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Women’s activist Sandra Fluke talks millennials, politics

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Women's rights activist, Sandra Fluke, speaks in the Union Ballroom on March 9.

Women's rights activist, Sandra Fluke, speaks in the Union Ballroom on March 9.

Kristina Aiad-Toss

Kristina Aiad-Toss

Women's rights activist, Sandra Fluke, speaks in the Union Ballroom on March 9.

By Emily Salopeck, Writer

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Women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke devotes her time speaking about public interest advocacy for numerous social justice causes. Fluke spoke to UA students on March 9 in the Student Union Ballroom as a part of Women’s History Month.  

Fluke addressed how the millennial generation needs to find its voice.

“It’s not going to get any better without our generation demanding something different,” Fluke said.  

She started her speech by talking about how she found her voice.

Fluke grew up in a conservative family who always encouraged her to vote. Her family members were leaders in the community and they taught her to devote her life to what she believes in.  

During college, she devoted her time to issues in the community.  

Fluke is a Georgetown Law graduate. Her topic of having a voice stems from an issue that occurred in February of 2012 when Congressional Republicans denied her the right to testify before Congress on the need for women’s private insurance to cover contraception. Congress then chose to listen to an all-male panel about the issue.

Almost a month later, Fluke was granted the permission to testify before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

This case gained a lot of attention for Fluke and the issue. She went on to be a featured speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

“When they tried to take away my voice, that’s where I found my voice,” Fluke said.  

During her presentation at UA, Fluke spoke about how there really is a difference between the two political parties. “When one party is continually attacking women’s rights to comprehensive health care, that seems like a difference,” Fluke said.  

Fluke was asked to endorse candidates multiple times while in law school.  She felt that her voice didn’t mean anything if she didn’t believe it did herself. Fluke researched her candidates and said that one of the candidates was surprised to find she knew so much about them. Astounded, Fluke said she felt that the whole system was a sham.  

She realized that just using her energy on the issues wasn’t enough.  “A lot of millennials feel that way now,” Fluke said.  

Fluke was encouraged to run for office and decided to go for it. She got more involved and started working with more candidates.  

“What I want to ask all of you to do is find all your voices as well,” said at the end of her speech. “And not all of you are going to run for office, but I want to ask you to not give up on the political system.”

UA student Kelsey Watson had a few comments on Fluke’s speech.  

“She made a lot of important points. Young people get tired of the political system. You don’t need to have a law degree to get involved in politics,” Watson said.  

UA College Republicans expressed concern over their Facebook page shortly before Fluke spoke. “We are disappointed this evening to learn that through ZPN the University is sponsoring a speech by radical abortion activist, Sandra Fluke,” the message read. “She does not represent the best interests of women nor is she a positive role model for young women on Campus.”

Fluke is one of the co-founders of the New York Statewide Coalition for Fair Access to Family Court, which successfully lobbied legislation that allowed LGBTQ, teen, and other victims of intimate partner violence to access civil orders of protection. Her work has been honored by the American Federation of Teachers, American Constitution Society, Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, National Partnership for Women and Families, and more.

 

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