WHOA inspires female students

Alissa Martinez, Features Editor

New clubs are being introduced to Fuquay this school year. One of the most influential and impactful clubs has been the Women’s Health Outreach Advocates (WHOA). This club creates safe environments for women here at school and throughout the community. Although this is a new development, they are already making a difference and being seen for their impact. 

The founder and president of this club are senior Azaria Ray, who has made this concept a reality for all to enjoy. She had always wanted to give back to her community and the events going on in the summer of 2022, it drove her to make a difference.

“I was out one day with a couple of my friends and my mom called me and said that Roe v. Wade got overturned. I felt like we were going back in time,” said Ray. 

The ruling overturned the 1973 national law that protected the right for women to have abortions. It now gives the states the responsibility for making laws regarding abortion. Not only does it not protect abortions to women in certain states, but some women cannot leave out of state to have one performed in a place where it is legal.  

The Center for Reproductive Rights published an article titled, “After Roe Fell: Abortion Laws by State” stating, “Interstate shield laws protect abortion providers and helpers in states where abortion is protected and accessible from civil and criminal consequences stemming from abortion care provided to an out-of-state resident.” 

“There are always instances where I feel so hopeless about anything that I do, especially around 2020 with the Black Lives Matter protests going on,” said Ray. “I felt like I couldn’t do anything and I was so sick feeling like I couldn’t do anything towards my community to better everything.” 

Over the summer, she reached out to peers on social media to test the waters.

 “The next morning I posted on my Instagram saying ‘Hey, I was thinking of making a women’s rights club at school. How many of you guys would be interested in joining that?’ The number of people that responded to it was so overwhelming,” she said. “It was just something that I was thinking of, and so many people were interested in it. I needed something permanent, something I could get multiple people involved with. So I started a club.” Ray was blown away by the amount of support that she received early on. She took the plan from paper to reality, and she and other students were able to make it come to life.

“There was so much going on that it didn’t feel like it was going to start happening until we had our first meeting,” she said. “It made me feel really nice that I started a community in the school, and I feel like it’s bringing other clubs together.”

One of the club’s biggest impacts in our school was introducing our pad drive, which allows students to donate individually wrapped menstrual items through the month of October. They can be brought to the front office and are going straight back to people at our school, allowing you to give back to peers in need of important resources.  These items will be in easy access to students and are being placed in bathrooms across the school. 

“A girl named Finley reached out to me and said that she was from Harnett Central and that her school did a pad drive. She wanted me to continue that to Fuquay and that the best way to do it would be through our club,” she said. Although the pad drive is set to end on Oct. 31, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop donating these items. 

“The reason why we put an end date on it was to see how many people would bring any. I love the idea of being able to keep it throughout the entire year because it’s something that is needed,” said Ray. “Anyone can bring pads and pantyliners of different sizes and of any brand. No tampons and no menstrual cups.”

“I think it will help students now through raising awareness for women’s health issues throughout the student body,” said senior Ryann Stemme. I think in the future this club will normalize talking about these serious topics around the school and eventually, even around town or neighboring areas.”

Recent studies show that 1 in 4 women are struggling to afford items to help them through menstruation. With the 28-day cycle always being in full effect and an average period lasting from 5-7 days, it can leave women and young girls lacking an important essential item in their life. With the idea being so important, it has inspired students in other areas to join in.

 “People from other schools like Holly Springs and Cleveland want to start clubs just like ours. I just think it’s really interesting,” said Ray. 

If this club sounds interesting to you, remember to check their Instagram page or listen to the announcement to see when their next meeting is. They are always welcoming new members and new faces. Keep an eye on their upcoming events, like the walk-a-thon coming soon for breast cancer awareness. This will be a volunteer opportunity for students, and more details will come out soon.