Chapter Leader Spotlight: Sophia Laila Cabana, NeW at James Madison University

Meet Sophia Laila Cabana from James Madison University. She shares about her experience at JMU and being a NeW Chapter Leader on campus.

How did you first hear about NeW?

I actually first heard about NeW from my mom! She’s a big Reagan Republican and the type of feminist who stands for equality rather than tearing men down and starting a whole new cycle of oppression. She always empowered me when I was a kid and taught me to be really headstrong and resolute in my beliefs, but she also taught me to be respectful of others and to always strive to learn more. When she discovered that there was such thing as a conservative book club for college women, a group that supported the right kind of feminism, she felt like she absolutely had to tell me about it.

Why is having a chapter on campus so important to you?

Well, I’m that kid who sits in the front row and debates the socialist professor, which is cool I guess, but not everyone wants to be that kid for obvious reasons. I noticed a lot of women who would sort of just be quiet or maybe play “devil’s advocate” once or twice, and some of my friends would say slightly conservative things and then stop themselves, or they’d get this excited look in their eyes when I said something that sounds really crazy on a college campus, as if they agreed with me but were afraid of being ostracized. Then one day I noticed that one of my friends also follows Melania Trump on Instagram and likes all of her posts, and I thought “ah, yes, I’ve found one.” I realized that all of these people, especially the young women, felt really alone. Our chapter is still pretty small, but there’s a lot of excitement, I think. There’s a real human need to belong to something, to feel free to express your beliefs openly within a trusted group of people. The sad thing is that most women who disagree with Planned Parenthood or fall anywhere to the right of Karl Marx don’t have that, and this is especially true on college campuses. I just want these young women to know that they aren’t alone, and they aren’t bad people. Their ideas have value and deserve to be heard.

What is your all-time favorite NeW event you attended?

The Young Women’s Leadership Retreat was definitely my favorite! I loved the intellectual discussions and professional development aspects of the Retreat, and the s’mores were a nice touch.

If you could have dinner with any conservative women, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I want to sit down at a little table in a garden of blushing pinks and have a tea party with none other than the great Margaret Thatcher. I really don’t have to explain why.

Describe NeW in one word and tell why you chose that word.

Opportunity: an opportunity to learn, to grow, to network with like-minded individuals, and above all an opportunity to learn how to defend equal opportunity for all people.

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