Lindsey Ellefson: Portrait of a protester

New Yorker Lindsey Ellefson recently took part in a protest in Washington D.C. She told us about her experience and offered advice to aspiring protesters.
New Yorker Lindsey Ellefson recently took part in a protest in Washington, D.C.

Lindsey Ellefson is not your average 22-year-old New Yorker. She moved to the city from North Dakota when she was 18, working various part time jobs as well as freelancing as a journalist.

But on Tuesday she dropped all of her commitments to go to Washington, D.C., and take part in a formal protest.

“I made sure that everybody knew in advance that I was going to be gone,” Ellefson said, “and I rode down [to D.C.] on the NARAL Pro-Choice New York bus.”

NARAL Pro-Choice New York took part in a protest Tuesday morning outside the Supreme Court, where the justices were hearing oral arguments from Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts supply store chain. Hobby Lobby is fighting a stipulation in the Affordable Care Act mandating that companies must provide health insurance that covers birth control to women.

Hobby Lobby objects to types of birth control that can cause abortions, which the company claims violate its religious beliefs.

“NARAL Pro-Choice New York is an organization dedicated to making sure that abortion rights are not taken away from women,” Ellefson said, “and they felt like they needed to stage the protest to make sure that women that work at Hobby Lobby or anywhere else that could be affected … are backed up and know that they have support, and that there are people out there who are not going to let their fundamental rights to health coverage be taken away.”

NARAL Pro-Choice New York wasn’t the only organization demonstrating that day. “There were about 40 groups on our side, and there were at least a few hundred people protesting,” she said.

It was cold and snowy in the nation’s capital on Tuesday, but that did not discourage the demonstrators.

“Planned Parenthood distributed beanie caps,” Ellefson recalled. “We jumped up and down when we were chanting to make sure we kept our blood flowing.”

Of course there are two sides to this issue, so there were demonstrators present in favor of Hobby Lobby’s case.

“We definitely outnumbered the other side, but they were pretty passionate,” Ellefson said. “At one point they crept into our area and held signs behind us with terrible pictures of mangled fetuses.”

Not to be discouraged, Ellefson’s group took action. “None of us were tall enough to hold our signs over their signs, so we got hoisted up [onto people’s shoulders] to wrap a banner around their signs. That was definitely the most meaningful part of my day.”

One might think that in the age of social media, people are too lazy to actually attend a protest, but Ellefson believes just the opposite.

“[Protests] have been rejuvenated because of social media,” Ellefson said. “It isn’t just something that’s going to be covered on the evening news or in the next day’s paper. It’s something that people are going to see updated live on their phones, computers and tablets. We all were there under the hashtag #NotMyBossBusiness so the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NARAL New York, The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, etc. came together under this hashtag to promote what we were doing.”

When asked what advice she’d give aspiring protesters, Ellefson said, “I think that it is important, if you have a belief, that other people are aware. The people that you associate with will understand that you believe in something, and it might inspire people.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Protesters say new Met Opera is anti-Semitic

Protesters, including a former mayor and governor, gathered outside of the Metropolitan Opera on Monday afternoon to protest the opening of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

Local

Brooklyn girl's death ruled a homicide

The New York City Medical Examiner has ruled the death of a Brooklyn toddler a homicide. Jeida Torres, 3, was found bruised and unresponsive Saturday…

Local

New York City continues to prepare for Ebola…

New York City continues to prepare for the possibility of Ebola. There have been numerous scares, but no confirmed cases. Representatives from about 150 unions…

Local

NYPD nabs alleged serial bank robber

  The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for multiple Manhattan bank robberies this month. Police have arrested a Brooklyn man they…

Entertainment

We the Economy: Morgan Spurlock's new crusade

If Morgan Spurlock gets his way, you won't be able to avoid We the Economy, the series of 20 shorts films curated by the "Super…

Arts

3 Parody plays lampoon your childhood, adulthood and…

Whether you loved the source material or you're going in blind, these parody plays have something for every audience member. We rate three of NYC's hottest satirical shows.

Gossip

Who has more power: Harry Styles or Amal…

Amal Clooney comes in fourth on The Evening Standard's Most Influential Londoners list.

Music

#AskPaul McCartney reveals his love of American pop…

For an Englishman, Paul McCartney's pop culture tastes would fit right in stateside. The former Beatle (@PaulMcCartney) revealed that he has a real thing for…

NFL

John Idzik: 'We did a ton of background'…

Given John Idzik spent the previous five years with the Seahawks before he joined the Jets last January, there is a comfort level for the organization.

NFL

Jets add sizzle to struggling passing game with…

The Jets’ trade for Percy Harvin may have an air of desperation on the surface, but at 1-6 this season is hanging only by a thread.

NFL

Jason Pierre-Paul: 'We've got to regroup' during bye…

“We’ve got to regroup and figure out what went wrong,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “When we come back, we want to be a great team.”

NFL

Breno Giacomini: Media blowing up Golden Tate-Percy Harvin…

According to Breno Giacomini, the fight between Golden Tate and Percy Harvin during Super Bowl week was over by the time the lineman turned around.

Education

Is a 'gap year' after high school for…

It’s a familiar script that millions of students follow each year: Graduate high school and then immediately start college. But more and more students are…

Parenting

New news about Kate Middleton's pregnancy

The Palace released a statement about Kate Middleton's pregnancy.

Parenting

Cool book for kids: 'The Princess In Black'

"The Princess In Black" will change the way girls view princesses.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…