Our California State University, Chico YAL chapter hosted our first Free Speech Ball on Tuesday, October 17. With an assortment of aphorisms and drawings from “Pickle Rick” to things that rhyme with “Rick,” our supermassive beach ball displayed the love of young Americans for free speech and expression and attracted hundreds of interested students, earning media on the way.
While some of our members moved the ball through campus, others manned our Restore the Fourth table. California State Chair Isaac Edikauskas helped set up our spot, and we even commandeered a local tree to tape up a “Big Government is Watching You” poster in the name of liberty. Nature herself silently pledged her support for our activist group.
Chico weather took pity on our liberty activists and, for what seemed like the first time in weeks, we had sun without sweltering heat. The Fall weather brings with it the fall of authoritarianism. Through a combination of caffeine and Vitamin E, we had students up from 7 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon volunteering to organize, chat with passersby, and move around a massive beach ball. Our president Shannon Dailey helped coordinate squads of students to explore the perimeters of trafficked areas on campus. One of the highlights was an officer on a motorbike who came up to write “The Fourth Amendment rules!”. Far from drawing in deranged Marxist ball-stabbers, students on campus came and chatted with our volunteers and discovered all they had in common with the ideas of liberty.
During the event, media for Chico State took photos and tagged our page on their instagram. Students also put us on Snapchat and posed for photos with the most colorful bits of language. Professors and students alike shared their happiness that people on campus were encouraging creative expression, and when we threw our meeting the next day, that was the sentiment most frequently expressed by new attendees. Many students were relieved a club like ours is finally at Chico, in blue California. Our event was best summarized by the classic Kanye West and Jay Z line, “Ball so hard Mother Russia wanna fine me.”
In the end, we had close to a hundred emails, and almost multiplied our group membership by 150% at the meeting the next day. We expect even more members at the next meeting. We also closed this week with two more official dues-paying members. All in all, a hugely successful event — our presence is known, people are intrigued, and the campus is waiting on our next move.Published in