This weekend, as a YDA officer I had the opportunity to attend the Alabama Young Democrats “Anti-Poverty” Conference. The kick-off was the start of a YDA Southeast region-wide initiative, to ease the burden of poverty in a part of the country that has always struggled a bit more with economic opportunity and has been hit the hardest by the Great Recession.
According to a Census Bureau Report, the Southeast region is the only region in the US to show "statistically significant" increases in the both poverty rate and in the number living in poverty. In 2009, the Southern poverty rate was 15.7 percent. In 2010, 16.9 percent of Southerners were considered to be in poverty. Other regions saw little difference between 2009 and 2010, the report said.
Why kickoff in Alabama? According to Alabama Possible, a program from the Alabama Poverty Project, Alabama is the 6th poorest state in the US and the hungriest state. More than 1 in 6 Alabamians live in poverty.
This type of poverty greatly affects young people and their chances of gaining employment, keeping employment, and getting financially ahead in life.
As part of their Anti-Poverty Conference, the Alabama Young Democrats had their constituency caucuses meet. Additionally, some officers presented a workshop on saving Medicaid for many low-income Alabamians in need, a workshop on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act specifically as it applies to women’s health, and a discussion around the causes of poverty.
It was great to see fellow Young Democrats take on this work especially since Millennials have been hit the hardest by this sour economy. While we work to elect Democrats across the country, it is always important to be an advocate and teach others to be an advocate on the issues most important to our generation.
Young Democrats of America