Virginia students skipped school this week in protest of a leaked Supreme Court opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, effectively ending federal jurisdiction over abortion. Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares said on May 9 that the walkouts, organized by the student group Generation Ratify, are “incredibly disruptive” and disciplinary measures for students who skip class are “absolutely in the purview of the principal of that school.”
“This is a free country. When [the students] are outside of school, they can protest any government action they would like to as long as it’s done in a peaceful manner. But when you’re in school, you don’t have that right,” Miyares said. “If anything, it’s distracting to those students who are there to learn… When they’re in school, they’re supposed to be in school, learning.”
At the heart of the walkouts is Generation Ratify (GR), a progressive “100% youth-led” group that creates a breeding ground for leftist political activism in high schools. The group was responsible this week for organizing the over 40 high school walkouts in Virginia and is planning a nationwide walkout on May 18.
GR lured thousands of Virginia students as young as 14 to participate in the pro-abortion rallies in what the organization called a “mass youth mobilization to defend abortion.” The group is one of many political activism campaigns used to force gender ideology in schools.
Co-founders Rosie Couture and Belan Yeshigeta created GR in July 2019 after they “realized the need to get more youth involved in the fight to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.” The organization claims it has reeled in 10,000 grassroots members and established 50 local and state chapters in its two years of existence. A majority of the chapters are in California, Florida, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
One of the organization’s first initiatives in 2019 was a phone bank extravaganza for pro-ERA candidates such as Sheila Bynum-Coleman. Months after her failed bid for Virginia’s House of Delegates, Bynum-Coleman was charged with disseminating revenge pornography of her husband’s former business associate. GR held a “Gender Equality Day” party in August 2019, where they wrote postcards supporting Bynum-Coleman’s candidacy.
GR aims to “ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and advance gender equality in the United States of America” by building a “coalition of young people across the country leading an intersectional feminist revolution that empowers and advocates for the full equality of young women, non-conforming, non-binary, femme, and Queer folx.”
The group notes on its website that it accomplishes its mission through education, advocacy, elections, and empowerment. “This can look like anything from hosting protests and rallies, to organizing meetings between young people and their elected officials. In addition, Generation Ratify works with an excellent team of pro-bono lawyers and adult allies to make young people’s voices heard on issues of gender equality in the courts and in the White House through writing letters to prominent figures and filing amicus briefs, documents about our beliefs on issues debated in court case,” explains co-founder Rosie Couture.
Couture said that ultimately, GR is trying to teach students to “dismantle patriarchy” and achieve gender justice. “We are trying to achieve a future where all communities are liberated,” she said.
Middle and high school students can start their own GR chapters without parental or school approval, according to the application page to start a chapter.
GR’s leadership team includes students attending prestigious universities, such as Harvard University, Stanford University, and The George Washington University. Many of the team members have been recognized by the Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teachers Network (GLSEN), an activist group focused on spreading LGBTQ propaganda to K-12 students. The executive director of GLSEN, Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, stresses the importance of youth leaders in “school gender and sexuality alliance clubs,” such as Generation Ratify.
“LGBTQ+ young people in schools and their student groups, like GSAs, have always been the hub, kind of the breeding ground, the soil from which these sparks of activism come up,” said the executive director of GLSEN, Melanie Willingham-Jaggers. “What we understand is that young people — period — are going to help us understand the vision forward and the way forward to the future.”
Read more about GLSEN’s mission to transform K-12 schools into critical gender-theory hotspots here.
GLSEN appointed multiple GR members to its 2021-2022 National Student Council Cohort. These include Jayanti Gupta, who “focuses on intersectional feminism through her work with Generation Ratify” and Maria Cheng, a queer national director of GR. Generation Ratify’s former California Communications Director Ethan Collier-Moreno served on GLSEN’s 2020-2021 council.
GR co-founder Rosie Couture and Felix Hedberg also lead the Team Enough Virginia Lobbying Collective, a Brady Campaign initiative to end gun violence. Team Enough “activates and mobilizes young people” to advance anti-gun policies. The Brady Campaign allocated more than $800,000 on the “youth-led” Team Enough program in 2020, according to financial records.
The Brady Campaign receives hefty funding from the Kenneth Cole Foundation, a social-justice focused foundation led by fashion designer Kenneth Cole, who is married to Maria Cuomo Cole. Maria is the daughter of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and the sister of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. She is also a director of the Brady Campaign.
Multiple members of GR’s leadership team simultaneously work for the Brady Campaign.
GR teamed up with Blue Future Now, Gen Z For Change, Path to Progress, a March 4 Our Lives, and the Sunrise Movement for a “#ReproRightsRally” outside of the Supreme Court on May 5.
Blue Future + the Youth Progressive Action Catalyst received thousands in donations from George Soros and multiple members of GR hold positions at Blue Future. GR in January partnered with the National Organization for Women, which also receives funding from George Soros. One organizer, who is a “federal lobbyist” at Generation Ratify, held a position as late as September 2021 for the Youth Progressive Action Catalyst.
Along with the American Federation of Teachers, GR is listed as a supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment Coalition. GR’s Couture co-signed with President of AFT Randi Weingarten an ERA Coalition letter in February, urging President Joe Biden to ratify the amendment. Weingarten is a notorious advocate for progressive school policies and defends teaching critical race theory to K-12 students.
GR empowers and communicates with members through the online messaging platform Slack. There are no age barriers to join the channel, on which explicit topics are discussed regularly.
A minor transgender and autistic member reached out to the group for financial support to leave their transphobic parents. The New Jersey native said their parents are “extremely transphobic, [misgender] me, and [say] it’s my fault that the therapists I’ve seen have been transphobic.”
The platform serves as a space for children to engage in discussion about abortion, sex, and gender identity. Responding to a question about anti-choice arguments, one member said, “no one deserves the pain of cancer just like no one deserves to be forced to give birth under penalty of law.”
The group also uses Slack to promote queer events, such as a Rainbow Prom. “Though prom conventionally focuses on extreme heterosexuality and enforced gender roles, we will be stripping it back to focus on what’s most important — love in all colors,” the invitation read.
GR leaders issue calls to action on the platform, guiding members on how to “help plot the feminist revolution” and organize walkouts in their schools. Posts also promote Planned Parenthood rallies.
After “successful” walkouts in Virginia, GR said it wants “thousands and thousands of students of all ages and grades walking out to demand action on our reproductive rights.” A nationwide walkout is scheduled for May 18.
GR offers comprehensive documents on its website to guide student activists interested in leading a walkout. The walkouts are not school sanctioned, although some Virginia schools issued excused absences for students participating in walkouts. GR posted an infographic on Instagram to help students find out if they can skip class.
On Slack, GR’s Wakefield High School rally organizer alleged that her school counselor promoted the event via email.
Generation Ratify published a document listing schools that will participate in the nationwide walkout. They include: Dexter Regional High School (Maine), Amherst Regional High School (Mass.), Harriton High School (Pa.), Langley High School (Va.), Amherst Regional Middle School (Mass.), Lower Merion High School (Pa.), Sherando High School (Va.), Midlothian High School (Va.), Harriton High School (Pa.), Washington-Liberty HS (Va.), Wakefield High School (Va.), Poolesville High School (Md.), Battlefield High School (Va.), Science Leadership Academy (Pa.), Prince George High School (Va.), David W. Butler High School (N.C.), Masterman High School (Pa.), Savannah Arts Academy (Ga.), The Shipley School (Pa.), Chapman University (Calif.), West Career and Technical Academy (Nev.), Advanced Technologies Academy (Nev.), Lynbrook High School (Ca.), Rochester Community High School (Ind.).
Radical intersectional activism is infiltrating schools through social justice clubs like Generation Ratify. The leftist push to integrate more progressive sexual ideology in classrooms is aided by groups like GR, which uses social contagion to convince students to support such ideology. Parents are encouraged to contact high schools about gender clubs and attendance policies for non-school sponsored student walkouts.