Advancing Reproductive Justice through Art

Advancing Reproductive Justice through Art

By Mali Weitzman

This fall, I worked as a creative intern for Creative Community League, a New Orleans nonprofit focused on utilizing cultural strategies for movement building, supporting artists, storytelling, and other forms of community involvement aimed at moving reproductive and sexual awareness into creative spaces. I worked directly under Creative Community League’s founder, Amy Irvin, to direct all social media channels, grow engagement, and communicate across identities. As the creative intern, my main goal was to advance reproductive justice through an artistic lens utilizing social media.

When applying for the internship program, I was drawn to Creative Community League because I wanted something that merged reproductive justice and creativity. With a background in social media for nonprofits, this was my first time applying these skills to a social justice issue. During the internship, one of my research projects focused on raising awareness about crisis pregnancy centers in Louisiana. While sometimes a reliable source for diapers or baby formula, they are intent on manipulating women away from abortion and contraception. When thinking about what topics to cover on our social media, I first dug into the analytics. A majority of our viewers on Facebook and Instagram are local to New Orleans. I chose to focus on content that directly affects them. In Louisiana, half of the state’s parishes are maternal care deserts, and after the fall of Roe v. Wade, access to comprehensive reproductive health care is more important than ever. This led me to research crisis pregnancy centers, which even receive welfare grants from the state through Louisiana’s Alternatives to Abortion Initiative. This funding has been steady before and after Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. One report by Lift Louisiana from 2022 found that the state has handed over 11 million in grants to crisis pregnancy centers since 2011. Since Louisiana’s strict abortion ban took effect, the funding for crisis pregnancy centers has only increased. A new law introduced this summer allows individuals and corporations to claim an income tax break for donations made to “maternal wellness centers.”

As this fall was an election season, I also focused on educating our community about the importance of voting as well as the possible effects of this election on reproductive rights. Because Creative Community League is a registered 501c3 organization, we cannot endorse candidates. Instead, I focused on our Get Out The Vote campaign, where we posted our Geaux Vote series on voting information, sold GOTV tote bags and postcards, and tabled at local film festivals and art markets.

Overall, Creative Community League immersed me in the world of art activism and helped me to achieve one of my main goals, to engage with reproductive justice spaces off campus. A highlight for me was attending the Planned Parenthood CouRAGEous event, where I was able to hear from local leaders and connect with like-minded activists. I am so grateful to Amy, Clare, Grace, and others for supporting me in this experience!