Calla McDonald Hales
Company: A Preferred Women’s Health Center
Position: Executive Director
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Durham, North Carolina
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN CHARLOTTE AREA?
3 ½ years (moved here full-time in January 2016)
TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU?
I’m a North Carolina native who is incredibly invested in our community. My current work focuses on ensuring abortion access in the Southeast for those in need, though my passions include more than abortion care. I’m a huge supporter of the reproductive justice framework, and my activism extends into LGBTQIA rights and sex-positive education. When I’m not throwing myself into community projects, I can usually be found at home with my fiancé, our two cats, and ‘Bob’s Burgers’ reruns.
DURING YOUR TIME VOLUNTEERING FOR A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY OR PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?
Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to speak at Charlotte Pride’s Stonewall Rally. After I spoke, I was approached by a teenager who identified as non-binary, and they told me how much it meant to them to hear someone explicitly say that trans and nonbinary folks were valid and valued. They gave me a hug, and as soon as I made it to my car, I burst into tears. I will absolutely never forget that moment.
IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY? PLEASE BE AS DETAILED AS YOU CAN.
Moving to Charlotte has been one of the greatest decisions of my life. This community is so incredibly diverse, and that diversity has allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. I’m very active in local reproductive health activism and outreach, both as a board member of Charlotte for Choice and as the executive director of A Preferred Women’s Health Center. My experiences on Latrobe Drive have driven me to become a very vocal resource about the realities of clinic violence, and how Charlotte has become the epicenter for antichoice protesting. I’ve advocated for over three years for safety measures to protect patients at any reproductive health clinic from the harassment and intimidation of antichoice protesters, which recently culminated in a new sound ordinance. In June, I stepped down from my three-year tenure as a board member for NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina to focus on Charlotte-specific organizing. I was a founding organizer of the Women’s March on Charlotte and remained on the organizing committee through 2019. I was an active member of the NoRNC2020 campaign. Additionally, I have been an ardent supporter of Charlotte Pride, Carolina Abortion Fund, Time Out Youth, and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
PLEASE LET US KNOW ANY A WARDS OR RECOGNITIONS YOU’VE RECEIVED IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER:
Creative Loafing Best of Charlotte 2017– “Best Leadership in the Face of Adversity”
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTEREST?
I love aerial silks, reading, and watching hockey (go Checkers!).
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE THAT YOU STAND BY?
It’s an excerpt of the Nikita Gill poem, “An Ode to Fearless Women”: “And when they dare to tell you about all the things you cannot be, you smile and tell them, ‘I am both war and woman, and you can’t stop me.’”
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS? 10 YEARS?
I’m so committed to my job. I truly cannot see myself leaving Charlotte or doing anything other than fighting for abortion access and reproductive rights in the next ten years. Hopefully I’ll be more involved in other community organizing efforts, and if I’m lucky, maybe teaching a course or two at one of the local colleges.
CAN YOUR SHARE ONE THING THAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
Teach a college course!
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU USED YOUR PASSPORT?
Going to Cabo San Lucas for a much-needed vacation in 2017.
WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS?
I constantly forget how many tattoos I have. The answer is 17, and I had to physically count them to write this.
WHO IS YOUR HERO?
I don’t know if I have a hero per se, but I’m incredibly inspired by Megan Rapinoe.
WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?
WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?
Weird Al at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheater