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The New Guard

My School Tried to Cancel Thanksgiving. My YAF Chapter Fought Back.

By

New Guard Staff

July 19, 2023

By Therese Purcell

The best kind of activism can be responses to events happening on your campus.

One day, I was scrolling through University at Buffalo’s Instagram stories about what events were happening for the upcoming week. I noticed one of the events was called “The Real History of Thanksgiving” where the description suggested that students “erase this whitewashed history” and come up with alternatives for the holiday.

As someone who loves American traditions and culture, I was outraged that my school was hosting and funding an event aimed at attacking American culture and furthering division.

With the help of my Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter, I decided to fight back against this event and show New Yorkers that our tax money was funding the radical Left’s agenda.

The first thing I did was reach out to Young America’s Foundation’s Campus Bias Tipline for help. Soon after, YAF ran a New Guard article about the event, which helped bring national attention to the issue.

I immediately started organizing members from my chapter to attend the event with me to make our voices heard. Fox and Friends then reached out, asking if I would discuss the issue with them the morning of the event.

Our chapter then decided to protest the event. Before the protest, I reached out to all the local news stations in our city to garner press coverage of our demonstration. We protested outside the Student Union at one of the busiest parts of campus, allowing many students to see our signs and giving us the opportunity to alert them of the event and the craziness of cancel culture.

Even non-conservative students remarked to me, upon learning about the event, that the Left has taken things way too far.

Reaching out to YAF and protesting the event proved to be very beneficial to our chapter. Our chapter became the talk of campus on social media and our school’s Reddit. Students who hadn’t heard of YAF previously reached out wanting to join our chapter and alumni expressed their shock and disappointment at the university for hosting such an event.

The university even blocked the press from the event to try to escape the attention, to no avail.

By hosting activism events targeted at things that specifically pertain to your school, your chapter can fight back and engage fellow students on issues that hit close to home. Doing so gave our chapter the spotlight on campus and gave us an opportunity to talk to students about the issue.

Furthermore, it allowed our YAF chapter to spread our message to students across the ideological spectrum.

By taking advantage of an issue at your school, you can gain support for your chapter from alumni. I was surprised at how many alumni personally reached out to me to express their shock that the school was holding such an event. Both students and alumni told me they were familiar with cancel culture at a national level but could not believe it was happening in their own backyard.

With the help of YAF, we were able to fight back against university-sponsored leftism and grow our YAF chapter.

I encourage other students to be vigilant about leftist events that your university may be hosting, as your YAF chapter can use these opportunities to challenge the Left’s agenda on your campus.


Therese Purcell is the chairwoman of Young Americans for Freedom at the University at Buffalo. 

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