History and General Information About the Young Democrats of America
The Young Democrats of America (YDA) is the largest youth-led, partisan political organization in the nation. The Young Democrats of America mobilizes young people under the age of 36 to participate in the electoral process to elect Democrats, influence the ideals of the Democratic Party, advocate for progressive issues, and train the next generation of progressive leaders.
The Young Democrats of America has over 150,000 members nation-wide in chapters in 47 states and U.S. territories – including high-school and college students, young workers, young professionals, and young families – Our membership reflects the broad diversity of our nation and the Democratic Party. Participation in the Young Democrats of America gives members the opportunity to network with their peers from across the nation and the opportunity to sharpen their political skills. The Young Democrats of America serves as a coordinating body, a training ground, and a valuable resource for our members. Members get first-hand experience in a wide variety of activities including campaigns and elections, grassroots organizing, fundraising, and issue advocacy. Additionally, Young Democrats help shape the ideas of persons seeking elective office. Sometimes those candidates are members of – or are directly recruited from – the Young Democrats of America and our state and local chapters.
The Young Democrats of America has been the official youth arm of the Democratic Party since its founding in 1932. Although several state organizations preceded the national organization, the Young Democrats of North Carolina, led by Tyre Taylor, can probably claim to be the founding fathers of the Young Democrats of America. In the Spring of 1931, Tyre obtained the names of Young Democrats in other states and sent letters asking them to discuss the idea of a national Young Democratic organization.
On March 4 – 5, 1932, the first national organizational meeting was held in Washington D.C., with delegates from 27 states and the District of Columbia present. One of the first articles of agreement stipulated there should be no distinction in membership and privileges between men and women.
The Young Democratic Clubs of America (YDCA) was formally organized, but later in the year, over 600 people attended the first formal national meeting held at the DNC National Convention in Chicago, IL. Shortly thereafter, the DNC adopted the Young Democratic Clubs of America as the official youth organization of the Democratic Party. The first national convention was held in Kansas City, MO in 1933. Now simply known as the Young Democrats of America, the goals of our organization have remained the same for over 88 years.
In 2002, the Young Democrats of America left the Democratic National Committee (DNC) structure in order to grow the long-term sustainability of the organization and to have control over our own budget, programing, and platform. The Young Democrats of America continues to operated independently of the DNC as a nonfederal 527 political organization, while maintaining 3 positions on the DNC.