On January 11, YAL was excited to announce our most ambitious project to date: Year of Youth (YoY), an effort to identify, train, and mobilize thousands of youth activists for a massive wave of youth campaigns across America in 2012.
With your help, we will organize an army of principled activists to join our cause and make 2012 the year that the world realizes the youth of America is not apathetic, indifferent, and ignorant, but rather energetic, impassioned, and informed.
But that involves more than just saying we're active—it means getting involved and actually doing the hard work necessary to make it happen. The first Year of Youth training debuted at CPAC 2011, where it was a huge hit! In fact, the speaker left the event with a crowd of about 50 students following him through the halls of the conference, asking questions about how to succeed in the political process and hangining on his every word!
To start the spring semester strong, YAL organized a nationwide recruitment drive, offering chapters activism kits filled with books, magazines, DVDs, stickers, and other awesome stuff from other liberty organizations which share YAL's philosophy and goals.
To encourage participation, YAL also organized an activism contest for the most creative and effective recruitment efforts! Here are the winners:
Young Americans for Liberty's enthusiastic supporters swept Congressman Ron Paul to a second straight victory in CPAC’s influential presidential straw poll! With your support, these students were able to establish his potential candidacy as a real force during 2012 cycle, especially amongst the youth.
This victory clearly demonstrated the next generation of political activists want honest, principled leadership, not spendthrift politicians expanding the welfare/warfare state at taxpayers' expense.
“I think Ron Paul’s ideas resonate with young people because he is the only candidate with substantive ideas. We are not fooled by the same old talking points and hollow rhetoric,” said Cuylor Reeves, YAL's Mississippi State Chair and current Iowa Regional Director for Ron Paul's 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee.
Thanks to you, YAL recruited more than 700 pro-liberty students through its growing network whose votes made Paul's victory possible.
Here are just a few facts and figures from this year's CPAC. You made possible a remarkable liberty presence at this important event:
Thanks to your support of Ron Paul's r3VOLution, Young Americans for Liberty was far and away the dominant student organization at CPAC, fielding the single largest student contingent of the entire conference.
At the beginning of March, YAL announced "Visualize the Debt"—a nationwide effort to inform college students about the dangers of our national debt, recruit new members to our network, and earn media attention for this vital issue. In the coming weeks, Washington elites will vote to once again raise the debt ceiling for the 75th time in 50 years.
As a result of the hard work and activism, 78 YAL chapters in 32 states took action. This is YAL's largest nationwide activism project to date and a testament to the growing size and strength of YAL's network.
The spring semester saw the release of two new issues of YAL's official magazine, Young American Revolution (YAR). YAR is the premier publication for young libertarians, conservatives, and anti-statists of all stripes.
Each issue contains the best political, cultural, and economic writing by a rising generation of young Americans fighting the welfare/warfare state—alongside essays and reviews by seasoned veterans of the liberty movement.
The sixth and seventh issues of YAR printed this spring were some of our most exciting issues yet! The sixth issue came out just in time for CPAC 2011, where it was well received by almost all attendees. Thousands of copies were distributed to eager conference-goers, and thousands more were mailed to YAL's growing network of chapters to get out the liberty message on campus.
The seventh issue focused primarily on our growing national debt and the role our reckless foreign policy has played in the American government plunging $14 trillion in the red. With input from Rep. Ron Paul, Sen. Rand Paul, Americans for Tax Reform's Grover Norquist, Dr. Tom Woods, and many more liberty notables, this issue paired thoughtful policy discussions with fresh reports of YAL's campus activism!
This spring, Ron Paul took to the road for a Spring Campus Tour organized by Young Americans for Liberty at five different college campuses. Several of the schools he visited were located in key primary states, and the YAL chapters there worked hard to convince Rep. Paul to visit them, gathering thousands of petition signatures. Here are the dates and names of the five schools Ron Paul visited this spring:
3.24.2011 — University of New Hampshire
3.28.2011 — North Carolina State University
4.20.2011 — Mississippi State University
4.21.2011 — Florida State University
4.28.2011 — University of Nevada-Reno
Below is a brief report of each campus visit.
University of New Hampshire
Ron Paul packed the house with a crowd of 600 people.
The day North Carolina State hosted Congressman Paul was the kick-off of Visualize the Debt—and what a way to kick it off! YAL members used their giant debt display and painted their campus' "free speech tunnel" to promote the event with Ron Paul to their fellow students.
Brady Nemeth, chapter president, was well-prepared for the event, confirming the press availability, reception, and the speaking venue were all secured and ready to go. While setting up the speaking venue, Brady noticed that the 44-foot long debt display could be placed in front of the stage so as to build a buzz while people entered the venue.
Driving to the airport, the Congressman joked about how only 30 people may show up. Joking or not, he could not have been more wrong on the actual number of attendees. As supporters arrived at the reception 45 mintues before the speech, several hundred people lined up outside the main room, waiting for the doors to open. The original 1,000 seats were quickly taken, so 200 additional people filled out the remaining space—it was a standing room-only crowd.
The morning of Ron Paul's speech at MSU began with the sound of thunder and reports of lightning splitting the runway at the local airport. Despite the later appearance of a funnel cloud and dime-sized hailstones, bad weather couldn't damage Starkville's enthusiasm for liberty.
Rep. Paul's book signing and press conference before the speech were both well-attended, though the tornado warnings drove a number of students looking for refuge into the press event room as well. After the press was done asking questions, however, the students in the room applauded Dr. Paul for his honest and principled answers.
The weather finally lightened up enough for everyone to walk over to Bettersworth Auditorium to take their seats in anticipation of hearing Ron Paul's speech. Despite the inclement weather, the 1,100-seat auditorium was filled to capacity.
The speech started with YAL's "I Pledge" video to encourage the audience to get involved with Young Americans for Liberty. Short introductions followed from founder of the Mississippi State chapter and current employee of the Campaign for Liberty, Matt Burrow, and current chapter president, Ben Weinberg. Finally the guest of honor spoke and was greeted with a warm Mississippi welcome. Rep. Paul's speech touched on many issues, including the Federal Reserve and economic climate, the multiple wars in the Middle East, civil liberties, and the recent ordinance in Starkville which requires those riding bicycles to wear a helmet.
As soon as he arrived in Florida, Ron Paul headed for the day's book signing. He was greeted by a growing mass of people eager to have him sign copies of his latest book, Liberty Defined.
After nearly 200 people got their books signed, it was on to the press conference, where there were twice as many members of the press as had been at Miss State since the weather was not hindering anyone's ability to travel. The usual questions were asked about his possible candidicy for the White House, his views on economics, and the multiple wars the United States finds herself committed to.
The reception was next on the agenda. Congressman Paul briefly spoke to an attentive crowd and answered a few questions concerning education, historical misconceptions, and how the youth will lead a more peaceful and free tomorrow. Guests were then allowed to take pictures with Rep. Paul and exchange business cards to form a stronger libety network within Florida.
As the main event began, Rep. Paul was introduced, and the beautiful Ruby Diamond Auditorium was filled with more than a thousand people who came to hear the message of liberty. Some of the topics covered in his speech were the failed war on drugs, sound money, and the concept of blowback, concluding with another standing ovation for the Congressman.
Reno was a very successful event put on by the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at UNR. With the added excitement of a possible future candidacy in the air, Dr. Paul arrived at the University of Nevada-Reno for his first appearance on campus since forming a presidential exploratory committee.
Flanked by reporters, video cameras, a healthy crowd of Ron Paul Revolutionaries, and curious students ready for their first encounter with the now-famous Congressman from Texas, Rep. Paul made his way to another book signing.
Ron Paul answered a few questions from the press, saying that in the past he's found a lot of support here in Nevada: "There's been more enthusiasm here than a lot of other places, and I think that's just a spirit that exists here."
His speech covered the potential government shutdown in late April, the budget crisis, and the national debt. He also argued for America to exit the United Nations and repeal the PATRIOT Act.
Paul also addressed another hot topic: gold prices. Congressman Paul said he wants American currency to be tied to the value of gold. He told supporters that America is in the middle of a "really big" crisis right now.
The Congressman spoke to a packed house yet again with a crowd of 600.
Many YAL chapters organized their own events and activism projects on their campuses and communities (in addition to the monthly activism events promoted through YAL's national network). These unique, grassroots projects are especially effective due to their local focus and student-led ingenuity. Below are some highlights from a number of the most active chapters in YAL's network.
Michigan State University YAL hosted an anti-war protest in March: " We read the names of all those killed in the U.S. invasion of Iraq (over 4,700 soldiers), handed out anti-war and libertarian literature, and collected 225 signatures on a petition opposing U.S. foreign intervention, specifically in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan."
YAL at UC-San Diegoheld a mock funeral for our civil liberties to protest the renewal of the PATRIOT Act. Their street theater included a processional around campus with a fake coffin to catch the attention of fellow students.
The University of Virginia's YAL chapter created a short video illustrating the philosophy of liberty which they entered in a video contest hosted by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity. Their video ultimately won the contest!
As summer approaches, YAL will build upon these numerous successes and increase our mobilization efforts for campaign season. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels—YAL will work to ensure 2012 is a year of victory for liberty.
Throughout this summer, YAL will focuse on three main objectives:
Ramping up our training and organization in the Year of Youth project to mobilize at least 100 liberty campaigns and candidates and 1,000 youth activists to win on principle in 2012.
Hosting YAL's third annual National Convention, an exclusive five-day event for the top youth activists, candidates, and campaign staffers from across the country—students will receive professional training to work on campaigns, run for office, or mobilize a successful grassroots effort.
Preparing for this fall so we hit the ground running—YAL will continue to expand its growing network and train a new generation to restore our republic.