Earlier this month, PFAW staff joined with members and supporters on a call to discuss the proactive steps that PFAW is taking to elevate young progressive leaders and to develop a wellspring of progressive political talent for the coming decades.
“On a lot of these calls, unfortunately, we talk about the ongoing damage that Donald Trump and his enablers are doing to the country,” said Vice President of Communications and Research Drew Courtney at the top of the call. “But I’m glad that today we’re going to be able to talk about something different, and that’s about a program that we’ve launched recently to help take our country back: People For the American Way’s Next Up Victory Fund.”
The Next Up Victory Fund builds progressive power by identifying, recruiting, and supporting young people who want to serve their communities in elected office. Endorsements from the Next Up Victory Fund come with more than financial contributions: they come with access to a community brimming with expertise and enthusiasm for the goal of building a pipeline of progressive public servants who will be well-positioned to lead in the years ahead.
As Political Director Lizet Ocampo said on the call:
“We’ve been involved in electoral politics for many, many election cycles now. We have a track record of political and intellectual expertise that we would love to connect our candidates to, and we also have a history of supporting young progressive leaders. So we are excited to go deep in supporting these candidates and helping to ensure that they win these elections.”
To help illustrate the impact of investing in young progressives, Ocampo turned to the stories of twin brothers Julian and Joaquín Castro from San Antonio, Texas, who trained with People For and went on to become the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the Congressional Representative for Texas’s 20th District, respectively.
“The Castro brothers were part of the first leadership trainings we did for young elected officials about twelve years ago,” Ocampo said. “They’ve really shown what we mean when we talk about building the bench and making long term investments.”
Joining in on the call was Svante Myrick, the 30 year-old mayor of Ithaca, New York, and the director of youth candidate engagement at PFAW. First elected to Ithaca’s Common Council at age 20 and later elected mayor at age 24, he offered insight from his experiences running as a young progressive and emphasized the Next Up Victory Fund’s commitment to recruiting and supporting a diverse slate of candidates:
“Geography and demography are important: we want representation that looks like America. Right now if you look in the halls of Congress, and if you look in far too many city halls, you’ll see the same kinds of faces making decisions for everyone else. So we’re looking for that kind of diversity, but we’re also looking for people who would otherwise be blocked from accessing the power of elected officials… People who have grown up without access to power and privilege—the folks who, once they get into office, are going to stay true to their progressive ideals because they reflect their life values.”
You can support the Next Up Victory Fund by recommending candidates that you think PFAW should support, by donating to help young progressives win elections, by sharing information about the Next Up Victory Fund with your networks, and by looking out for opportunities to volunteer in person or online on the behalf of great Next Up candidates like Justin Fairfax, who is currently running to become the lieutenant governor of Virginia. If you would like more information about the Next Up Victory Fund, please click here.
You can listen to the full telebriefing below: