Wellesley students concerned about President Donald Trump’s treatment of women’s rights are joining a nationwide campaign to publicly air their grievances. The #ReadMyLips campaign encourages students to write letters about their hopes and fears regarding women’s rights, which will be printed out and delivered to the White House on Wednesday, April 5.
The campaign was created by Mogul, a social platform designed to promote women’s rights and empowerment, which launched at Wellesley in October of 2016. Wellesley chapter president Jessie Xiao ’20 worked with the Mogul headquarters to make this campaign happen.
Xiao and others involved with Mogul noticed a trend in users expressing fears regarding women’s health and resources for victims of sexual assault under the Trump administration. “It was unanimously agreed that these were posts that the White House needed to hear, so we decided to launch this campaign to bring together all women and sexual assault victims across the world in one powerful movement,” Xiao said.
The #ReadMyLips name has roots in a few different sources, according to Mogul’s post about the campaign. The name primarily conveys the importance of putting your voice out to be heard, but Mogul also chose the name based on “the association with a certain part of the female anatomy.” The Mogul team also acknowledged a reference to a George H. W. Bush quote from the 1988 Republican National Convention, in which he said “Read my lips. No new taxes.” According to their website, the Mogul team hopes to use this campaign to reassociate this term with women’s rights.
The movement has received attention from Glamour, a popular women’s magazine, and so far 23 colleges in addition to Wellesley College are also taking part. These universities include Yale University, New York University, Cornell University and Georgetown University. “With a movement this big, how could the White House not listen?” Xiao said.
Naomi Kim ’20 explained that she became involved with Mogul due to her interest in women’s rights. She joined this specific campaign in order to express her worries about a Trump presidency, calling the campaign “the perfect outlet to do so.”
The message she left on the website addresses her specific fears and concerns for the future under President Trump.
“My hope for the future is that I can be confident that if I were ever sexually assaulted, the suspect will receive a fair punishment, and that his wealth or race would not play a role in prosecuting him. My hope is for a better world for everyone,” Kim wrote.
Other messages more broadly express hope for women’s rights over their bodies in general. “My hope for the world is that people can understand this one simple lesson: No one can ever control what I do with my body except for me, for your beliefs and opinions are irrelevant to my free will,” Beryce Garcia ’20 wrote.
All of Mogul’s 30 members at Wellesley are participating in this campaign, as well as members from Amnesty International and Sexual Assault Awareness For Everyone (SAAFE). Other posts from within Wellesley posted by students on the Mogul website featured titles such as “#ReadMyLips: What About Ivanka?” “#ReadMyLips: You Ruined My View on Humanity” and “#ReadMyLips:My Hope for the Future.”
“I hope this campaign [will] inspire my fellow Wellesley siblings that it is perfectly normal to be worried about the future,” Kim said, adding that she hopes that the Wellesley community can do great things by coming together.
According to Xiao, the #ReadMyLips campaign serves as an important catalyst for discussion of women’s health issues and the rights of victims of sexual assault and how they are handled in the Wellesley community.
“As social equality has been grounded into the Wellesley culture, I am confident that the impact of this campaign will ignite students and faculty members to continue fighting for what they believe in,” Xiao said.
Xiao also believes that this campaign is a chance to make the government listen to women’s voices and concerns. Anyone at Wellesley is encouraged to make a contribution with their own concerns through onmogul. com. Posts must include “#ReadMyLips” in the title in order to be included in the delivery to the White House. To view other messages that have already been submitted, users can visit onmogul.com/read_my_lips.