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Social work students take on Capitol Day

Photo+courtesy+of+Hobert+Gabuat+%0ACSUB+graduate+students+meet+with+Stacey+Cross+%28second+from+left%29%2C+CEO+of+Planned+Parenthood+Mar+Monte%2C+on+April+10+during+Capitol+Day.++
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Social work students take on Capitol Day

Photo courtesy of Hobert Gabuat 
CSUB graduate students meet with Stacey Cross (second from left), CEO of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, on April 10 during Capitol Day.

Photo courtesy of Hobert Gabuat CSUB graduate students meet with Stacey Cross (second from left), CEO of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, on April 10 during Capitol Day.

Photo courtesy of Hobert Gabuat CSUB graduate students meet with Stacey Cross (second from left), CEO of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, on April 10 during Capitol Day.

Photo courtesy of Hobert Gabuat CSUB graduate students meet with Stacey Cross (second from left), CEO of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, on April 10 during Capitol Day.

By Sarah Jane Atkinson, Reporter

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Empowering. That is the only word that a group of Masters of Social Work students could use to describe their experience at Capitol Day.

On April 10, Catherine Morga, Hobert Gabuat, Esmeralda Mendoza and Stephanie Rodriguez made their way to Sacramento to advocate against the bill H.R. 369: Defund Planned Parenthood.

The group is part of a class on campus, SW 6160 Advanced Policy in Social Work, which encourages social work students to find ways to advocate for people and causes. As part of the class, they were to complete an Advocacy Project in which they chose a bill to advocate for.

Their goal was to speak to legislators in order to show their dedication to getting rid of the bill.

They were able to speak to assembly members Joaquin Arambula and Rudy Salas to name a few.

They were also able to meet the CEO and president of Planned Parenthood.

Morga said it was eye opening to speak with the main leaders of Planned Parenthood and those who supported it.

“It was a good opportunity to talk with others about this bill,” said Morga. “And then just hearing the president and new CEO’s of Planned Parenthood who were once patients themselves.”

Morga mentioned the influence of all the other topics. “It really was amazing to see how much effort people put into these topics,” she said.

As someone who has always been a supporter of Planned Parenthood, Esmeralda Mendoza was able to experience just how important education was in the process of advocating for the bill.

Even though she grew up in a conservative household, Mendoza said, “I started utilizing Planned Parenthood because I learned about it through high school.” She believes that women should have the right to choose and that is why she wanted to advocate against the bill.

Mendoza was glad to be able to learn about other bills as well as educate others on theirs.

“It was really inspiring to hear all these stories. I felt very motivated and powerful to be there and support Planned Parenthood,” said Mendoza.

Gabuat was the only male member of the group to attend. His experience was similar to the others as he was inspired and educated on many of the topics, but because of his gender, it did differ in certain circumstances.

Gabuat believed that women deserve the right to chose and said he was happy to be part of the project.

“In the beginning, I didn’t know where I stood with this (defunding Planned Parenthood) but this weekend solidified it,” said Gabuat.

He explained the significance of women being able to share their stories without judgement during Capitol Day.

Gabuat did mention that he was harassed three separate times the night of Capitol Day.

In one of the situations, Hobert said he ran into a man who blamed him for “killing babies.” Gabuat responded with, “No man, it’s about women and their choices” and left the confrontation with that.

He emphasized the necessity of reacting with composure and not escalating things because he knew that everyone has their own opinion and they deserve respect.

For these students, the whole day was an experience that they will remember. The next steps for the project include petitioning, partnering with Gen X, sending advocacy letters to legislators and finally presenting their project to their professor.

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Social work students take on Capitol Day