Last week, thousands of young Americans attended the Campus Progress National Conference in Washington, DC; some representing progressive organizations and others attending out of pure curiosity. The conference included big name speakers Bill Clinton, Director of White House National Economic Counsel Gene Sperling and Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman.
This conference, organized by Campus Progress, included a few smaller panel discussions on a range of progressive issues, from clean energy to LGBTQ equality to immigration.
A panel on reproductive rights entitled, “Fighting for Reproductive Freedom in a Conservative Congress” drew in a sizeable group of young people concerned about the current “war on women” in theUS.
One well-spoken attendee stood up to proclaim her frustration about the great need for more women in political office; more women who understand the need for continued access to reproductive services and have the political power to do something about it.
Cecile Richards appealed to the young crowd, citing the influence that social media had on the eventual Senate rejection of the federal attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. She also emphasized the hypocrisy of anti-choice politicians who advocate for TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws while pushing for abstinence-only-before-marriage programs. She summed up the current war on women as “an all out assault.”
Jos Truitt gave her perspective on reproductive issues from the position of an organizer and online activist and Congresswoman Moore touched the audience with her personal story of an unplanned pregnancy when she was 18-years-old. Across the crowd the message was clear: women are under attack and we must continue to stand up and defend the rights that anti-choice politicians are threatening so aggressively.
Former President Bill Clinton left the ears of the young audience ringing with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr: “The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice.” The social justice we advocate for is only attainable through tireless activism.