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  • YDA Statement on Violence and Police State in Ferguson, MO

    August 14, 2014

    Atima Omara, President of the Young Democrats of America, responds to the violence and “police state” presence in the wake of the tragic shooting of Michael Brown Ferguson, MO:

    “I am gravely concerned about the current situation in Ferguson that has evolved in response to the Michael Brown tragedy. I am especially concerned at the lack of respect for the rule of law and extensive overreach by our law enforcement in Ferguson.

    The violence in streets needs to stop. I also urge Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to take control of the situation.

    Only then, can an independent Department of Justice investigation determine the truth and ensure justice for Michael Brown.

    It is imperative that civil order be returned and many are rightly concerned that the current law enforcement administration is incapable of achieving that goal.

    Law enforcement overreach, including the detention of citizens like St. Louis alderman Antonio French, and the tear gassing of many more citizens like MO State Senator Maria Chapelle-Ndadal contributes to the community’s distrust of those sworn to ‘protect and serve.’

    These recent abuses are proof that an independent Department of Justice investigation is vital to ensuring justice for Michael Brown.”

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  • Introducing the Rising Star Series: A New Women’s Caucus Initiative

    July 30, 2014

    Introducing the Rising Stars Series: a new initiative of the Women’s Caucus of the Young Democrats of America, highlighting young female candidates nationwide

    “Hundreds, if not thousands, of young women will appear on ballots across the nation this November and are setting the example for future generations of female Democratic leaders”

    – YDA Women’s Caucus Chair Constantina Meis (NJ)

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (July 28, 2014) – At the Young Democrats of America’s (YDA) National Conference in Pittsburgh, the Women’s Caucus announced a new initiative to raise awareness around young female candidates running for office nationwide.

    The Rising Star Series, will feature a national directory of women under age 36 who are candidates for every level of public office. The purpose is to bring attention to young female candidates, to connect them with state YDA chapters and to encourage other young women considering running in the future.

    “Hundreds, if not thousands, of young women will appear on ballots across the nation this November and are setting the example for future generations of female Democratic leaders,” said Women’s Caucus Chair Constantina Meis (NJ). “A key role of the Women’s Caucus is to ensure we support women candidates, while simultaneously developing the next generation of leaders who will someday become mayors, governors, members of Congress and presidents. The Rising Star Series hopes to be a platform for young female candidates to connect and support each other.”

    “As a former Women’s Caucus Chair, I am proud that the Caucus is undertaking this very important program. We need more women, especially young women thinking about and running for public office,” said Atima Omara, President of the Young Democrats of America. “As someone who has sought elected office, it is an intimidating process, however having a network of other young people backing you makes it a lot easier.”

    The Young Democrats of America (YDA) is the nation’s largest youth-led political organization. It is open to Democrats ages 14-35 years old and has chapters all over the country. Representing more than 50 percent of the total membership, the Women’s Caucus provides mentorship and training to hundreds of young female leaders.

    The Rising Star Series will begin in August 2014, with an initial release and other candidates will be rolled out over several weeks. The Series will include a dynamic social media component, to ensure the maximum reach to young Democratic women across the country.

  • YDA International Affairs Director Attends Study Session in Hungary

    July 18, 2014

    This post appears courtesy of Jillian Cardillo, International Affairs Liasion, Young Democrats of America.

    As many of you know, YDA is part of an international organization known as the International Federation of Liberal Youth, or IFLRY for short. IFLRY hosts many events each year, ranging from General Assemblies to study sessions on a variety of topics. I recently attended a study session on conflict transformation, held at the European Youth Center in Budapest, Hungary. The venue is one of two run by the Council of Europe (the other is in Strasbourg, France) that has meeting rooms, hotel-like rooms for sleeping and a dining area, making it an all-in-one location to host a study session.

    This particular study session was focused on conflict transformation. A group of 29 participants from 17 countries and 3 continents worked through this topic, from discussing definitions and perspectives, to looking at and dissecting a case study related to the conflict in Sierra Leone. We also broke in to small groups to do “conflict mapping” of various conflicts around the globe. I worked with representatives from the United Kingdom and France, and the three of us were jokingly called “the UN Security Council” by the participants. We mapped out and analyzed the conflict in Iraq stemming from the Iraq war.

    The study session also included guest speakers from CANVASS, an NGO working to use non-violent means to transform conflict around the world, and the Council of Europe, who had a representative on site to explain their “No Hate Speech” campaign. This campaign is designed to combat hate speech in Europe, and there was a lively debate and discussion on just how far we should go to eliminate hate speech from the public discourse.

    The week-long study session was full of valuable information on conflict transformation, discussion and debate, more than I could possibly get in to one blog post. Of course, there was also time to tour the beautiful Hungarian Parliament, eat some local food and watch lots of World Cup soccer. Overall, this study session was an incredible opportunity to learn more about an important topic and to meet people from various backgrounds and experiences.

  • Ohio Young Democrats Meet with DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Discuss 2014 Campaign Efforts

    July 16, 2014
    OYD and DWS

    Members of Ohio Young Democrats with DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in front of the Ohio Democratic Party Election 2014 countdown clock.

    O-H-I-O Young Democrats are on a roll and starting the groundwork for Democratic victories in 2014!

    Two weeks ago, members of the Ohio Young Democrats (OYD) executive board and the leadership teams from some of Ohio’s local young dem chapters had the honor of meeting with DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. During the 45-minute meeting, which took place at the Ohio Democratic Party’s headquarters in Columbus, OYD members heard about Wasserman Schultz’s story of running for office and her first election at the age of 25. Her message was motivating to all of the current and future candidates in the room.

    During the meeting, OYD President, Gen Murphy, discussed the 2014 OYD campaign plan with DWS. She outlined OYD’s goals for the year which include working with the Ohio Democratic Party to host organizing bootcamps on college campuses, increasing membership by 50%, and supporting the Ohio Democratic statewide ticket and local candidates by knocking on 200,000 doors by the November election.

    The Franklin County Young Democrats (FCYD) President, Jen House, also had the opportunity to speak about the organization. FCYD, which is based in Columbus, is OYD’s largest chapter. Jen highlighted FCYD’s recent successes, which include knocking off an incumbent Republican Columbus School Board member with a first time young dem candidate, Dominic Paretti. Jen also talked about how Columbus is young (the average age is 33), smart and progressive.

    The final speaker of the meeting was Micah Kamrass. Micah is running for state representative in Ohio’s 28th district, one of the top targeted house races in the state. Micah talked about how while at The Ohio State University he was elected student body president, giving him experience representing 50,000 students At OSU, Micah worked on issues pertaining to affordability, safety, and inclusion. He also discussed how hard his campaign is working to win the race and the canvassing and fundraising success he has had thus far.

    The meeting ended with Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz discussing the DNC’s priorities for elections in 2014 and their plans to help Democrats win in Ohio in 2014.

    After the meeting, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz replied to one of OYD’s tweets with the following message: “You’ll #winoh2014! MT @OhioYD: Honored to have the opportunity to meet @DWStweets today to talk about our 2014 plan”

    Learn more about OYD at www.ohioyoungdemocrats.org. Follow them on Twitter @OhioYD and on Facebook at facebook.com/ohioyoungdems.

    This is a part of an on-going series focusing on the work of state and local Young Democrats chapters.

  • NYSYD Responds to Homophobic Young Republican Blog Post

    July 16, 2014

    This post appears courtesy of Mike Corbett, president of the New York State Young Democrats.

    I must express my disappointment on the recent post on the New York Young Republican Club (NYYRC) blog. In the article, the author was angry that the rainbow flag, a longstanding symbol of the LGBT movement, was hanging at a United States Embassy abroad. Although I would not be surprised if the Tea Party elements of the GOP expressed such views, I am quite shocked that the author was a member of my age group, one which, regardless of political affiliation, tends to be more tolerant of our differences.

    According to the author, the problem stemmed from a friend of his visiting the American Embassy in London. While there, the friend took a photo of two rainbow flags draped near the entrance. While I agree such a showing might ruffle some feathers in certain parts of the world, let me reiterate that this was London. Why is this an important fact? Since March 13, legalized same-sex marriage is the law of the land in England.

    The author also seemed upset that the rainbow flag flew at another embassy, but that country is Israel, where a 2009 poll shows that 61 percent support same-sex nuptials, a higher percentage than in recent surveys here in America, where 55 percent of respondents favor legal gay marriage.

    The author added his objection to the high number of gay ambassadors who have been appointed by President Obama. To be honest, I didn’t know whether any of our diplomats were gay. That’s because the sexual orientation of our ambassadors is completely irrelevant to me. The only thing I care about is whether they are qualified to represent the United States abroad. Furthermore, to invoke the name of the late Christopher Stevens in this bigoted diatribe is unconscionable. It almost seems as if the author is insinuating that Ambassador Stevens was killed because he was gay.

    Anyway, the post from the NYYRC blog has been removed. I am hopeful that, regardless of political affiliation, my generation will continue to strive for equality for all Americans.

    Mike Corbett, President
    New York State Young Democrats

  • REMINDER: Pittsburgh Early Bird Registration Closes July 3rd!

    July 03, 2014

    Before finalizing your 4th of July holiday plans, please remember that July 3rd is the deadline for early bird registration for the YDA Summer National Conference in Pittsburgh, PA!

    Tomorrow is also the deadline to make a reservation in the YDA room block at the discounted rate of $125/night.

    See our page at yda.org/pittsburgh for more details.

  • Bangor Daily News Runs Letter by President Omara Critical of Sen. Collins for Backing Repeal of Traffic Safety Regulations

    June 12, 2014

    Drive safe

    A tragic accident killing comedian Jimmy Mack and injuring Tracy Morgan catapulted the issue of trucking safety into the headlines.

    About 169 people are killed in Maine each year in traffic crashes; about 10 percent involve big trucks.

    Now, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is looking to make the roads an even more dangerous place by removing safety regulations preventing truck drivers from working more than 70 hours a week.

    These standards are designed to keep motorists and truckers safe and prevent companies from turning rigs into mobile sweatshops.

    Collins should be working to prevent traffic fatalities, not increasing the likelihood of them. Maine deserves a safety advocate in Washington, not a senator in the pocket of lobbyists.

    Atima Omara
    President, Young Democrats of America
    Arlington, Va.

  • Sign Up for YDA Lobby Day

    June 12, 2014

    On July 9-10, 2014, the Young Democrats of America will be hosting our first national Lobby Day in more than a decade. The young, progressive leaders that make up YDA will converge on Capitol Hill to lobby on issues important to young people including the economy, jobs, net neutrality, LGBTQ equality, pay equity and many others.

    YDA members who pay the $35 registration fee will receive extensive training to maximize their effectiveness on the Hill, as well as Breakfast and Lunch provided by YDA.

    Talking to members of Congress about the issue affecting young people and the issues important to our daily lives is a vital part of our democracy.  Young people don’t have the massive lobbying arms that major companies or the NRA have.  We need to personally go to the Hill and fight back against these corrosive influences on our federal policies.

    Please click here to join YDA President Atima Omara, YDA Issue Advocacy Director James Lewis, and other YDA leaders July 9-10 in Washington DC for YDA Lobby Day. Once you register, you will need to complete a Google form about the issues that are important to you. Please be sure to register for the event, complete the Google form AND Tweet/Facebook that you’re coming.  We will see you at #YDALobbyDay.

    Event Sponsors:
    Atima Omara,
    Rocco Giammaria,
    Dr. L. Kyle Horton,
    James Lewis,
    Michelle Sanderson

  • Remembering Two Great Democratic Women

    June 03, 2014

    In recent days, the America and the Democratic Party lost two crusaders for women and a better America: former DNC Women’s Caucus Chair, Mame Reilly, and Annie’s List Executive Director, Grace Garcia.

    President Atima Omara (VA) and Women’s Caucus Chair, Constantina Meis (NJ) offered these remembrances.

    “I’m saddened to learn of the passing my good friend and mentor Mame Reilly. Mame was a tireless champion for women in our Party and society; the hundreds of women and men she mentored are prepared to take on the charge of electing those candidates to public office who will fight for civil rights, equal pay and reproductive justice.”

    - President Atima Omara (VA)

    “It is with deep sadness that I have learn that the Executive Director of Annie’s List, Grace Garcia, has passed away in an accident on Monday. Ms. Grace Garcia was a passionate and visionary leader and she will be missed. We should continue to pay tribute to her life by continuing to support the work of Annie’s List and support women across Texas. Thoughts and prayers to the her family, friends and all those that cared and work with her; to the Texas Young Democrats, my condolences.”

    - Constantina Meis (NJ), Women’s Caucus Chair

  • Young Progressive Leaders Top “40 Under 40” List

    May 21, 2014

    Democratic Leaders’ Work Shows Importance of Continued Youth Leadership in Politics Moving into 2014 Mid-Term Elections

    Washington, DC – May 21, 2014 – News Release – Each day this week, the Washington Post has released the names of honorees on its “40 under 40” list, which highlights nine young Democratic state legislators. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and the Young Democrats of America have joined to celebrate those young, Democratic state legislators who have been honored.

    “Across our country, young people are taking up the call to public service, getting elected and writing legislation that helps middle class families, students, and all underrepresented Americans,” said Atima Omara, President of the Young Democrats of America. “When young people take on the challenge of public service, a new and important voice is introduced to our civil discourse, and these nine legislators are the perfect example of what progressive young people can do to improve their communities.”

    “Young elected progressives are leading the fight for middle class Americans in the halls of state capitols across this country,” said Michael Sargeant, Executive Director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC). “The advances made by these unsung leaders are often overshadowed by Washington DC politics, but these are the young visionaries who are making a real impact on their constituents’ day-to-day lives.”

    The list included:
    • Alaska state Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins
    • Colorado Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino (also a DLCC Board Member)
    • Colorado state Representative Crisanta Duran
    • Maine state Senator Emily Cain
    • Montana state Senator Kendall Van Dyk
    • Nevada state Assemblywoman Lucy Flores
    • North Dakota state Representative Kylie Oversen
    • Washington state Representative Cyrus Habib
    • Wisconsin Senate Democratic Leader Chris Larson

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