March 25, 2023

  • An activist in Texas helped raise $2 million in abortion funding in response to comments by Florida Rep. Matt Gates.
  • Olivia Julianna told Insider she used the attention to boost voter registration and other fundraising efforts.
  • Juliana inspired the abortion fundraiser of a West Virginia activist who was also bullied by a male politician.

Olivia Julianna knows how to use the internet to get what she wants.

The Houston-based activist and political strategist for Gen Z change can often be found on social media, launching campaigns Flood Critical Race Theory Hint Line with false information, Proportion Anti-Transgender Politicians Like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Texas Attorney General Ken Paxtonand even raise millions of dollars for a cause.

Juliana also turned things around for Matt Gates. After Florida representatives humiliated abortion rights activists at the U.S. Turning Point Summit in Florida in July, the 19-year-old rallied her Twitter followers to fund an abortion fund that helps women in states with bans participate Abortion surgery.

It worked: Supporters donated more than $2 million in one week to the Gen-Z Choice Abortion Fund, which distributes donations among 50 different abortion funds in states that ban abortion.

“I just thought it was funny because these little trolling-type fightbacks are something that Republicans have been using for years,” Juliana told Insider. “And I think it’s funny because now they’re finally starting to taste their own medicine.”

In response to questions about donations, a Gaetz spokesperson previously told Insider that the U.S. is a “pro-life country” and that no “number of donations would change that.”

Juliana said she has been using the attention in her online statement to encourage voter registration and fundraise for organizations that help people get health care.

She said the abortion fundraiser in particular helped “catapult” her political message, and that the focus “has adjusted a bit.” Her Twitter followers now exceed 342,000.

“My social media presence and platforms are translating into real on-the-ground, grassroots support for these candidates who are fighting the current president who is destroying our country,” Juliana said. “So I would really worry about them. The ability to stay on because more and more people are involved.”

Inspiring others to help their own community

West Virginia political activist Ash Orr raises money for an abortion clinic in the state after he was mistaken for gender in an email by state Sen. Mike Azinger Over $25,000.

During the five-day special session West Virginia State Assembly Deciding on state’s new abortion law, Democratic Senator Mike Caputo read a statement They were raped twice when they were 10 years old, after which they feared they were pregnant, Orr wrote.

man in black mask and purple suit jacket holds a piece of paper

Courtesy of Ash Orr

After the statement was read, Orr said Azinger suggested rape and incest victims should go ahead with their pregnancy.

Disturbed by his comments, Orr emailed Azinger, accusing him of not caring about “children or adults who are victims of rape.”

Azinger responded to Orr’s email, calling Caputo’s reading of their statement “sad” and telling Orr that they “will always — always — be women.”

“You’re the one who doesn’t care about rape victims: if they get pregnant, you want them to kill their children, who will live the rest of their lives,” the email reads.

Orr said Azinger never returned to them after that email.

The initial email exchange was reviewed by Insider and sent from Azinger’s Senate email. Azinger did not immediately respond to an insider’s request for comment.

After the exchange, Orr told Insider that they began “reliving the trauma of the attack,” but hoped to use the negative experience to help raise money for West Virginia Women’s Health.

Orr said they were partly inspired by Juliana’s fundraiser.

“I knew I needed to do something about it,” Orr said. “And I want to do things that not only let you know, help me recover, but also help my community.”

‘Flip the playbook’ on bullying politicians

Like Orr, Juliana said she spoke out to help her Texas community. She describes herself as “every marginalized identity”: a plus-size, queer, disabled, Latino woman. She previously told Insider that she struggled with an eating disorder and body image issues throughout her childhood and was hospitalized in 2021 as a result.

Juliana said when she responded to homophobic or racist remarks from politicians, those associated with her felt compelled to act.

“It’s kind of like a big ‘flip the playbook’ on these particular politicians who have been bullying people in my different communities for a long time,” Juliana said, “and now they’re being bullied by people who aren’t anywhere. Bullied. Approaching their position of power.”

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