The Be Bold Campaign for All* Above All visited the University last Thursday on its national tour, which is part of an effort to garner support to overturn the Hyde Amendment, a piece of legislation which prevents women from receiving Medicaid coverage for abortion. Wesleyan was the only college campus to host the campaign, which consisted of an information station, petition, and rally.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of the third district of Connecticut was one of the main speakers at the rally. She discussed the importance of the Be Bold Road Trip in spreading awareness about legislation on abortion coverage.
“We need to change the face of the House of Representatives,” DeLauro said. “We need to have people who don’t see the value of the Hyde Amendment. The people need to organize and they need to get out the vote, and that’s going to be critical, and I think [the Be Bold Road Trip] will make an impact on people all over the country in order to do that.”
Destiny Lopez, the campaign’s deputy director, explained the rationale behind the nationwide tour. By the time the tour reaches Washington, D.C. on Friday, Sept. 12, it will have covered 10 thousand miles and reached 12 states.
“Part of our strategy is bringing this to the attention of members of Congress,” Lopez said. “While Congresswoman DeLauro is a huge champion for this issue, we want her to be even more out there. So we wanted to go to places where, one, we knew we would have a base of support, but two, where we could bring our congresspeople out to really see that base of support and to help them be more vocal when they get back to Washington, D.C., to really fight with us on this issue.”
More of the cause’s supporters spoke at the lunchtime rally, which drew about 30 students in support. Other staffers at the event gathered student signatures, email addresses, and phone numbers on its petition.
Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health Jessica González-Rojas noted how excited she was to hear from Camille Casareno ’15, a clinic escort who helped coordinate the Be Bold campaign’s visit to Wesleyan.
“I was really inspired to hear from our Clinic Escort Activist because she’s doing the work that’s so important in the community that her voice and her experiences that are really going to change the future of this, so we need to engage more student activists in this work,” González-Rojas said.
Casareno was in turn impressed with the preparedness of the campaign and said she was happy with the rally’s turnout.
“The planning was a little delayed and pushed around, since the administration was busy planning frosh orientation at the same time,” Casareno wrote in an email to The Argus. “However, the Be Bold road trip was self-sufficient—they had their own volunteers, promotional gifts, and even arranged for the speakers to come.”
Recognizing the diverse and open nature of the campus, Lopez hopes that the students’ energy and potential will motivate change.
“We’re hoping that by seeing [college campuses like the University] participating in the campaign, students around the country will want to get involved,” Lopez said. “We know that this issue really impacts immigrant folks, low-income folks, and young people the most because they’re the most likely to be uninsured and might rely on the government for health care.”
Congresswoman DeLauro also complimented the activism of the student body.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful school with students who are so capable, so competent,” DeLauro said. “It has a reputation for students being engaged and involved with the community, but also with important issues and what’s happening in our country today. And this is clearly a very, very important issue.”
Students who were drawn in by the event can remain involved in the Be Bold Campaign in a variety of ways.
“The campaign is really bold and youthful, and we want to share that people can still stay connected through social media, through Twitter, through Facebook,” Gonzalez-Rojas said. “There’s a petition that we want everyone to sign and then there will be calls to action continually from those lists and from the outreach… We know not everyone could take a trip to D.C. or take time out of work or a class schedule, so the virtual voice is important.”
Additional reporting contributed by Sofi Goode ’17.