What Do You Want To Do With Your Life???

| September 23, 2006 - 4:31 am

Tags: progressive, roadtrip


I sincerely believe that who we are is a journey between whom we were, and whom we are called to become--one never finds a calling only in the career you choose, but rather it is found in the PASSION you pursue.


Maryland Primary

| September 8, 2006 - 5:18 pm

Tags: contestation, leadership, progressive

The two viable Democratic Senate candidates in Maryland's primary next Tuesday are US Rep Ben Cardin (Baltimore) and former US Rep and NAACP President Kwesi Mfume. Polls showed them running neck and neck all summer but now Cardin is pulling ahead with recent ads. Normally I'd support someone like Mfume who has headed a key organization like NAACP because of the practical experience that lends. However, if I were in MD I'd support Cardin. He has been an effective liberal legislator for two decades in the House, and has a lot of bipartisan support and influence. As a champion of candidates of color for higher office, I want to support Mfume a lot but something tells me we should go the practical route here. I can't seem to find much about what Mfume accomplished while he served in the House (was elected and began his first term at the same time as Cardin in 1987 but left in 1996 to head the NAACP). I also worry that if Mfume wins the primary nod, he may end up narrowly defeated by the popular Lt. Gov and GOP nominee Michael Steele. Any Mfume supporters out there who can show me the light??? I mean, Paul can you tell me what Mfume did for the NAACP that translate to a promising Senate career? I am dying to be proven wrong on all this. Anyone agree with me but for different reasons. That is a key race that no one seems to be watching. If Mfume wins we will automatically be able the first time in American history two African-Americans will serve in the upper chamber simultaneously.

Sexual Politics: Babies For The American Way?

| August 22, 2006 - 11:53 am

Tags: population, progressive


Is sex and reproduction a necessary component of a long-term political strategy? Today's Wall Street Journal article by Arthur C. Brookes suggests that it is and that Liberals are loosing the baby war.

UN Considering New Multilateral Agency for Women

| August 12, 2006 - 11:43 pm

Tags: civil rights, progressive, women's rights

A position paper advocating the development of a multilateral UN Agency for women was submitted to a UN panel last week. The position paper, entitled "Gender Equality Now or Never," was written by Paula Donavan senior advisor on women's and children's issues in the office of Stephen Lewis, UN Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa.

South Dakota: The New Progressive Frontier?

A new poll
in South Dakota out today says that if the election were held today, South Dakotans would reject a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the state.

After several states handily passed similar amendments in 2004, it would seem that South Dakota could be emerging as a progressive oasis right in the middle of the country.

Well, probably not, but this poll is refreshing news.  When conservative states like South Dakota balk at ballot measure that would have almost certainly passed just two years ago, you know the tide is changing.  Of course, that is not to say you will see gay wedding bells anytime soon in South Dakota, only that the people of middle America are starting to see through and question the hate filled agenda being pushed by conservative Republican extremist.  

* Congrats to those in South Dakota who are leading the fight against the ammendment, including Class of 2005 YP4 Fellow Jon Hoadley who is the campaign manager for South Dakotans Against Discrimination.

Front Line Leaders - Preparing a New Generation


Tallahassee, Florida City Commissioner, Andrew Gillum and Georgia State Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan are the leaders of the Young Elected Officials Network, a program of People For the American Way Foundation.

This weekend they hosted the second of four three-day workshops for the 20 Fellows enrolled in the Front Line Leaders Academy.

The Front Line Leaders Academy works with young, unknown leaders and provides trainings on a wide range of leadership development and political skills.

Each leadership development class of FLLA engages in a series of face-to-face workshops and hands-on, interactive sessions facilitated by successful local leaders and industry experts. The program also involves members of the Young Elected Officials Network who serve as instructors, advisors and evaluators for the Front Line Leaders Academy. Between bi-monthly sessions, Fellows work on training-related assignments and receive customized instruction to further develop their skill set through the internet and conference calls.

Read more to learn more about the program and what the Fellows learned this weekend!

Focus Leadership Recruitment: Community Colleges

For those of you who know Young People For's initial Fellowship Program model, you know we started out focusing exclusively on four-year colleges and universities. In 2006, we started investing in community college students, who tend to be more connected to their communities than four-year college students.  

The make up of community college students is disproportionately comprised of higher percentages of lower-income students, first generation college students, and students of color. Making a strategic investment in and providing appropriate resources to community college students is a critical step to building up strong community leaders and activists.

Did you know?

* 46% of all U.S. undergraduates are enrolled in a two-year or community college: Highly competitive and expensive four-year college admissions make two-year colleges more accessible to students from lower-income and families of color.

* Disproportionately, there are more lower income, students of color on community college campuses than in four-year institutions: Of all African American students in the U.S., 47% are enrolled in a two-year college; of Hispanic, 56% and of Asian/Pacific Islander, 48%.

* Just under half of all students in community college are non-credit, meaning they are attending college for the purpose of advancing their career or education for its own sake.

* Transfer rates to four-year institutions are high, indicating a competitive academic environment that compels students to excel in the classroom and get involved in the campus community.

Progressive Youth Leadership: Getting to Scale

| July 19, 2006 - 11:01 am

Tags: build, campus, conservative, invest, leaders, movement, progressive


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.

Voting Rights Act Secure


Let's not let Republicans take credit for a bill they wanted to kill.  The leadership were sure to drag their feet as long as they could on this bill before pushing it through the house in a matter of hours.

These are my thoughts on why they did it, how it went down, and what it means for the Progressive movement.

Young People: Key to the Elections

| July 10, 2006 - 9:24 am

Tags: progressive, right wing, voter registration

Has everyone read the 2006 report, "A Gift to Democrats: How Democracts Can Win Elections by Making Young People a Top Priority?"? If not, you need to.

We all know the right wing has been focused on the development and cultivation of young people for decades, and that progressives have been behind the curve. The right wing spent nearly $50 million last year on nonpartisan, nonpolitical activities, cultivating its young people - and $200 million over the last four years. People like Karl Rove, Jack Abramoff, and Grover Norquist have emerged from those efforts.  

Even though the right-wing's efforts are tremendous (and changing the face of our public, nonprofit and ideas sectors), young people are the only age group who turned out for the progressive candidate (Kerry) in 2004. We're 60-70 million strong and we're the most diverse generation ever in America.

The report makes clear what a lot of other data also point to:  Young people are a potent political force, and politicians ignore young people at their peril.  What it comes down to is that without young people, you can't win.  The millennial generation is as large as the baby boom generation, and millenials tend to be more politically aware and engaged than their predecessors.  We also tend to be more progressive than the population as a whole.  Listen up everyone: The better that we are at incorporating young people into the progressive movement, the more effective the progressive movement will be.