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Soup and Substance speakers discuss activism, women's rights

"Soup and Substance: Reclaiming Activism " took place in the Bovee University Center terrace rooms.

Students, faculty and the public were invited to enjoy a bowl of soup and listen to what the speakers had to say about reclaiming activism and women’s rights.

Lapeer junior Liberty Ann Quijas-Klebba, president of Central Michigan University’s Voices for Planned Parenthood, and Allison Lents, vice mayor of Mount Pleasant and chair of the Isabella County Democratic Party, were the speakers for the event.

Quijas-Klebba stressed the importance of educating people, rather than being rude to them. She explained that if someone has a problem with a person making a sexist or racist remark, they should educate them instead of acting with aggression.

Both speakers discussed the importance of being involved if you do have a problem with current politicians or issues in the world today.

Quijas-Klebba said Tweeting is not going to change policy. Instead, she suggested joining registered student organizations that share similar values to the beliefs of oneself.

“Figure out an idea and try it. You might fail, but you never know till you try,” Lents said.

Lents also encouraged people to contact her if they want to host any events in the city of Mount Pleasant.

When Lents tried to join the City Commission at first, she had other women tell her that she should have a family first.She had a daughter, and when her daughter was six months old, she brought her daughter to a meeting.

While at this meeting, people asked her why she couldn’t find child care and that she should stay at home and raise her family before she getting a job. Lents said she felt all the people who questioned her decision were just making excuses as to why she couldn’t do the job she wanted to.

The two women also explained the importance of voting and contacting representatives. Quijas-Klebba suggested that people should call, write and email representatives if you have an issue you are concerned about.

Lents expressed her concern for people who say they only vote in presidential elections.

“Most people need to get out and vote locally and at the state level, not just at national levels," Lent said.

Lents also said students who are registered to vote in their hometown and not in Mount Pleasant can still get involved in local events.

The two speakers opened the floor to the audience and let them ask questions before the event ended.

Macomb senior Courtney Banks felt like the discussion was helpful and informational.

“I came to the event because of an extra credit opportunity at first, but I didn’t know what to expect.” Banks said. “I’m happy I went though, I got a lot of good information out of this event today.”

Quijas-Klebba said to find out where your passion is when it comes to activism.

“Being an activist starts with yourself," she said. "Stand up for what you believe in.”