Campus News

#ProtectBlackWomen: Three Dillard students earn training in reproductive justice advocacy

Dillard University students Amaya Ronczyk ‘22, Kalaya Sibley ‘23 and Khaelyn Jackson ‘22

(l. to r.) Amaya Ronczyk ‘22, Kalaya Sibley ‘23 and Khaelyn Jackson ‘22. Photo: Sabree Hill/Dillard University.

   By Lauren R.D. Fox, lfox@dillard.edu
 October 6, 2020

The Next Generation Leadership Institute has chosen Khaelyn Jackson ‘22, Amaya Ronczyk ‘22 and Kalaya Sibley ‘23 as recipients for its two-year advocacy fellowship. The fellowship trains Black women enrolled in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to become reproductive justice leaders in their campus community. According to its website, “the Next Generation Leadership Institute trains young people in Reproductive Justice, advocacy, leadership skill building, strategic communications, effective organizing, and the public policy process.” This fellowship is extremely timely, given the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was an advocate and ally for women’s reproductive rights. To learn more about the fellowship and its importance, Amaya Roncyzk interviewed with the Office of Communications and Marketing about the barriers Black women face in accessing proper reproductive healthcare. 

 

Dillard University (DU):  Why was it important for you to become a recipient of the In Our Own Voice fellowship? 

Amaya Roncyzk (AR):  Becoming a recipient of this fellowship was very special and important to me because I see myself in the ladies we are meant to be. Topics like sexual health and awareness, reproductive rights, and sexual assault can be very difficult to understand - especially when some of those issues can be seen as a taboo. As a Black woman in college, I think it's important that I take what I learn in this process and give it to someone else. 

 

DU:  What do you think disconnects Black women from becoming activists for reproductive rights and health? 

AR:  There are so many obstacles that get in the way of us advocating for our reproductive rights and health. One of those many obstacles is a lack of understanding. We might know that we face certain inequalities that prevent us from accessing our basic human rights, but do we understand the reasons? Do we understand the consequences of certain policies? Do we understand the gravity of missing certain elections? Not always, and this isn't always our fault. That's why I'm excited to work with Kalaya and Khaelyn to break down these issues and present them in a way that's both thorough and digestible. If we can do that, we can usher in the next group of activists. 

 

DU:  How do you plan to build awareness about these policies and issues on campus? 

AR:  Kalaya, Khaelyn and I are very eager to develop something creative, interactive, and informative for the women on campus to be a part of. Whether we decide to create a forum, hold Zoom conferences, or (socially-distanced) events, I know our focus will be on connecting to our peers in a way that is fresh and exciting. We've got a lot of work to do!

 

DU:  How will you use your experience in your career after your graduate from Dillard? 

AR:  After Dillard, I will be an attorney and potentially become involved in policy making. I'm hopeful that this fellowship helps me to become more solutions-oriented, while also developing my research and critical thinking skills. Not only do I think this experience will provide me with those fundamental skills, but I also believe it will prepare me to be a servant for my community. 

To learn more about the work Next Generation Leadership Institute is doing with its fellowship recipients, watch their Facebook Live featuring Dillard student Khaelyn Jackson


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