Standing up for equality

Standing up for equality

Alyssa Ruiz, Staff Reporter

Donald Trump inspired me to be a feminist. It may sound absurd, but there are many parts of his personality that may give one the desire to make a difference. Trump’s treatment towards immigrants and people of color led me to wonder what I could possibly do to make a change in my community. After hearing what the current President thinks of my people (that we are all drug dealers and rapists), I wanted to do whatever I possibly could to prevent the members of my community from developing the same sense of close mindedness. Coming from a family of Mexican immigrants, the issue really hit home. I couldn’t imagine how my life would be if my grandparents had not migrated from Mexico to America. I wanted to make a change, so I joined the Feminist Leadership Academy.

The Feminist Leadership Academy, or FLA, is a program created by the organization ACT for Women and Girls. The main focus of the program is to get teens and young adults involved within their community and allow them to use their voice to spread awareness on issues, while also educating them on issues. I originally joined FLA because I wanted to spread awareness about the inequality that is constantly going on in America. Before joining the program, I knew very little about feminism and what it meant to be a feminist. All I knew about feminism was the negative idea of them that is often portrayed in the media — that they solely focus on hating men. I now understand that a feminist is someone who wants equality for everyone no matter their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. With the idea that feminists are “FemiNAZIs” out of my mind, I am now certain that I am a feminist.

FLA  was introduced to me by my friends in high school.  I was nervous to join the group because I didn’t know exactly what went on at the group’s meetings. I soon realized that the academy focused on social issues in our community and was excited. I was interested in learning about women’s issues, reproductive justice, and activism. After attending my first FLA meeting, I felt empowered and hopeful for the future because I finally had a voice. With the knowledge I’ve gained from FLA I have been able to educate my friends and family about topics we’ve discussed at our meetings, and what it truly means to be a feminist. I have attended political rallies with the organization and have spoken with other young individuals about social issues. I have also skills such as public speaking, leadership, and other communication skills. Through FLA, I’ve also made friendships that exist outside of the program.

The Feminist Leadership Academy meets outside of the COS Campus and is now open to anyone aged 16 to 24 who may consider themself a feminist. Group meetings take place every Wednesday at 5:30PM. FLA lasts about a semester long and members have the opportunity to re-join during the following semester. Those interested can visit the ACT for Women and Girls website for more information on how to join: