“I just want to state some facts.” It was Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake’s town hall meeting, and 16-year-old activist Deja Foxx stepped up to the microphone.
“I’m a young woman; you’re a middle-aged man. I’m a person of color, and you’re white. I come from a background of poverty, and I didn’t always have parents to guide me through life; you come from privilege.”
Cheers erupted. Green papers were waved in the air as the rowdy crowd showed agreement. They had shown up in overwhelming numbers to demand answers from Senator Flake on the proposed border wall, Republican healthcare plan, climate change agenda, and defunding of Planned Parenthood. Earlier that day, Trump had signed a bill allowing states to deny Title X funding to family-planning centers that also perform abortions, such as Planned Parenthood.
Deja continued. “I’m wondering, as a Planned Parenthood patient and someone who relies on Title X, who you are clearly not, why is it your right to take away my right to choose Planned Parenthood and to choose no co-pay birth control, to access that?”
After the audience–who had burst out with applause, waving their green papers wildly like flags–had quieted, Flake thanked her and acknowledged his “privileged childhood”, though adding that he’s one of 11 kids and that he paid for college on his own. “Privilege comes in many forms,” replied Deja.
The tenacity of the young activist caught the attention of several news outlets, including CNN who interviewed her on Don Lemon’s show a few days later. They asked what she would say to President Trump. “I’d tell him to listen to his people,” Deja said. “Our stories matter.”
And, yes–she plans to run for office someday.