Nearly five years ago, I came to People For the American Way Foundation with the goal of building a nationwide program to support young progressive leaders — to identify and prepare them for lifetimes of leadership in the movement — as campus activists, community organizers, business leaders, philanthropists, nonprofit directors, campaign directors and elected officials.
I found this purpose especially critical given the strategic investment the radical right had been making in young conservative leaders for the past 30 years. I wanted a chance to build our own thriving network of young progressives to fill the statehouses, the halls of Congress, the executive branch and the courts — to support the community leaders, skilled organizers, academics and media personalities that will help shape the public debate and create positive social change.
From the start, Young People For has been committed to supporting the next generation of leadership. To that end, over the last year I have been transitioning my leadership at Young People For to a trusted, capable and exceptional staff now led by Shaunna Thomas. This quarter, in culmination of that transition, I am stepping down as director of Young People For.
[ Read the rest of Iara’s letter ]
The Federal Courts at a Crossroads: Our Rights and the Courts’ Future at Stake in an Election Year, a free online course organized by People For the American Way and YP4, is now in progress. The future of our federal judiciary — particularly the Supreme Court — will effectively be on the ballot in November when voters choose the next President and new class of senators. This course explains why every American should care about who sits on the federal courts, and what’s at stake during an election year.
[ See what’s next ]
We’re hiring for four new positions, all based in New York City. Please forward to your networks. Fellows and movement allies are strongly encouraged to apply.
YP4 fellows are taking their impact global. From travels in South America, Africa, China and India to internships at progressive organizations across the United States, this summer is shaping up to be a busy one! Check out where fellows are this summer and share stories on the YP4 Blog.
Check out the newest Blueprints for Social Justice: PSU Online Voter Reg System, Michigan Voter Engagement Project, A Foundation for Youth, and Building Community Esteem.
[ Explore all Blueprints for Social Justice ]
Ito Osaigbovo (pictured), fellowship class of 2007, is currently a senior fellow participating in the Internship Program. Having just graduated from Howard University, Ito is using her Internship Program stipend to work with the New Orleans Survivor Council. When Katrina first struck, Ito teamed up with YP4 fellows Kari Fulton and Kamaria Moir to have their campus chapter of Amnesty International submit a resolution to Amnesty International demanding an independent investigation into the response to the disaster. Since that resolution was passed, Ito has been organizing alternative spring break trips for fellows from Howard and neighboring campuses to assist in the recovery. Congratulations, Ito, on turning your campus activism into the beginning of a professional career creating change in New Orleans!
Rebecca Young, a 2006 YP4 fellow from Florida State University, recently started as a membership assistant in the development department of People For the American Way Foundation. While at Florida State University, Rebecca was actively involved in a variety of student organizations including the Progressive Student Assembly, FSU College Democrats, the Student Government Association and the Pride Student Union. Rebecca earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and will be pursuing a master’s degree in political management at George Washington University. Welcome!
YP4 fellows selected for Front Line Leaders Academy!
Congratulations to our fellows who have been selected for Front Line Leaders Academy, PFAWF’s campaign training program: Caitlin Boland (2008), Emily Brooks (2008), Bianca Garcia (2007) Katie Kramer (2007), Quiana McKenzie (2008), Baber Mohammed (2007), Aaron Moreno (2008), Kendal Nystedt (2008), Maya Torralba (2008) and Bernardita Yunis (2007).
Dennis Nelson: Dennis is wrapping up his placement at People For the American Way Foundation, where he works on the African American Ministers in Action program. Having done excellent work during his placement, Dennis is staying on as Outreach Coordinator for African American Religious Affairs. In this video, Dennis talks about his work with communities of faith and how YP4's Leadership Academy can support different kinds of leaders in today's movement. Dennis also highlights his experience working with his mentor Andrew Gillum, director of the Young Elected Officials Network.
[ Watch the video ]
Recruitment update for the Leadership Academy
More than 65 young progressive leaders from around the country, including 40 YP4 fellows, applied for the Leadership Academy, YP4’s in-depth leadership development experience for emerging professionals. Our selection team has finished reviewing written applications and is now interviewing candidates. Final selections for the program will be announced June 20. Stay tuned to learn more about this exciting new class of fellows!
Profiles of Matt Segal, founder of the Student Association for Voter Empowerment (SAVE), and Kevin Killer, who has been a 2006 fellow, 2007 Front Line Leaders Academy graduate and winner of the Front Line Leaders Academy election. Plus, Penn State fellows form coalitions, Leadership Academy fellow Jeremy Bearer-Friend works toward gender justice in prisons and YP4 program director Shaunna Thomas speaks in Cambridge.
[ Read the news coverage ]
We’re proudly supporting a number of conferences this summer. We’ll be at the Campus Progress National Conference on July 8. And in August we’ll head to Las Vegas for the National Hip Hop Political Convention.
Here are more events you might like to know about. You can also find events on YP4’s site and at the Center for Progressive Leadership.
2008 ACLU Membership Conference: Stand Up For Freedom (Washington, D.C., June 8–10)
Minneapolis: Getting Heard this Election Season: What Stands Between the Public and a True Story? (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Power Vote MEGA Training Camp
From August 11–17, Energy Action Coalition and its partner organizations will host a MEGA Camp, a large-scale training program to equip youth leaders with the skills and resources necessary to run a large scale Power Vote field campaign. The goal is to bring innovative strategies to the grassroots and to train a powerhouse team of organizers prepared to train thousands more young people, building an unstoppable ground force this November and beyond.
Sierra Student Coalition's Student Environmental Leadership Trainings
Led by the nation's top student organizers, these week-long sessions happening all over the country are the perfect place to develop effective groups and tackle serious environmental issues.
[ More climate-related summer opportunities ]
The Leadership Academy Commencement Dinner
Last Wednesday, the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy marked the end of their final retreat and their 11-month program with a commencement ceremony in New York City. Stay tuned for pictures.
Video contest: “What are you doing for civil rights today?”
The National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights is launching a YouTube contest called “Civil Rights 2.0.” They ask you to create a 30-second-to-two-minute video in response to the question, “What are you and your generation doing for civil rights today?” Join a conversation about what civil rights look like today, and what role civil rights, and the courts, play in our lives.
Here is a clip from the campaign’s last contest, which was judged by a panel of notable civil rights advocates: http://youtube.com/watch?v=wCbet0-jyYA.
[ Learn more ]
Free training: New Organizing Institute’s Organizers Summits
New Organizing Institute is holding a series of two-day Organizers Summits around the country this summer in order to train young people in both traditional and new organizing techniques and technologies. The training will cover a range of topics and approaches to organizing, including the best strategies from offline organizing and the newest technologies for online organizing.
Trainings are taking place in Michigan, Pennsylvania, D.C., Washington/Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Don't miss this chance to receive an all-expenses-paid training from top experts in the field!
[ Apply today! ]
2008 YP4 fellow Matt Popek is a rising senior at Penn State University. He is a founding member and current president of Represent Penn State, a nonpartisan student voter registration and get-out-the-vote organization. 2006 fellow Trey Thomas is founder, former chair, and current technology coordinator for Represent Penn State. Matt and Trey spoke with us recently about how Represent Penn State is changing the way students register to vote.
[ Read the interview ]
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Congress, CARP at mga Kasama (Jude Paul Dizon, 6/11)
Supreme: almighty, most powerful, last recourse, top of the heap (Carol Crooks, 6/10)
"Democracy" in the American Continent. Voting System Needs Major Changes (Sandra Lugo-Camacho, 6/10)
Thoughts on the Third 2007–2008 Leadership Academy Retreat (Aliza Bartfield, 6/9)
On the Eve of Electoral Battle: a Warning, and a Call to Action (Patrick St. John, 6/9)
[ Join the conversation ]
Young People For, based in New York City, is hiring a leadership associate, leadership coordinator, communications associate and communications director. Join us!
People For the American Way Foundation has internships available and is hiring for several development positions.
Future 5000, a project of the Generational Alliance, is hiring a project director.
Roosevelt Institution is hiring a director of media and online communications as well as several other positions.
United States Student Association is looking for interns.
Work for Progress is hiring a canvass director and organizer.
Who should be a YP4 fellow?
Who are the innovative and promising college student leaders in your life? Nominations play a crucial role in our fellowship search process. Anyone can nominate a fellow. Self-nominations are appropriate and encouraged.
[ Learn more and nominate a future fellow ]
Right wing watch on campus
Pundits protest students and faculty protesting the conferral of Phyllis Schlafly’s honorary degree, a principal resigns in response to the creation of a gay-straight alliance, a conservative group concludes that commencement speakers are disproportionately left-leaning... it’s been a busy month.
[ Read more on the YP4 Blog ]
[ Share your stories ]
YP4 staff updates
Iara Peng, YP4’s founder and director, is stepping down at the end of June. We wish her all the best.
Welcome our summer interns: Kathryn Fitzgerald, Dan Klein, Renia Morant, Rocky Otoo, Amira Rahim, Jason Richberg and Stephany Warner.
[ Meet the YP4 team ]
Watch videos, upload your YP4 pictures and more! YP4’s on Facebook, YouTube, Future 5000... you name it.
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