Choice Out Loud All-Stars: Hailey Magee
The millennial generation (born between 1981 and 1999) is both the largest generation and the most pro-choice generation in American history. By 2020, 40% of eligible voters will be from the millennial generation. NARAL Pro-Choice America is committed to working with and learning from pro-choice millennials in order to organize in favor of reproductive freedom in a way that resonates with this important generation.
NARAL Pro-Choice America founded the Choice Out Loud - On Campus program in the Fall of 2012 as part of our strategy to engage this key generation in the fight to protect and expand reproductive rights.
Our campus representatives have done amazing work to engage the community around the issue of reproductive rights. We asked our graduating class of activists from this academic year to tell us why they decided to because a campus representative, what they accomplished, and what they've learned. This post is the first in a series.
Meet Hailey Magee, a campus representative at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
1. What was your major?
I am a Women's and Gender Studies and Politics double major, with a minor in Social Justice and Social Policy.
2. Why is choice important to you?
Choice is important to me because I believe bodily autonomy is the most basic form of human freedom. The idea that any person or society could legally inhibit me from exercising my right over my own body is horrifying to me.
3. How did you get involved in the pro-choice movement? Do you intend to stay involved after you graduate?
I got involved in the pro-choice movement as a natural extension of my feminist activism. Before college I hadn't understood the gravity or salience of the reproductive rights debate. When I became president of my campus Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, I began to explore the diverse avenues through which I could create a more just society. My sophomore year, I lobbied a bill for comprehensive sex education (An Act Relative to Healthy Youth) in the Massachusetts State House, and from then on, I was hooked on reproductive justice. I spent the following summer interning for NARAL Pro-Choice New York, and have been interning for NARAL in some capacity ever since. I will spend my summer as NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Intern and Campaigns Coordinator, and would love to work for NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts - or a different state affiliate - upon graduating college. This work is my lifeblood; I have never been more passionate about a cause.
4. What was your favorite event that you planned as a Campus Representative?
My favorite event that I assisted in planning was our Roe at Risk Mixer. Brandeis University Students for NARAL co-sponsored the screening with the Brandeis Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (a student organization) and the Women's Studies Research Center (an organization of predominantly elderly feminist resident scholars at Brandeis). The screening, followed by small group discussions that addressed the inter-generational differences in reproductive justice advocacy, brought many diverse and engaging perspectives to the table.
5. What is/are the greatest skill or skills that you've learned from being a Campus Representative?
As a Campus and Community Organizer, I have learned how to build a network of faculty and staff allies that can help me achieve my campaign goals as a student. I have learned how to identify, contact, and build relationships with point people on my campus - administrators and staff I particular - that can use their networks, resources, and clout to help me to foster the pro-choice atmosphere the Brandeis University students demand.
6. What is your earliest memory of interacting with NARAL Pro-Choice America?
My first official contact with NARAL Pro-Choice America occurred through a Campus Organizer conference call in October. Led by Travis Ballie, the call was engaging, inspiring, and allowed the organizers to share their progress in establish their campus coalitions with one another. Travis was an excellent facilitator, and when I came to study "abroad" in Washington, D.C. this semester, he went out of his way to let me know about NARAL events and volunteer opportunities.
7. Out of all the different ways to engage with this issue, why did you choose to engage with NARAL Pro-Choice America?
Though many organizations fight for reproductive justice in some capacity, NARAL has been my favorite by far - and that's completely due to the characters that compose NARAL's staff. NARAL employees are witty, animated, intimidatingly intelligent, and passionate. In my experiences at NARAL Pro-Choice New York, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, and now NARAL Pro-Choice America, I have consistently been floored by the warmth and acceptance with which I've been treated. The enthusiasm of NARAL staff is contagious; it is that energy and passion that attracts me to the organization.
8. What are your future plans?
I will spend my summer as NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts' Intern and Campaigns Coordinator. I plan on continuing to intern with NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts throughout my senior year at Brandeis, and upon graduating, hope to continue working in a reproductive justice organization. When I become more familiar with the issues and the ins-and-outs of policy, I would like to become a lobbyist or policy director. In the distant future (or maybe not so distant!) I plan to run for state legislature and fight for social justice directly as an elected official.