Interview with Christy Yao, Chair of the Maryland chapter of ASP

by Skylar Covich

SC: Describe a little about your background. Where did you grow up? How did you first get interested in politics?Specifically, how did you get interested in the pro-life and anti-war movements?

CY: I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, right outside of Washington, D.C. I first got interested in politics with my interest in environmentalism at the age of four. High school students were putting trash in my mailbox after they got off the school bus; this made me very upset, so I started my first campaign by putting a poorly-written sign up. Less than a year later, I went across the political spectrum and attended my first March for Life. This balancing act would keep giving me headaches as I got further into both environmental and pro-life activism in college.

SC: Another organization you work with is Rehumanize International. Describe their mission and activities.

CY: I was an intern for Rehumanize International last year, and still submit articles to their blog and magazine, Life Matters Journal. Rehumanize is a non-sectarian, non-partisan Consistent Life Ethic organization. They work to create a world free of violence. This includes opposition to abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, unjust war, and much more. Rehumanize sends speakers and displays to college campuses, as well as participating in protests and activism events around the country and the world. Rehumanize also holds a conference every year.

SC: How did you find the American Solidarity Party and decide to get involved? Are there any issues that you think the ASP should focus on even more?

CY: I first found out about the American Solidarity Party at the Consistent Life Network Conference in 2017. I then learned more about the party at the Rehumanize Conference later in the same year and decided to get involved in early 2018. I would love to see the ASP focus on environmentalism and racial justice, since those are two issues that are very close to my heart. I would also like to see the ASP get more involved on the ground with pro-life issues, such as having a greater presence at events like 40 Days for Life.

SC: You are chair of the American Solidarity Party of Maryland, one of the most active chapters, which is consistently holding meetings and participating at rallies. There are some advantages to being in the D.C. area, yet it seems that any state chapter could find ways to be like yours. Do you have some advice on making that happen?

CY: First of all, thank you! I think the main reason we are so successful is that we are not only in close proximity to D.C., but our state is also so small that we are all in close proximity to each other! Maryland is a small but densely-populated state, so it’s easy to get together. I would advise state chapters to try to meet up as often as possible in person. Putting faces to the names of your members can go a long way. People also often show up who are not very vocal on social media, and they are a valuable resource! Another good idea is to connect with other organizations in your area. We often co-sponsor events with the Consistent Life Network or Pax Christi.

SC: There are some ASP members who are nervous about attending pro-life or anti-war rallies, or aren’t sure whether those rallies matter. What do you think is the role of protest in American politics today? Do you have advice for people thinking of attending their first rally?

CY: Protest is not only important to politics, but to society as well! Protests show people in the general public what their fellow citizens care about and raise awareness about various issues. Politicians are also paying attention when people protest, because protesters are often active voters. The vast majority of protests and rallies I have attended have been very low-stress. Organizers will generally tell participants if there will be opposition to their protest, such as counter-protesters. If someone is still apprehensive about attending a rally or protest, I would recommend that she either go with a friend or have a specific job at the protest, such as taking pictures. Whenever I get discouraged or nervous about a protest or rally, I think about what will matter five years from now. Dirty looks or disagreements last for a minute, but change lasts forever.

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