Looking back on the summer, I cannot believe how quickly my practicum flew by. As the first week of school came to a close on August 14th, so did my practicum at NARAL Pro-Choice NC. The last week of my practicum was a busy one, as I began to acclimate to my new classes while finishing up my projects from the summer. Although my summer was mostly spent sitting behind a desk, I am really excited about the work I was able to accomplish.
My partner and I at Hanging Rock
Throughout my practicum, I examined the communication strategies implemented by crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), also known as fake clinics, and researched the manipulation tactics they use. I was also able to interview a variety of stakeholders in order to better understand their perspectives and priorities on repro health and justice. All of my practicum work was sprinkled with fun activities, including exploring the beautiful NC outdoors, trying some new DIY projects, and teaching parking lot workout classes at Threehouse Studios in Durham. I was able to take a short trip to the Outer Banks, hike some new destinations, and find new places to sweat outdoors.
This summer, I am completing my practicum with NARAL Pro-Choice NC. I have been working on developing more concise and compelling messaging for NARAL’s awareness and educational campaigns on reproductive health access and the harm of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). CPCs are organizations (typically non-profits) that pose as full-service reproductive health centers but only offer pregnancy tests, and sometimes an ultrasound and select STI testing, and exist to persuade women to not obtain abortions through manipulative language and tactics. Through my work, I’ve been fortunate enough to chat with many of NARAL’s stakeholders and equity partners about their views, experiences with, and thoughts regarding CPCs, the reproductive healthcare access – or lack thereof – in their communities, and what they think equitable reproductive healthcare access looks like. I’ve also been learning more about the policy and advocacy side of public health work, and I have taken to following Supreme Court decisions – it’s been quite a surprising month. I was definitely lucky that I was able to work remotely with NARAL with relative ease. While I wish I was able to work in their office and hang around my colleagues more often, I have been learning so much from our weekly staff meetings and conversations with my amazing preceptor.
To add some physical activity to my days, I’ve converted my porch into an outdoor gym, which has been made even more beautiful by my roommate’s newfound horticultural skills. I’ve also been able to continue teaching live group exercise classes twice a week on UNC Campus Recreation’s Facebook page. I sincerely miss being able to feel the energy from the super hard-working participants of my HIIT and Core classes, but I’ve been taking this time to gain more fitness and wellness knowledge to enhance my classes when I am able to teach in-person again.
This has been an anxiety-ridden and tense time for all of us, but undoubtedly, we are witnessing a necessary and overdue revolution. While my practicum experience looks a little different than I imagined when I first came to Gillings, I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity I do and to be able to play a tiny part in fighting for reproductive health and justice for all.
One of my favorite graphics showing the multi-faceted and intersectional nature of reproductive justice