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Bellingham
Thursday, October 29, 2020

New name, same passion

Starting next year VOX will follow other club chapters across the country, by changing its name, along with its goals, regarding reproductive justice.

Club Coordinator Olivia Hill said next year the club is planning on changing its name to Planned Parenthood Generation. It would also adjust its goals to include more solidarity work, which Hill said would involve more cooperation with other groups on campus to help promote their causes.

“We are a reproductive justice club. In order to really fulfill that title, we have to address all aspects of reproductive justice,” Hill said.

Even though she is graduating and stepping down from her role with VOX, Hill said she is excited about the changes they are planning.

The coordinator of the club next year will be junior Ali Brenes.

“This club has really helped me feel more empowered,” Brenes said. “I’m excited to get back with everyone in the fall and hopefully bring in new members who want to get involved, take a stand and have their voices heard.”

Next year, she wants the group to get involved with issues like workers rights and work together with groups like Black Lives Matter Bellingham. She said sex positivity is something the club really focuses on promoting.

“We feel that when we give people a sex-positive education, that helps them get more comfortable asking questions about their health,” Brenes said.

VOX coordinator Olivia Hill with three other VOX members tabling at weekly Safe Sex Friday. // Photo courtesy of Hannah Wong

Hill said there are only a few VOX chapters left and that most of them have already changed their name. She said Western’s chapter of VOX has a core group of about 15 people but its total number fluctuates.

Hill said she hopes, through their efforts, to promote intersectional feminism to expand its promotion of everyone in the community.

“Intersectional feminism is fighting for women’s rights in the same way that feminism does, but intersectionality examines the way that race, gender, class and all those different aspects of a person’s identity intersect,” Brenes said. “We are hoping to be more aware of how those aspects of a person’s identity can affect their access to reproductive health.”

The group plans on having a presence at more events in the community next year.

“[We want] to really show rather than tell, what we stand for is intersectional and reproductive justice, not just reproductive rights,” Hill said.

This year, there weren’t very many returning members to the club, so it was a growing year, Hill said.

“Having to rebuild that base was, at times, a little challenging, but I think that there is a great group of folks now,” Hill said. “I’m really excited to see what they do in the future.”

Brenes said she hopes the name change will help the club gain more recognition in regard to their affiliation with Planned Parenthood.

For students wanting to get involved with the soon-to-be Planned Parenthood Generation, weekly meetings are open to anyone who is interested, Hill said.

Hill said the group will be in Red Square on Friday, May 26, with a table set up for Safe Sex Friday and welcomes anyone with questions.

VOX hosts Safe Sex Friday, a weekly event, to promote sexual awareness, reproductive rights and hand out free condoms.

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