Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Urge Conference Coverage

Leaders from Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, a reproductive justice activism group based in Washington, D.C., hosted a three-day Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute on The University of Alabama’s campus over the weekend.

The event featured guest speakers such as Jessica Seals, director of congregational life for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta; Susan Watson, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama; Quita Tinsley, Youth Activist Network organizer for SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW; and Rev. Helene Loper from God’s House in Tuscaloosa.        

Kemi Oso, Southern States field associate for URGE, said the purpose of the conference was to show that the current generation of college students isn’t apathetic about these issues by building support among each other and developing leadership skills.

“I feel like one of the most important things we discussed is that there is more to reproductive justice than abortion, and that these issues are based in larger structures such as racism, classism and sexism,” Oso said.         

She said one of the goals throughout the conference was to ensure that participants were aware of other student leaders in the South who are also passionate about reproductive justice issues.         

“I would hope that they recognize that they aren’t the only progressive students in the state, and that recognizing that fuels them toward activist work,” Oso said.    

Haley Miller, the Midwestern States field associate for URGE, said she felt these types of conferences are important because they offer a forum for activists in the community to openly talk about issues society faces today.         

“I think it’s important to get people within a community that care about these issues into a safe place to talk about it and dig into deeper issues,” Miller said.     


She said that bringing people together on a state level is vital in today’s political climate.         

“The way that policy and legislation is heading is very state-based, so we want people within the states to be able to speak up,” Miller said.         

Carrie Clower, a sophomore majoring in political science and communications, said she participated in the conference because she wanted to get involved in activism and saw URGE as a way to meet others in her area who are as passionate about reproductive rights as she is.         

“Especially in Alabama, we are in a place where people are very complacent about issues that don’t necessarily affect them,” she said. “All of the issues we discussed don’t necessarily affect me directly, but I have learned that they don’t have to affect me for me to want to make a change and assist people.”

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