For the last three months Julia Hall, a University of Rhode Island Junior majoring in Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies has been interning with The Woman Project. We asked her to tell us about herself and her experience working with The Woman Project.
1. Why did you want to do an internship with The Woman Project?
I have always had an interest in women’s rights and human rights. After Trump got elected, I became determined to become more of an activist in any way I can. At the beginning of last semester, in one of my gender and women’s studies classes at URI, I learned that Rhode Island received a grade of a F from NARAL on choice-related laws. I had no idea about this prior, so I decided to dedicate that semester to researching reproductive rights both in Rhode Island and nationally. During this time, I also began looking for ways that I could volunteer in the community and that’s when I found The Woman Project. Since I am also really into art, I loved how The Woman Project incorporates art and creativity into their activism. The Woman Project seemed like a perfect fit for me to explore advocating for issues like reproductive justice.
2. What tasks and projects did you work on with The Woman Project? What did you most enjoy doing?
During my time interning with The Woman Project, I had a bunch of different tasks and projects. For example, I helped to organize The Woman Project’s calendar page on their website. Every week, I researched events in our community with affiliated organizations and added them to the page. In hopes to educate the community, I wrote a letter to the good 5 cent cigar at URI in which I explained the current state of reproductive justice in Rhode Island and what the Reproductive Health Care Act was. Every Sunday, I attended “Dinner & Dials” where I phone banked for three hours about different subjects every week. Before my internship, I had never done a phone bank before. This was especially a great experience for me because I got to talk to a lot of individuals and educate them on what is happening in our state.
3. You passed out flyers on URI and asked students to sign quilt squares of support for the Reproductive Health Care Act. What was the response like? Did you learn anything interesting from the students that signed the squares?
The response was awesome! We ended getting a bunch of signatures. It was incredible to see how interested both the students and faculty at URI were in what we were doing. Many people we talked to had no idea what the Reproductive Health Care Act was, and it was great to be able to spread the word and teach others about it. When certain individuals became aware of the issue, they were interested in learning more about The Woman Project and some even showed interest in attending meetings or events. One woman who was particularly interested in The Woman Project had told me that she had voted for Trump. Two young men had also mentioned they were part of the URI Republicans club on campus, but supported what we were doing and decided to sign quilt squares anyway. I think that this taught me that support for this cause can come from any party and is not limited to voting with democrat party affiliation.
4. Now that your internship is coming to a close do you still plan to be active with The Woman Project?
I would love to stay involved with The Woman Project! I plan to still attend phone banks and other events, or help out in any way I can. I would love to continue to be able to watch The Woman Project grow as an organization and have spoken about trying to help getting them a bigger presence on the URI campus. For next semester, I definitely want to work on getting phone banks to URI and holding more flyering events where people can learn more about the organization.
5. Last, how has your work with The Woman Project helped you prepare for life after graduation? Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself having the same passion for advocating for the issues that The Woman Project stands for. While I see myself always being involved in reproductive health, I am also passionate about the environment and having a healthy planet to live on and would like to advocate for that as well. The Woman Project has helped me prepare for this and life after graduation by giving me experience of what it’s like to work in these settings. Previously, I had taken a lot of classes in which I was taught all about these issues, but now I actually got the opportunity to put these things into practice and become an activist. I have seen and experienced how important it is to educate others in your community, whether it’s through phone banks, flyering or just having everyday conversations with people. I learned about what it is like to organize events and how much goes into the planning. I’ve also made some valuable connections along the way. The internship overall solidified and reaffirmed that this is where my passion lies and only has made me more eager to help make a difference in protecting both human and women’s rights everywhere.