Something the planners of the Democratic National Convention seem to be getting very right is the selection of top-notch speakers, which include some of the strongest progressive voices in national politics and reflect the ever-increasing diversity of America. Communities of color, the LGBT community, disabled and Native communities, and young people are all represented.
Activist leaders and various everyday heroes are taking the stage to speak simultaneously to the vast diversity of American experiences and the common needs and values, hopes and desires, that unify us as one people.
Included in the impressive list of speakers are several dynamic young elected leaders, and among them, some very familiar faces to the People For family. And we could not be prouder.
Mayor Andrew Gillum
Andrew Gillum, 37, is the mayor of Tallahassee, Florida. He has repeatedly set the example for unapologetic progressive leadership, and was included in Huffington Post’s “50 Young Progressive Activists Who Are Changing America.” He is the youngest person to ever be elected to the Tallahassee City Commission, assuming that office at the age of 23.
Andrew is the national Director of Youth Leadership Programs for PFAW’s affiliate, People For the American Way Foundation (PFAW Foundation).
US Rep. Joaquin Castro
Joaquin Castro, 41, uses his strong progressive voice to superbly represent the people of Texas’s 20th District in the US Congress.
Both Joaquin and his twin brother Julian -- the current US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, former mayor of San Antonio, and keynote speaker of the 2012 Democratic convention -- were charter members of PFAW Foundation’s nonpartisan Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, which works to nurture the leadership abilities and provide a supportive nationwide network to America’s young progressive elected officials.
Colorado Rep. Crisanta Duran
Crisanta Duran, 35, is the Majority Leader of the Colorado House of Representatives and one of America’s boldest progressive champions in such an influential state-level leadership position.
Crisanta is also an active member of PFAW Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network.
This is just a small sampling of the growing number of young progressive champions running for and winning elected office at every level around the country.
Be on the lookout for live or recorded speeches from all of these excellent young leaders, and you will no doubt find inspiration and hope about the future of our movement.
We will try to obtain video clips after the speeches to embed in this post as updates. So stay tuned!
Update 1: Mayor Andrew Gillum's 2016 DNC speech: