BayVTRonald Reagan once said, “A leader, once convinced [that] a
particular course of action is the right one, must have the
determination to stick with it and be undaunted when the going gets
tough.” This is a quote that all student activists on college
campuses need to remember as they step out onto the battlefield to
boldly advocate for conservative ideals.  I was blessed enough
to have had this quote sent to me by a fellow Young Americans for
Freedom (YAF) chapter chair, at a time when I started feeling the
pressure of the Left leading up to my YAF chapter’s event featuring
Bay Buchanan at Virginia Tech. 

I was determined to use the strategy of creating bold and
attention-grabbing fliers to promote our event on campus.  I
came up with the title, “Alien Invasion: How Illegal Immigration is
Hurting America.” The fliers certainly caught the attention of the
Left, so much so that they organized an opposition led by the
Latino Association of Student Organizations (LASO) and VT Dreamers,
a group of illegal immigrants here under the Dream Act.  Of
course, school administrators and staff backed these two
groups.

Even a letter signed by professors, staff, and students was
distributed to the community and the school, attacking YAF for
violating the “principles of community” by not respecting
“differences while affirming our common humanity.” 

These opponents chose to be offended by a flier that did not
single out a certain race or ethnicity. They victimized themselves
to change the conversation from the actual issue to the rhetoric
surrounding it. Despite hosting an extremely successful event
attended by 300 people, I was subject to attacks on social media; I
was called a racist and portrayed in a negative light on the front
page of the school newspaper.   

I soon realized this was all a plot to censor the speech of
conservatives on campus.  I’ve always known that political
correctness was an invention of the Left used to push conservatives
in a corner and silence them. With this in mind, I responded to
every reporter by stating that I had no regrets exercising my right
to free speech, warning them that any attempt to censor my speech
would be a direct violation of the Constitution. 

Virginia Tech seems to support “diversity and inclusion” only
when there is a message that pushes the school’s liberal agenda.
Where is the Office of Diversity and Inclusion when conservatives
are penalized for voicing an opinion that does not align with a
professor’s ideology? Day after day students continue to be
punished or silenced for simply voicing their conservative beliefs.
This is the furthest thing from the “tolerance” the Left preaches
so often.

The greatest lesson I have learned from this entire experience
is the importance of standing firm in my beliefs.  Being an
activist in the Conservative Movement is like entering a
battlefield where only the resilient win. It doesn’t matter how
many times you get knocked down. What matters is how many times you
get back up and continue to fight the good fight for freedom. When
you believe so strongly in conservative ideals and values, it is
important that you are willing to put yourself out there in the
public eye and take any backlash that the opposition sends your
way. Don’t be afraid to call them out and fight back courageously.
As a conservative on a college campus, you do not deserve to be
discriminated against or silenced. It is your duty to stand up for
the Conservative Movement. If others see you passionately invested
in your cause, they will soon follow you and join your
crusade. 

Standing up to my university administration is one of the most
rewarding things I have ever done. I have had conservative students
come up to me and say that they are inspired by what I do and are
no longer afraid to voice conservative views because they no longer
feel alone.    

Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation
away from extinction.” As a conservative activist, but more
importantly, as an American, I find it my personal duty to stand up
to liberalism and continue to fight for freedom at all costs. I
encourage you to do the same.

Lauren McCue is the Chairwoman of Virginia Tech Young
Americans for Freedom

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