A new “pro-choice” organization called URGE has been established on Troy’s campus with the hopes of uniting like-minded individuals on the issues of reproductive health and women’s rights.
According to Khalia Kennedy, a sophomore studio arts major from Birmingham and the president of the chapter which is undergoing its registration process with the SGA, URGE (Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity) is a reproductive justice organization.
URGE defines reproductive justice as “when all people have the economic, social, and political power and resources to make health decisions about their body, sexuality and reproduction for themselves, their families and their communities, in all areas of their life.”
“It’s no secret that the ‘Cemetery of Innocent’ got a lot of people riled up,” Kennedy said, talking about a recently held campus event by a pro-life organization that displayed white crosses representing abortion numbers.
A lot of people noticed that there is a large pro-life presence on campus and almost no pro-choice presence, so when Kennedy informed fellow students about URGE, it kicked off from there.
Kennedy said URGE gives young people the tools to educate themselves and others and practice civic engagement to advocate for local, state and national policies geared toward reproductive justice.
According to Kennedy, there are currently about 25 members. One of the events URGE has planned is Advocacy Day where the members will go to the state capitol in Montgomery on April 9, along with students from all over the state, and talk to Alabama legislators about a bill that amends Alabama’s sex education code. Currently, the code doesn’t require medically accurate information to be taught, and it is extremely homophobic, according to Kennedy.
“I felt that I was alone in my belief of women having the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies,” said Lexi Locke, a freshman multimedia journalism major from Andalusia and the vice president of URGE.
She also wants to educate herself about the laws that affect women and their reproductive rights.
“I think Troy needs URGE on campus because it will show even more diversity within the university, which will also promote student engagement,” Locke said.
Ashlyn Diamond, a freshman anthropology major from Tallassee, said she joined URGE because she saw it as an opportunity to be around people with similar ideas. According to her, one of the activities being discussed is a campaign to get the university to provide menstrual products in all of the restrooms around campus.
URGE meets every Thursday at 6 p.m. in Patterson 201, and all students regardless of gender are welcome to attend.