Meet Emmabella Rudd: Activist for Underrepresented Communities

Meet Emmabella Rudd, a student, activist, advocate and Miss South Tallahassee. Along with being a prominent advocate for underrepresented communities who don’t have the health resources that they need, Rudd is also involved with many other on-campus clubs and organizations here at Florida State University. She is part of the Delta Zeta sisterhood, a Student Senator for SGA, Director of Office Governmental Affairs (OGA) and a member of Service Scholars. Rudd is also a proud Type 1 Diabetic and is the State Lead for FL Insulin 4 All. Majoring in Public Health and International Affairs, there is no doubt that Rudd will play an important role in fighting for sustainable access for anyone who needs supplies or resources for health disabilities.

Her Campus (HC): How have things changed for you during COVID? 

Emmabella Rudd (ER): Leaving my second semester at FSU was hard because I felt like I was preparing myself for this situation. I’m the type of person to walk myself through every type of possibility. Being Type 1, that’s the mindset that you have to have to plan for literally everything. So, when leaving campus I brought every single medical piece home with me because I knew in my gut that we weren’t going to be coming back. It was hard for us students to have to pick up and leave being faced with a pandemic. I think part of my passion is trying to help in every situation I can and it was really challenging the first couple of months to feel complacent remaining in place and staying home. As much as that was ok with me, I felt like I needed to help. I think growing up this past year was realizing that I’m not going to have control over everything—it’s this coming of age story I think for us all. 

HC: The CDC recommended the vaccine for Type 2 Diabetes but never specifically mentioned Type 1, how do you feel about that? 

ER: That came as a shock. I remember hearing about it and, as someone who’s really involved with the community, we were all very infuriated. It’s devastating to see that with everything we’ve been through and considering the fact that insulin is such a hot topic, along with policy and healthcare, it literally is the poster child for pharmaceutical drug price gouging. It’s very hard to see another slap in the face by a group or organization that should know better. Type 1s are at the same compromised level as Type 2s.

protest Photo by Clem Onojeghuo from Unsplash

HC: The work that you do focuses on advocating for sustainable access to supplies, care and insulin for all. Can you elaborate more on these charities and the work that you do? 

ER: Here on a state level I am the State Lead for the Insulin 4 All movement, founded by T1 International. Essentially T1 International advocates on a global scale for both insulin and diabetes supply access in several different countries. My lead team works on legislation and this legislative session, which starts in March, we will be working on capping insulin at $100 for those that aren’t insured so the co-pay cannot exceed $100 in the state of Florida if you are insured. Another bill we will be working on is Kevin’s Law. Kevin, unfortunately, lost his life due to rationing insulin. Another organization I’ve been involved with is JDRF. Their main focus and mission are to treat, prevent and cure. Their advocacy is based on a federal level and I’ve really gotten my knowledge and confidence from working on that level. Our team, Emmabella’s believers, has raised over $350,000 for the cure. Also with JDRF, I’ve worked on the Special Diabetes Program; however, this past year I wasn’t able to go to Capitol Hill to advocate which was really disappointing. At the same time, it was really great because we got to advocate virtually and the Special Diabetes Program was renewed. 

ER: There’s a Martin Luther King Jr. quote I resonated with so much within these past few months: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,” and I think it’s so relevant in regard to COVID and the Black Lives Matter movement [when] you think of everything that’s happened on campus this past year. The silence is showing.

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