Reproductive Justice is a Human Right: My Summer at WWAV

Catalyst Changemaker recipient, Kaitlyn Crook, learns valuable framework and historical context of the reproductive justice movement in the United States, while interning at Women With A Vision, Inc (WWAV) through the Newcomb College Institute Reproductive Internship Program. Kaitlyn is a third-year student studying Public Health and Spanish.

Reproductive Justice is defined as the, “human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” I like this definition because it displays the large breadth of topics that fall under reproductive justice. Economics and access to health care are just two examples of forms of Reproductive Justice. Reproductive Justice should also be equitable and address the barriers that marginalized communities face in the reproductive justice movement. Women With A Vision, Inc., is a non-profit organization that advocates for reproductive justice with black womxn, womxn of color, sex workers, and queer folks specifically in mind. The work of WWAV is based on the understanding of intersectionality, a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw that is defined as the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, or gender that can create an overlapping or interdependent system of discrimination and disadvantage for certain individuals and groups.

I learned a lot about reproductive justice and the importance of community-based organizations in movements, as a reproductive justice intern. Smaller non-profit organizations are often the foundation and do the groundwork, in the reproductive justice movement. Protests against the bill that proposed the six-week ban were incited by WWAV and other grass roots organizations in the South and around the United States. I also learned how service and care to the community is equally important work as advocacy and serves its purpose as a part of reproductive justice. My internship also allowed me to reflect on how I viewed different social structures and the affect these structures have in our society.

I also learned a lot about myself. I learned how to better communicate with peers and supervisors. I learned different skills about networking and connecting with people on a personal level. I gained new perspective by listening to the stories of people directly involved in the movement. After this experience, I am highly considering work within the public health communications field and focusing on social marketing. As a changemaker, this experience has been very influential to my future path not only because of the skills I have gained but also because of the network of peers and mentors I have built.

I am so very thankful for the opportunity to work with brilliant people at Women With a Vision through Newcomb Tulane College.