Student Spotlight - Ashley Blackwell
Ashley Blackwell has no fear when it comes to standing up for conservative values on campus. A sophomore at Azusa Pacific University in California, Ashley has dedicated herself to being an effective conservative activist on campus, even if it means doing it all by herself.
We talked to Ashley to find out more about what motivates her and where she gets her boldness:
Luce: How did you become a conservative?
Ashley: I grew up in a home where we watched Fox News at the dinner table. My extended family is extremely politically divided, where liberals outnumber conservatives. Listening to their conversations, I found myself agreeing with the conservative point of view at a young age. 9/11 ignited my patriotic love for this great country and the freedoms we have. During the election of 2008, I realized how brainwashed my generation is when it comes to politics. They knew nothing about the issues but idolized the “coolness” of the candidate. It made me furious that no one would want to have an intelligent debate. From that moment, I knew conservative activism was for me.
Luce: As a conservative, what challenges do you face at your school?
Ashley: Well, I chose a Christian university to get a biblical perspective in my field of study. I also thought it would be a conservative environment, but I was wrong. Apparently a large number of students believe that Jesus was a “socialist” and he supports gay marriage and abortion. Last year I was faced with comments from my R.A. like "what does it feel like to love this country?" or, after watching a video called A Girl Like Me, "do you feel guilty for being white?" or, my personal favorite, "Ashley before you leave this year, I will make you a liberal democrat that believes in gay marriage and abortion!" It was definitely intimidating because I felt all alone in my beliefs.
Luce: What is your most memorable activist experience?
Ashley: Doing the 9/11 Never Forget Project for the first time when I was a senior in high school. The school was a typical liberal public high school, but the response was very good. Students and staff were grateful and extremely moved by the display. We have done it twice here at Azusa Pacific, but it was difficult to know how it was received because they would only let us set it up in an area that was rarely seen by students.
Luce: Tell us about your experience with hosting a Luce campus lecture
Ashley: I am currently in the process of hosting Kate Obenshain out here! I figured it was time to have a balanced discussion regarding feminism and thought Kate Obenshain would be the perfect speaker to share with students. I was curious to how our women's center would react to our club (Young America's for Freedom) asking for help in promoting the event. After presenting information about Kate's topic of her lecture, the director of the center asked me if this would be a political event because at the Women’s Resource Center, they don’t want to favor only one political side. I was told that the director would need to view some of Kate's speeches before she could make a commitment. Although she was cordial to me, I didn't get the feeling she was 100% behind the idea. The director told me that she would notify me at the end of November when she makes her final decision.
Luce: Who is your favorite conservative woman leader and why?
Ashley: There are so many hardworking conservative women who inspire me, so choosing just one is difficult. I would have to say two of my favorites are Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Governor Sarah Palin. They are both fierce fighters for freedom and liberty. They are defenders of our constitution and for the way of life that has made this country so great. Michele Bachmann has been an inspiration in her relentless pursuit of truth in the House of Representatives. Sarah Palin is such a perfect representation of a powerful, yet humble woman. Both of them are the kind of conservative women I aspire to be like.
Luce: What advice would you give other conservative students?
Ashley: Find a good core of conservative friends that you can always rely on as soon as possible. I only had one good conservative friend until I got to college. It was not until my second semester of college that I found five strong, courageous and like-minded women to bond with. It has made campus life much easier and more joyful knowing that we totally support each other. I find there is strength in numbers, even if there are only a few. Lastly, stand up for what you believe in. Winston Churchill once said, "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Embrace the fact that you are a conservative and be proud!
Luce: Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
Ashley: When I was 9 years old, I had a passion for American history. I knew then that I wanted to someday live in Washington D.C. and work as the White House Press Secretary. So in 10 years if I’m not the White House Press Secretary yet, I see myself as the Chief of Staff for a fierce conservative politician (preferably female… Representative Bachmann, I am ready and available… just call me.)