University of Washington students stand up to anti-choice Turning Point USA
Seattle, WA – On Friday, April 7, members of the Progressive Student Union and others rallied to protest an event held by Turning Point USA that featured Autumn Higashi, a transphobic, anti-abortion speaker. The protest, led by PSU, disrupted the event by maintaining chants throughout its duration.
Turning Point USA started their event late, as the protest had already begun before their group fully arrived. Autumn Higashi represents Students for Life and has published repeated statements attacking reproductive rights and transgender people. Once the event started, chants could be heard from the inside. Members of Seattle Greenwave, a reproductive rights group at UW, disturbed the event inside as well.
Alisha Foster, with United Students Against Sweatshops, spoke at the protest and tied Autumn Higashi’s presence to the nationwide reactionary attack on reproductive rights. They noted that these are efforts to make “people’s personal lives more open to state-sanctioned attacks.” Clio Jensen from FRSO added, “Autumn has made it her life’s work to take away women’s and reproductive rights that we have fought so hard to protect. We stand in solidarity with students at the University of Washington in saying Autumn is not welcome in this community!”
After these speeches, chants continued. Some included “Transphobes off campus!” and “From Seattle to Spokane, reproductive rights are here to stay!”
Many students joined in the protest throughout the evening. Those passing by also showed support. Mathieu Chabaud, from PSU, emphasized that the protest was being held “to show the campus and community that anti-abortion and anti-trans speech is not welcome on campus.”
The protest and chants continued for over two hours until Turning Point USA finished their speeches. Upon exiting, that group quickly left. They were faced with a larger crowd than when they had entered, which was still energized.