I absolutely loved sharing my story with San Jose University students... and helping them see how they too can bring activism to their campus and beyond!
by Payje Redmond
Erin Schrode, a 2016 congressional candidate and social activist, spoke to students on Tuesday evening at the Student Union.
Schrode partnered with Noe Shemer, member of the Jewish organization Hillel of Silicon Valley to discuss activism among millennials on campus.
“Erin is someone who is super relatable to the people on campus,” said Maya Jacobson, member of Hillel of Silicon Valley. “She's closer in age and we think she shares a lot of same politics to most of the students.”
Schrode was a congressional candidate for California's District 2. Although she did not win, the 25-year-old casted over 20,000 votes.
The three main topics she ran on during her campaign included paid-leave, equal pay and access to reproductive health. Her platform continues to focus on environmental education and human rights.
“You should be able to explain it to a 10 year old,” Schrode said.
Since 2002, Schrode has been a social activist in her community of Marin County. She started a grassroots movements toward educating the public about toxins in self-care products which contributed to raising funds towards breast cancer support in her city.
At 13, she co-founded her non-profit organization called Project Green.
“We pulled together diverse stakeholders that grew organically,” Schrode said.
Anthony Prickett, english senior, asked how to encourage millennials to get involved in social activism.
“I think [her message] really pushed me to think about what I can do in the community,” Prickett said. “That’s both practical and engaged in my passions.”
Much of Schrode’s campaign was tied into social media as a way to connect with millennials. However, she does express the importance of having a concise message.
Capillo and Prickette both mention Schrode’s message about apathy and how it inspired them. Schrode quotes political activist Elie Wiesel saying that, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
Schrode admits to growing up with “white-privilege,” but said she combatted that with social activism.
Among her many experiences includes traveling to Haiti after Hurricane Katrina. She said she was deterred by many people to go at the age of 18, but was self-sufficient and found a way to provide assistance while not being a burden.
In Haiti, Schrode brought some of her own food supply and created medical records to assist medical professionals.
“You don’t have to solve all [problems], but you have to start somewhere,” Schrode said.
As a Jewish woman, Schrode received backlash during her campaign trail. Schrode addressed the audience about the “hate mail” and “hate speech” she dealt with during her campaign.
“Being a public figure who is a Jewish outspoken woman unfortunately attracted very nasty people who started attacking her,” Vlad Khaykin, member of the Anti-Defamation League said.
Despite the setbacks, Schrode continued to push toward human rights up until the election date.
“I’m not here to instill fear, but to wake you up,” Schrode said. “We are doing this for the next generation who can, should and will run for office.”
Read this article on Spartan Daily