Disclaimer: Content on the YP4 blog does not necessarily reflect the views of Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation. The views, ideas, statements or claims posted on this site by members of the public cannot in any way be attributed to either Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation.
This is a hot issue now and many people are chiming in. I would just like to piggy back off of the early post titled : A Response to All Hip Hop Apologists. Hip Hop is a topic that is drawing together as well as dividing people. Imus, Al Sharpton, Anderson Cooper, Oprah Winfrey, Snoop Dogg, Cam'ron, Russell Simmons, you, me, and your neighbor are all caught up in this 'issue.' Hip Hop is something that touches us all no matter what your ethnic background, home situation, or city dwelling. Hip Hop consumes you no matter what to think, no matter what you listen to, no matter where you come from.
Last year alone, the Radical Right invested $48 million in 10 primary youth organizations working to support the next generation of ultra-conservative leaders.
Recent examples of this investment in action include campaigns against college courses that conflict with the right-wing agenda, as well as a circulated "blacklist" of more than one hundred college professors accused of making "anti-American" statements. Additionally, the Radical Right has sponsored workshops with titles such as, "How to Stop Liberals in Their Tracks," and ensures that these students have internships, fellowships, and jobs waiting for them when they graduate.
The conservative investment in leadership development over the past 30 years has paid off. A powerful network of young ultra-conservatives fill the state houses, the halls of Congress, the executive branch and the courts; they are supported by community leaders, skilled organizers, academics and media personalities that help dominate the debate. The leaders in whom they have invested in are familiar names in the public dialogue.
In 1970, a man named Karl Rove was head of the National College Republicans. In 1981, Grover Norquist took the reins. And in 1983, it was Ralph Reed.
Progressive forces have not matched the growing presence of the Right on campuses--and it is critical that we do so. It's not a matter of starting from scratch, but of catalyzing and supporting the untapped potential of young progressive leaders and sustaining their connection to and increasing their roles within the progressive movement.
It has become imperative to focus our attention on leadership development as a critical issue in the larger effort of strengthening the progressive movement.
Scaling up nascent leadership development programs is central to addressing the changing ideological shifts of young people, the lack of effective opportunities to reach young people and the need to build a sustainable, long-term progressive leadership pipeline within a current climate of shrinking resources.