Emma Johnson, '16

Year: 2016          

Hometown: Park City, UT

Major: Chemistry and Math

*Emma Johnson on the right

What are you involved in on campus?

I am the Public Relations Chair for VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood at Tulane and a board member of Students United for Reproductive Freedom (SURF).


What sparked your interest in this cause?

I have always been interested in women’s reproductive justice and women’s health care, and being from a very conservative state I have been aware of the political scene surrounding the issue. VOX seemed like a great way to get involved, and I have been able to use some of my graphic design experience to really promote VOX’s mission.     


Can you give us a brief overview of the cause?

VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood is a group that has been on Tulane’s campus for about five years now, with the major goal of sexual health education promoting awareness of Planned Parenthood’s role in providing health care for men and women in the New Orleans area. SURF is a new organization that is not officially recognized by the university, but was formed by students and a coalition of activist groups in the area in opposition to recently proposed Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) regulations that could shut down all of Louisiana’s abortion clinics. Planned Parenthood is a bipartisan group and does not typically work in reproductive justice issues, so when the regulations were proposed, a new student group was necessary to mobilize students for political change in Louisiana. I participated in the start-up of SURF and attended a rally in Baton Rouge to protest the DHH regulations.


What would you say the main goal of Students United for Reproductive Freedom (SURF) is?

SURF is all about political change in LA with regards to abortion rights and women’s healthcare. We are working with NOAF (New Orleans Abortion Fund) and LSRJ (Law Students for Reproductive Justice) as well as MFSC (Medical Students for Choice) and Know More LA, a grassroots media campaign for sex ed in LA. The legislative session convened on Monday, March 10, and there has already been a bill introduced that has similar restrictions on abortion clinics that Texas faced last summer. With Gov. Jindal in support of these regulations, it is SURF’s mission to inform and mobilize students to get involved, writing letters to legislators and rallying to protect women’s health rights in LA.


Besides SURF what else do you do (or would like to do) for the cause?

EJ:  I have mostly focused my energy into both SURF and VOX, but I have plans to do political activism work between college and veterinary school, either in the New Orleans area or with a larger non-profit like NARAL in D.C.


If you could spend the day with any woman (who you consider a celebrity/role model) who would it be? And what would you want to do with her?

Gloria Steinem! I have read a few of her books, and I would love to get coffee and just chat.


If you could be a Disney princess who would you be?As a feminist, it’s hard to aspire to be a princess who awaits for her knight and shining armor to rescue her from her tower… so I suppose I would want to be Tiana from the Princess and the Frog. She is a motivated, inspiring, and successful entrepreneur.


If you were standing in front of a room full of Tulane female students, what is one thing you would want to say to them?

Whatever you believe in, fight for it. There aren’t enough women leaders in this world and our generation has the power to change that.

Check out the SURF site (created by Emma) for more information about the cause and for ways to get involved: http://www.rjla.org