The exhibit was a one-day only event on Nov. 1 lasting from 12 to 8 p.m. Photo by Jamie Browder
Montevallo’s chapter of Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE) invited students to reconsider previously held beliefs regarding abortions and those who receive them using a photo gallery on Nov. 1. The “artivism” display was put on in partnership with the 1 in 3 Campaign and appropriately titled “Our abortions. Our stories. Our lives.”
In the Farmer Hall meeting room, members of URGE hung cards with photos of people and their abortion stories from the ceiling. The room was dimmed and the pictures and narratives were lit by decorative strings of lights.
Each card featured a name with a photo of the person being showcased with a short narrative about their journey involving abortion, as well as the name of the photographer and why they decided to join the 1 in 3 movement.
“It’s trying to remove that really negative stigma that people just want to have abortions. It’s a really tough decision and it’s not something you want to go through,” said the creative director for URGE, Sierra Bobo, a 20-year-old environmental studies junior from Tuscaloosa. “Their stories are representing how it has positively affected their lives.”
Bobo also explained that it is a hard decision, and the vision of the 1 in 3 Campaign is to advertise the importance of having the right to make that choice. The movement also emphasizes providing tools to the community so they can have a platform to be heard.
Many of the pictures on display showed people of all different walks of life, with varying races, ages and genders represented.
“I am able to be visible and bring attention to the fact that people other than women have abortions. I want other trans people to be able to see themselves in the reproductive justice movement. I also feel like every time I tell my story I take a little bit of power back for myself,” said a card entitled “Cazembe” by Ose Arheghan.
“For decades I lived in a cruel kind of inner solitary confinement. I had two abortions in my teens that saved my life and my future, but I was frightened into silent isolation for decades by endless messages of shame in society,” one of the cards read that was entitled “Karen” by Robin Rayne.
URGE is a nonprofit group and UM’s chapter has been active for two years. The organization has hosted events in the past month to raise awareness about voting no on Amendment 2 and others revolving around the destigmatization of abortion such as an Abortion Positive Tour.
“We are very open, anybody can come talk to us. Anybody can find out what we are about. We are not trying to shove it in people’s faces, we are trying to destigmatize a medical procedure that is a tough decision that people have to make all of the time,” said co-president of URGE, Madison Friley, a 20-year-old communication studies junior from Talladega.
Next semester URGE is looking forward to trying to implement free placement of menstrual products in all of UM’s residence halls.
“Normal social justice issues can all fall under reproductive justice, and that’s something we always fight for. It’s not just abortion issues, and it’s not just birth control. It’s everything that can help somebody, that’s what we like to do,” said Friley.