Lela Johnston is a professional activist, working for various non-profits advancing the cause of women’s equality and progress.
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Like millions of other women who voted for Hillary Clinton, Lela Johnston expected November 9 to begin the nation’s transition to the first female presidency. As someone who had spent her working life during and since college fighting for causes around women’s rights, she felt the time had come. She worked in the campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters, and she was excited to be able to throw herself, personally and professionally, into a sort of women’s equality hyper drive on Inauguration Day.
Of course, that’s not how it worked out.
After weeks of depression, coming to terms with the results of the 2016 presidential election, Lela had to figure out, “Now what?” Some days that meant anger and grieving. And, at a certain point, it meant making some decisions about how to be part of a re-energized women’s movement, reborn in the age of Trump.
“I’m not asking for a lot. I just want to be treated equally,” says Lela Johnston. “In my day to day life, I want to be able to walk around, I want to be able to ride on the subway, go on a run, and not have people in my face.”
Lela is a runner, baker and a “fighter of injustice” who is originally from North Carolina. She has had a passion for public service from a very young age. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from NC State and worked several internships and jobs with organizations committed to advocating for women’s rights.
So, what does a professional women’s right activist do when a historic election doesn’t go her way? Do you put things on hold for four or eight years? Or, do you throw yourself into the “Great Awokening?”
“In a way, there’s a part of me that’s grateful for Donald Trump,” she says with a smirk. “It’s unveiled a part inside of me where I’m not messing around anymore, and I’m not apologizing.”
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Things We Mention In the Show:
Organization supporting pro-choice Democratic women running for congress and governor.
Alliance for Justice
AFJ works to ensure that the federal judiciary advances core constitutional values, preserves human rights and unfettered access to the courts, and adheres to the even-handed administration of justice for all Americans.
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National organization advocating for and providing comprehensive information on reproductive rights in the U.S.
NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina
Phi Beta Kappa
The nation’s oldest collegiate honor society for liberal arts with 286 chapters nationwide.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Non-profit organizations, sometimes called pregnancy resource centers (PRC’s), established to counsel pregnant women against having an abortion.
Right now, Lela is loving…
The best meditation apps of 2017
“Tiny, Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar”
Bestselling book from Cheryl Strayed, author of “Wild,” collects the best of the Dear Sugar advice columns.
Dear Sugar Podcast
Advice podcast by Cheryl Strayed
Right now, T.J. is loving…
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Wednesdays on TBS.
T.J. recommends the “Nasty Woman” t-shirts sold on the website.
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Executive Producer and Host: T.J. Sullivan
Associate Producer: Mindy Sopher
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Voice Over: Mia Voss
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