roe v. Wade,” Ball said. “Showing up and listening to the speakers made me feel like my voice mattered and fueled my impetus for further political advocacy on this subject, and in general.”

Kwajelyn Jackson has been working for Feminist Women’s Health Center (FWHC) since 2003. She leads all of the operations, the abortion clinic, civic engagement, education and outreach teams for the organization. 

“This is an intersectional issue. Abortion access is just one part of a broad reproductive justice framework,” Jackson said. “We want to fight just as hard for people’s ability to terminate a pregnancy as we fight for people’s ability to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and to be able to parent the children that they already have.”

Jackson spoke about the importance of having challenging conversations and learning more about one another. 

“You might not think you know someone who’s had an abortion, but that might just be because you have not been a safe place for them to tell, the other thing I can encourage you to do is to have candid conversations with the people in your life about these things that you care about, why this matters to you and why you decided to come out on a Friday afternoon,” Jackson said. “Tell people that you care about their bodily autonomy and their reproductive futures, you’re a safe place for them to talk about their experiences.”

The rally was used as a way for people to gather together and be able to express themselves and their feelings about Roe v. Wade, while also allowing those who did not know as much about the situation to be able to learn trustworthy and dependable information on the topic.

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation and lack of knowledge going on around when it comes to abortion rights and these current issues; so, my main goal was to ensure that I’m helping spread the knowledge that I have to my peers because we’re the generation that this is going to affect,” Rapping said. “This is an issue that’s bigger than just women’s rights, it’ bigger than abortion rights, this is about truly fighting for a generation.”

Speaker Agbo Ikor has always been interested in civil rights and feminism, Ikor did not become more fully involved in activism until she attended Vanderbilt University. Ikor has worked with Atlanta Women for Equality to fight discrimination at school and work, and said she hopes to extend her passions into a career in social work and the law. Ikor hopes to work with SRJ to bring reproductive change in the state.

“These bills are part of a cohesive strategy to further strip us of our power to live our most liberated lives,” Ikor said. “As a reproductive justice advocate, I strive to emphasize that the fight has never solely been about abortion access; this has been a fight for our human right to bodily autonomy.”

Ikor spoke about the continued fight for reproductive justice and the effects the potential Supreme Court overturn could have.

“As disheartening as it is, this leaked draft is not the official court ruling; I really want to emphasize that.” Ikor said. “Though we don’t expect the official ruling until this summer, this draft does include making it a lot more difficult to access abortion, which will lead to increased surveilance, criminalization and policing of those who choose to end a pregnancy with a disproportionate impact on the most marginalized among us, such as black folks, undocumented folks, poor folks — those who are already subjected to unjust state servailance and violence.”

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