By Andrea Fabián-Checkai

I wish there were a single moment that I could say, “That’s where I found Liberty”. For me, it’s been more of a process. As I’ve grown intellectually over the years, my ideas about liberty have deepened and strengthened, and that’s what makes this fight so addicting.

Though people tend to follow in their parents’ footsteps when it comes to political ideology, I grew up with a conservative father and a liberal mother who both held strong beliefs. It turned out to be an advantage to have parents with contradicting beliefs because I always knew they couldn’t both be right.

With this in mind, I began to read, research, and lean on my peers who just happened to be discovering liberty on their own, even if none of us knew how to define it yet. From early on, I was an avid reader interested in history and philosophy. I had so many questions running through my mind every day about life, and the standard answers I got from people around me failed to satisfy me. My junior year of high school, I was fortunate to have a history teacher who would spend hours talking (and venting) with me, mostly about the state of humanity and the lack of compassion. My interest in human rights started to grow through these talks, as I finally learned the answers to these questions that had plagued me for years (and develop many more).

A key part of me finding liberty was during my high school forensics career. My forensics coach (who understood my love of humanity and respect for our country’s founding documents) told me that if I gave an oratory about the U.S. Constitution, the American Legion could potentially grant me a scholarship for college. As a future college student, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I took scholarships and grants very seriously and ended up getting much of my tuition was covered by scholarships (the rest I paid on my own). During my junior and senior year of high school, I wrote speeches about the Constitution. Initially, I was going to focus these talks on the historical aspect of the Constitution—how it came about, the different compromises made, etc. The more online research I did, however, the more I realized that shedding light on the violations of the Constitution by our own government was something far more pertinent. As I delivered these speeches, I received more and more criticism for being an “alarmist.”

As a young person who had done a lot of work to prepare the content for my speeches about this important topic, I was astonished that instead of sharing my outrage or at least appreciating my interest, judges actually gave me very negative notes—not for my speaking ability, but because they disagreed with me. The government, according to them, was just doing its job.

Thankfully, I was not so easily discouraged. In fact, this is what made me realize that the Constitution is in real danger, and it’s so much more important than just winning a forensics competition.

For college, I decided to move to a new town in Southeast Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Originally, I wanted to major in History and although I didn’t know anyone else there, Whitewater has one of the top history programs in Wisconsin.
After dedicating my freshman and sophomore year to the Whitewater Women’s Rugby Club, I sustained a serious injury. It was a sign that it was time to return to my other interests. Though I remained aware of the issues plaguing our country and our Constitution and continued to be interested in philosophy and meditation, I wasn’t paying as much attention as I thought I should be.

At my school’s Involvement Fair, there was a student group called the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) handing out copies of the Constitution. I was so excited to learn about this group and to talk about real issues with my fellow students. Most of all, I was eager to finally discuss this document I loved so much with people who shared my passion for it.

After the third YAL meeting I attended, the chapter president had announced that he was moving on and that we needed to elect a new president. I don’t know what it was that pushed me to come forward as a candidate, but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.

Fast forward a year later and I am so thankful that I had that intense desire to become chapter president. YAL has introduced me to so many opportunities with other individuals and organizations that strive to promote the principles of liberty every single day. One of those groups, Students for Liberty, named me one of their top campus coordinators in North America this fall.

This work that I do, however, has lately been made even more possible through the support of the Ladies of Liberty Alliance (LOLA). Their focus on empowering and promoting female liberty leaders is of great importance to me and to the success of the entire Liberty Movement. LOLA brings women like me to together to find community, which helps us become stronger individually, as warriors for liberty.