Democratic Socialists for America collect hygiene products for homeless in response to Charlie Kirk event

Audrey Weiss

The Democratic Socialists of America collected hygiene products for the homeless population in Fort Collins as an act of protest against Charlie Kirk’s “Smashing Socialism” event at Colorado State University Friday night.

Toiler Paper USA sign
As a response to the overall negative interactions between conservative organization Turning Point USA and the Fort Collins community, the Fort Collins Democratic Socialists of America hosted “Toilet Paper USA,” an event designed to collect high demand toiletries for the homeless community in Fort Collins. The organization plans to distribute the collected products directly, along with other organizations such as “Support the Girls – Fort Collins” and “Homeless Gear.” (Robert Scarselli | Collegian)

Ryan Mcnally, the event coordinator of Toilet Paper USA, said he thought protesting was a good way to respond to the “Smashing Socialism” event, but he also wanted to give back to his community for a political cause. 

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“We thought, one, we can make fun of them with literally just the name of our event, and two, do something beneficial for the community,” Mcnally said. “The folks that associate with Turning Point are absolutely worth protesting, but maybe we can do something else alongside protests that will actually benefit this community in a concrete way. We want to create a world that we want to live in right now to the best of our abilities.”

According to Julie Rowan-Zoch, a local illustrator and Fort Collins resident of 19 years who has worked with DSA since the end of last year, the group is trying to be a positive force in the community and is working towards raising awareness and involvement.

“We just thought we’d do something positive instead of just demonstrating against them, so we’re in solidarity with the homeless of Fort Collins,” Rowan-Zoch said.

DSA worked with many organizations, including Fort Collins Rescue Mission, Homeless Gear, and Support our Girls. They collected donations both online and in-person.

DSA received nearly 578 rolls of toilet paper, 85 boxes of feminine hygiene products, 210 adult diapers, 163 razors, 100 tooth brushes, 153 bars of soap, 33 sticks of deodorant, 89 nail clippers, 14 bottles of baby powder, 34 tissue packs, 13 bags of wipes, 16 bottles of sunscreen, six tubes of chapstick, and $60 in monetary donations.

Haley Ratclif, a member of DSA, said she supported the act of solidarity of giving back to the community in a strategic way.

“I think different forms of activism is really crucial for diverse needs of the community, whether you do want to protest, whether you want to go to a rally, I think this is a great way to show solidarity,” Ratclif said.

Ratclif said she thinks DSA’s intention is to make sure the values of the community align with elected officials’ values.

“I think we’re almost infiltrating the party and pushing it toward the left, that way the ideals that I hold are represented in office,” Ratclif said.

Editor’s note:  A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the organization Support the Girls as Support Our Girls.

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Collegian reporter Audrey Weiss can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Audkward.