This was originally published by WireTap magazine.
October 10, 2008
How will you feel on November 5, 2008?
Chances are, you’ll either be ecstatic or crying hysterically, depending on who wins the presidential election. But as campaign anticipation fades and the reality of a new administration sets in, we’ll be looking for our next president to turn those lofty campaign promises into practical agenda items.
That’s why WireTap, as a member of Generation Vote, is proud to introduce the Youth Agenda. Organizers representing upwards of 1.5 million young people from 20 organizations chose their top eight issues. As the first ever national issues agenda written by youth organizers from around the country, the platform is a national call to action around issues such as education, jobs and healthcare. The goal is to present our issues to the next presidential administration and rally them to take action. Less than two weeks after the election, young people from around the country will meet in Oakland at the Youth Policy Summit to strategize effective actions.
According to Mattie Weiss, Director of Campus Camp Wellstone and GenVote member, “We came to the pretty movement-changing realization that to win on all of these issues, we’ve got to start by winning on one.”
You can get involved, too.
Still need more information? We sat down with Mattie to talk about the significance of the Youth Agenda.
Why did Generation Vote collective decide to create a Youth Agenda?
We decided to create the Youth Agenda to document the issues young people face–and the youth-specific nuances of these issues that aren’t part of the national political conversations. I think the other thing the Youth Agenda does is demonstrate that we not only have a multi-issue understanding of the problems we face, but that we have ideas about where we should be heading.
We talked about having a third paragraph under each issue, in which we outline actual policy solutions to these problems–specific bills and campaigns. But this is a place we’re still developing into. We didn’t want to rush that–so we’re holding that agenda for our post-election work.
What was the process of writing it like?
Writing it was a beast! We went through so many edits and input sessions–we had to make sure all of the GenVote organizations felt represented by it but that it was also succinct and readable. The outcome of the writing process is what’s most exciting to me. By working through which issues to focus on and how to represent them, we came to the pretty movement-changing realization that to win on all of these issues, we’ve got to start by winning on one. Out of this realization we decided that post-election we are going to choose 2-3 policy pieces that all of our organizations will throw their weight behind–even if this isn’t their primary issue–in order to demonstrate the power of young people and to teach ourselves what it looks like to win.