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African-American game changers and the California Democratic Party: Call to action

June 4, 2010

‘Game Changers: A Celebration of the Founding of the California Young Democrats Black Caucus, Organizing and Engaging a New Generation of Black Political Leaders’ Thursday, June 24, 7-9 p.m., at AIR Lounge, 492 Ninth St., Oakland, plus LA on June 10 and Sacramento on July 7

by Nii-Quartelai Quartey, California Young Democrats Black Caucus

Double-digit unemployment, growing high school drop-out rates, a 33 percent single year tuition fee increase at California’s public colleges and universities, and an elevating HIV/AIDS infection rate with no aggressive local or statewide prevention, education or policy prescription in sight.

Young African-Americans recognize the unintended consequences of inaction and have become increasingly more committed to making sure that government, political campaigns and the Democratic Party are attentive to their needs and issues.

The California Young Democrats Black Caucus has responded to the glaring need for a youth voice and perspective by integrating a new generation of progressive Black leadership within the Democratic Party. The CYDBC endeavors to register, educate and mobilize young Black voters around democratic candidates and ideals as well as to bring issues important to young Black voters to the forefront of the Democratic Party platform.

Voter education and registration drives will be central to all of our activities and affiliations, but not without equally aggressive outreach to elected and non-elected local and state leadership.

Improving the quality of life of African-Americans in California will make all of California’s communities more competitive in the 21st century. Disinvestment from the programs, institutions and opportunities for social and economic innovation cannot go for the norm in Sacramento or quite frankly in the next California state budget.

Simply put, our current political system is failing to sufficiently address some of California’s most significant social and economic challenges of the 21st century and kicking the can down the road for another generation to address.

Some call us Millennials – others call us Generation Change – we are emerging as a reliable progressive force in California politics opting out of the “wait your turn” politics that prevents emerging leaders from pushing through innovative social and economic solutions inside and outside of the halls of elected office.

“In surveys conducted between October 2007 and March 2008, 58 percent of voters under age 30 identified or leaned toward the Democratic Party, compared with 33 percent who identified or leaned toward the GOP. The Democratic Party’s current lead in party identification among young voters has more than doubled since the 2004 campaign, from 11 points to 25 points,” according to an April 2008 Pew Research Center report.

The only way to sustain the momentum gained among under-30 voters is for us to lead inside and outside of the California Democratic Party infrastructure boldly and aggressively if we are to remain a competitive future political force in California for the right reasons.

Learn more about the California Young Democrats Black Caucus online by visiting www.youngdems.org, by becoming a “Friend of the CYD Black Caucus” at www.facebook.com or emailing blackcaucus@youngdems.org. And be sure to join us as we present “Game Changers: A Celebration of the Founding of the CYD Black Caucus, Organizing and Engaging a New Generation of Black Political Leaders” Thursday, June 24, 7-9 p.m., at AIR Lounge, 492 Ninth St., Oakland CA 94607.

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