Cayla Yang Wears The Pantsuit

Donald Trump’s election took a lot of people by surprise. Many were “paralyzed or scared,” says Cayla Yang.

“I don’t do well with those emotions,” says the 2009 Staples High School graduate. “I’m not like, ‘woe is me.’ I’m more, ‘what can I do?'”

Cayla Yang

Cayla Yang

Cayla — a Staples field hockey player and yearbook editor who graduated from Northeastern University and now lives in Weston, while working as a consultant for a cloud computing company — always assumed that politicians would take care of her.

Now she’s not so sure.

But instead of paralysis, she chose action.

In the aftermath of Trump’s win, she reached out to Pantsuit Nation. The group of nearly 4 million (mostly) women had used Facebook to share stories of their support for Hillary Clinton. After her loss, it became a place to vent, express fears and frustrations, and find hope.

It also spun off local organizations, where (mostly) women began working together to do more than talk.

The Fairfield County group is called PSNCT — Pantsuit Nation without the actual name. And Cayla is one of its leaders.

“Telling stories is incredibly important. But this group is about advocacy,” Cayla says. “It’s about issues, concerns, and how to help.”

PSNCT has forged connections with politicians. A recent Town Hall meeting with Senator Chris Murphy in Bridgeport was “fantastic,” Cayla says.

Congressman Jim Himes came to an early PSNCT meeting. He discussed his priorities, and offered his assistance.

A photo posted to the PSNCT Facebook page shows a statue of PT Barnum in Bridgeport, "supporting" Saturday's women's march on Washington.

A photo posted to the PSNCT Facebook page shows a statue of PT Barnum in Bridgeport, “supporting” Saturday’s women’s march on Washington.

“We’ll do local fundraisers, and put our money where our mouth is,” Cayla promises.

“We recognize we have a privileged position here in Fairfield County. We want to use our influence to help people and organizations that don’t have our resources.”

Though Pantsuit Nation was created by Hillary Clinton supporters, Cayla says, “we shy away from labels. We want Republicans like Gail Lavielle and Toni Boucher” — state legislators representing this area — “to speak to us, and break down barriers.” Rep. Tony Hwang — a Republican state senator — attended Murphy’s Town Hall session.

As Inauguration Day looms, Cayla says PSNCT is focused on the days after.

“We’re looking to do good, and do it well,” she says.

(Click here for the PSNCT Facebook page. Hat tip: Julia McNamee)

24 responses to “Cayla Yang Wears The Pantsuit

  1. this is exactly what the world needs. somewhere over the last 20-30 years, society began to expect that the government would take care of them and provide for them. that just simply is not true under democrat or republican. if you want change you make it yourself. you wake up early and you go after what you want. the government doesnt have the money or skilled talent to do anything as good as you can do it for yourself. so just like you wrote in the story above, join with others that share your drive and build and create something that works. well done

  2. Third paragraph: ” I always assumed that the politicians (government) would take care of me”. What the heck are they teaching our kids in school? Every able bodied person is responsible for there own care.

    • And now she is looking to politicians to “take care” of her. They teach kids to force others to pay for their ice cream.

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      There’s certain things that we can’t take care of on our own as individuals. We cannot ensure that we have clean water or air, we cannot ensure that corporations are not screwing over their customers, we cannot ensure that pharmaceuticals are pure, we cannot ensure that medical professionals are trained properly and ethical in their practice, etc…
      It’s odd how some minds think this means handouts and assume that she wants to sit around eating bon bons while they have to support a luxurious lifestyle for her, when in reality this refers to valid functions of the government and especially how it needs to protect the populace.

  3. Kathryn Sirico

    Work is not an injustice…….land on your feet in the am ….get up and go to school and/or work so u don’t have to rely on anyone to “take care of you” now or down the road. Since the 60’s everything we were taught that was wrong seems to be right today.

  4. Peter Gambaccini

    She’s gone to school, and she’s working. Jeezus, who ARE you people. Wow, so she was led to believe government should take care of her. You know, like insure that she doesn’t get blown up at the mall, that schools can teach, that roads don’t collapse, that prescription drugs aren’t poisonous. Gosh, what radical concepts.

    • Maybe then it should have been clarified what she wanted from the government. Your interpretation of what was stated appears to be in the minority.
      Politicians taking care of us is not and should not in our long term plans

  5. Dave Feliciano

    Congratulations Ms. Yang, its good to be educated, learned, to do sports, because it teaches, rules, boundaries, good sportsmanship. It is also GOOD to acknowledge, being raised in a safe, nurturing, environment, with parents that can provide all of these things.
    Realize that you are in a very very small select grouping of the people of the world. So just as Hamilton, Adams, Washington, the elite of their day. Lead through hard work and compassion. Note NOT Jefferson he was a backstabbing, unrepentant slave owner and much more.
    A little time in the Army wouldn’t hurt. It adds seasoning. Good luck. Remember all, pants suits have feet of clay.

  6. I admire Cayla for moving past the keyboard and into real action to benefit others. That’s the best of the volunteer spirit regardless of party affiliation. Kudos!

  7. Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

    I really hope that we hear from Cayla in response to these comments. I suspect that when Cayla wrote that she always thought the government would take care of us she was not thinking about hand outs. When I read what she wrote I was thinking about government policies that certainly affect all of us. I thought of foreign relations, NATO, trade agreements and deficits, human rights and first amendment rights, and even second amendment rights to name the ones that immediately came to mind . What happens in Washington does impact our lives. We want our politicians to be public servants. We hope and pray that they will act to insure the rights and best interests of all citizens of this country, not just a select few. We also hope and pray that they will act like adults and, when necessary, be able to take the heat of public opinion. I bet Cayla can take the “heat” and I suspect that we will hear positive things about her in the future.

  8. Bravo, Cayla! I cannot believe how many of the people commenting here do not understand what Cayla is saying or doing.

    Like her, many of us are terrified of what the Trump administration says they will do. Remove a woman’s right to own her own body. DeVos will strip the public school education in favor of faith-based schools (we still have separation of church and state in the US, at last look). Flynn is sidling up to the alt-right leaders around the world (while his son actively tweets in favor of them). The Trump boys pay $250000 per pop to shoot beautiful large game in Africa — these animals are corralled for “da boyz” to make it simple for them — no sportsmanship required. Trump kisses up to Putin, a known thug who has Hitler-like aspirations to conquer more land in Europe. Women’s rights/equal pay will be set back to the 1950’s. Black and brown people will become targets for white males. Tens of millions of people will lose their healthcare insurance with no reasonable replacement plan being offered (and Trump said he won’t offer up a plan unless his man Tom Price gets appointed). Etc., Etc.

    There are probably some Trump supporters reading this and saying, “So what, this country needs some of this stuff” because white males are feeling oppressed these days. You probably voted for him because you think he is a “strong man.” He’s not. He’s all huckster and entertainer. And he’s not a good businessman, either. Anyone who grew up in NYC knows what he is. Anyone who saw him doing his “thing” at Studio 54 knows. Anyone who has been manhandled by his goons knows what kind of autocrat he will be. And, let’s not forget how he is raping the taxpayer already by renting space in Trump Tower to the “transition team” at $169000/month. How the Secret Service is paying for space — in four locations (NYC, NJ, FL, DC). How his family will line their pockets with every tweet and visiting dignitary. How Kellyanne Conway tells us not to listen to his words but to “see what’s in his heart.”

    All I can say is “Go Kayla” and I’ll be with you on your journey. I’ve been there before and hopefully can lend some historic perspective to this new fight.

  9. Krystof Bondar

    The election is over, the talking is done
    Your party lost, my party won
    So let us be friends, let arguments pass
    I’ll hug my elephant, you kiss your ass

    • Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

      One of the first things I learned when I was a new professional, just out of college, way back in the dark ages of 1962 was, …… never assume, it makes an @#% out of U and ME. Please do not assume that everyone here who is standing with, or behind Kayla is a Democrat and are doing so because they lost. I know many Republicans who are aghast at what is happening. If you grew up in Westport or live there now look around you. There is the Ruth Steinkraus Bridge, the Bedford Schools, library , YMCA, Greens Farms Academy, Staples High School and many more. Oh, Don’t forget the Minuteman you drive by on your way to relax at Compo Beach. All those are icons to people who gave back to their country. We have many in leadership or who will be in leadership in this Country who have no idea of what giving back is or what the word sacrifice means. I wish I could have another five minutes with Lucy Bedford, Cunningham, Warren. I have a good idea of what she might be saying right now.

      • Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

        OOPS! That should have been Cayla. My apologies for the miss spelling of your name.

  10. Thumbs up, Cayla!!
    (The snarks of ‘06880’ give Twitter snarks a run for their money.)

  11. YOUR enthusiasm and intentions are great but I wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about Himes showing interest and support for women’s rights BECAUSE When Himes was asked to pick up where Shays left off re Title IX related sex assaults on USA college campus his office declined, actually emailing to say ‘congressman doesnt want to get involved’. he may very well want to be present to your group for election and donation support that your seeing him might generate for him and his party but as for the sincerity of his support for women’s rights, he isn’t. (Susan Farley)

  12. Julia McNamee

    It could not be more meaningful to see a former student and 20-something begin to take charge of the future of this country. I’m just one of Cayla’s Westport teachers who is so proud of her calm, energy, hard work, courage and strength.

  13. Anne Fernandez

    I will echo @julmac as I, too, taught Cayla at Staples High School. Cayla was then and is now a brilliant, hard-working young woman who (to address some of the earlier comments) was taught in the excellent Westport Public Schools (I now teach in another district, so I hope I’m not accused of tooting my own horn here) to think critically and engage in the world. I’m sure that most of us grew up believing both that the government existed to serve the people and that it actually did so. I’m incredibly proud of Cayla and other Staples grads who have gone on to become politically active and work toward that ideal. To quote our PEOTUS, turning this young activist’s words into something other than that makes me “sad.”

  14. Walker Stevens

    More jabs from the likes of M. Petrino and K Sirico as they skim the site to chime in with the usual cantankerous negativity. “Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” Keep up the good work Cayla!