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 — 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.
“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)