This week, Turning Points USA (TPUSA) brought over 400 conservative activists to Dallas, Texas for the 2nd annual Young Women’s Leadership Summit. The summit hosts high school and college students from 42 states, training conservatives to identify, empower, and organize for free markets and limited government.
TPUSA has been one of the leading organizations for conservative activists. They have a strong social media presence and do extraordinary outreach to students. It’s hard to be a conservative on twitter without seeing fellow ladies of liberty using the hashtag #YWLS and #YWLS2016. Thousands of tweets have been sent out using these hashtags, mostly young women excited to be immersed in conservative ideas. But one liberal professor, Josh Gellers, from the University of North Florida, joined the conversation as well:
As conservatives, we are constantly defying stereotypes thrust upon us by the left. Geller’s assumption that the Young Women’s Leadership Summit is a safe space for white women couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only does the conservative movement attract activists from all different ethnicities, it also encompasses those from all socio-economic backgrounds.
And the notion that conservative women are trying to restrict their own rights is the farthest thing from the truth, conservative women are helping Americans to fully understand their rights and to not let them be infringed upon.
Marlena Haddad defies liberal stereotypes. She goes to the shooting range, loves her country, and is passionate about economic freedom and limited government. She doesn’t buy into the lefts narrative that conservatives don’t care about minorities. She knows that, “economic growth benefits everyone, especially in minority communities.”
A first generation Lebanese-American, she originally worked for Democrat in her state. But working for a Democrat only helped her to discover her conservative roots. “I wanted to see what I believe”
Haddad doesn’t allow the left to dictate what she thinks. “I think conservatives are the ones who are helping minorities,” she said. “We’re not limiting them and trying to spoon feed them, we want to help minorities prosper. ”
Ashley Tiburcio, 20 from Arizona State University, laughed when I asked her what she thought of Professor Gellers’ tweet. “It makes me laugh sometimes,” she said. “I come out and tell people that I am a conservative woman and they think it’s funny because I’m Latin. But here’s the thing–I was born in America. Conservatism shows my political, as well as religious, views. We are Americans. That means you can be any religion or any color. Everyone can have their own different views, it doesn’t matter what color they are.”
Tiburcio is passionate about economics and thinks that hard working people don’t deserve to be taxed more. She is inspired by her family’s history of hard work and really living and achieving the American dream. Her parents tirelessly worked three jobs to support her family and to buy a house. “I believe in those hard working roots.”
Ashley is, in her own words, “a complete Trump supporter.” Illegal immigration has had a big effect on her small town in Arizona, shutting down hospitals in nearby towns due to illegal immigrants crossing the border for hospital use and the hospitals then going bankrupt. Those who need medical treatment are now forced to travel to her town for treatment from a hospital. You can see the passion in her big brown eyes when she talks about immigration: “Come here legally– live that american dream. If my family can do it, any family can do it!”
Daniella Royer, an 18 year old student from Tulsa, Oklahoma, grew up in the country of Turkey for 10 years. “I’m a conservative because I’ve seen the impact of conservative principles on America and I’ve lived in countries where freedom of expression and a capitalistic economy is stifled.” Royer’s mother is originally from South Korea and has been her biggest inspiration. “My mom had to work for everything she has. Seeing that echoed in conservatism really inspires me.” She is a strong believer in the power of the individual.
In response to Gellers’ tweet, Royersaid that this isn’t the first time she has been perceived as a Democrat because she is an Asian American. But Royer has found an amicable way to combat that. She has found that once she shares her ideas and her story people, tempers calm down and people become more empathetic. “It’s hard to combat that stereotype,” she said.
Royer came to this conference to learn the power of local activism, which she can then relate to minority activism. “True progress needs to come from the people not imposed upon them,” she said. “Change won’t happen unless we want it, we need incentives! How do you create the best incentive? The conservative movement has the best answer to that.”
Professor Gellers’ tweet couldn’t be further from the truth. Women of all ethnic backgrounds attend the Young Women’s Leadership Conference and came for all different reasons. Many of those reasons revolve around helping other minorities prosper through economic freedom, educating fellow Americans about their rights, and finding their voice among the sea of female liberals on college campuses. Conservative females, no matter the race, are the future of America.