Press Release: MCYD Responds to the Baltimore Uprising

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Contact: Katie Mullen – katie.mullen@mcyd.org; Nik Sushka – nik.sushka@mcyd.org

Montgomery County Young Democrats Respond to Baltimore Uprisings

We, the Montgomery County Young Democrats, stand in solidarity with the people of Baltimore and we hear their protests calling for justice. The death of Freddie Gray and the anguish behind the violent and peaceful protests are the results of a long legacy of failure to respond to inequality in Baltimore’s most impoverished communities.

“Freddie Gray’s death after having his voicebox crushed and spine nearly severed while in police custody is tragic, and one more loss in the long line of black men killed after police encounters just this year. The fact that 10 days after his death, his family and the citizens of Baltimore are no closer to the answers they seek is an outrage. A riot is the language of the unheard, and what we’ve seen this week is a community’s reaction to injustice while feeling abandoned. This is not just about the unacceptable loss of Freddie Gray. It’s also about the systemic marginalization of a community for far too long. We have to recognize and commit to working on the systemic issues involved – police brutality and poverty – if we’re to join together as a community and move forward,” said MCYD Vice President Will Roberts.

We encourage everyone to listen to the Baltimoreans who are most affected by decades of the failed War on Drugs, police brutality and systemic inequality. We call on our elected officials, labor, community leaders and neighbors to respond with compassion and work to create real progress in achieving justice and equality for all.

“What we saw on the streets of Baltimore was a community angered by yet another unnecessary death and the perpetual brutality inflicted upon them by those who swore to protect and serve,” said MCYD Political Director Gabriel Acevero. “My hope is that after the cameras have left, we can have that uncomfortable dialogue about police brutality, the socio-economic challenges facing the city, the realities of black urban youth and how we can address it. It would be an affront to Freddie Gray’s memory if we sit on our hands.”

“We need—all of us—to be as devoted to justice as we are to order, and as committed to change as we are to restoring calm. Decision makers need to hold the megaphone up to the mouths of people who are speaking out. And Democrats and Republicans alike need to take responsibility for past failures and begin to do differently or we will find ourselves here again,” said MCYD President Nik Sushka.

In the days and weeks ahead, we offer our assistance in rebuilding Baltimore’s devastated communities, and fully support the long-term struggle of peace, justice and equality.

MCYD is a 501(c)4 organization that seeks to attract and develop young people into caring agents of change who commit through political action to working for just and sustainable communities. For more information, visit www.mcyd.org.

Press Release: Hogan’s Transition Team Sets a Disturbing Tone for Maryland’s Future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014

Contact: Katie Mullen – katie.mullen@mcyd.org; Nik Sushka – nik.sushka@mcyd.org

 

Hogan’s Transition Team Sets a Disturbing Tone for Maryland’s Future

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD) are deeply concerned over Governor-elect Larry Hogan’s announcement yesterday of the six newest members of his transition team, who are firmly embedded in right-wing policy and corporate politics.

More than half of these new members – Blair Lee IV, a columnist for The Gazette; Marty Madden, a former Howard County Senator; State Senator Joe Getty of Carroll County; and Anirban Basu of Sage Policy Group – are on the record for supporting the elimination of the corporate tax, and opposing marriage equality, the repeal of the death penalty, raising the minimum wage, and reproductive rights. In an interview with the Washington Blade yesterday, Lee reaffirmed his vote against marriage equality, and his position that gay sex is a “mortal sin.”

Governor-elect Hogan is packing his transition team with consultants, legislators, and policy makers who are against the progress that Maryland has made over the past four years. In fact, voters affirmed much of this progress at the polls when the civil right to marriage equality and sensible, compassionate policies toward immigrant children in our state passed in 2012. His appointments set a disturbing tone for the future of our state in the next four years.

We, the Montgomery County Young Democrats, ask Governor-elect Hogan to remove Blair Lee IV from his transition team because of his extreme homophobic views that do not view all Marylanders as equal. We also ask Governor-elect Hogan to appoint members that represent the majority of Marylanders who voted for these progressive reforms that make our state more equal and fair for all. Our future depends on it.

MCYD is a 501(c)4 organization that seeks to attract and develop young people into caring agents of change who commit through political action to working for just and sustainable communities. For more information, visit www.mcyd.org.

 

Press Release: Montgomery County Young Democrats Urge Passage of SB 364

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, April 4, 2014

Contact: Katie Mullen – katie.mullen@mcyd.org; Nik Sushka – nik.sushka@mcyd.org

 

Montgomery County Young Democrats Urge Passage of SB 364

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD) are extremely disappointed that leadership in the House Judiciary Committee has failed to take action to decriminalize or legalize marijuana. We strongly urge our delegation to support today’s action to amend SB 364 back to its original language, which includes decriminalization.

While 17 states and Washington, D.C. have moved forward to address the failed war on drugs, Maryland will continue to disproportionately arrest and incarcerate people of color at alarming rates in every county if we do not pass legislation this year. As a state, we have one of the highest rates of arrest for marijuana possession in the country. Police in Maryland have arrested more people for marijuana possession in the past 10 years than for all violent crimes combined, according to the ACLU of Maryland.

The problem and solution are clear. We don’t need a task force to study marijuana decriminalization. We need decisive action now. We call on the House of Delegates to respond to Maryland’s voters, who overwhelmingly support marijuana reform, and to get Maryland on the right side of history on this issue.

MCYD is a 501(c)4 organization that seeks to attract and develop young people into caring agents of change who commit through political action to working for just and sustainable communities. For more information, visit www.mcyd.org.

 

###

 

Sarena helps rally the crowd before MCYD testifies in support of Rapid Transit at a County Council Hearing (September 2013)

Member Spotlight on Sareana Kimia

Sarena helps rally the crowd before MCYD testifies in support of Rapid Transit at a County Council Hearing (September 2013)
Sarena helps rally the crowd before MCYD testifies in support of Rapid Transit at a County Council Hearing (September 2013)

Sareana Kimia has been an MCYD member for only a few months. A high school student, she is also the President/CEO & Founder of a national youth lobbying group – Youth for National Change (YNC), which aims to increase youth awareness and youth impact on local, state, and national political and legislative issues that affect and relate to youth of the United States. The Maryland team is working to expand voting rights for all the student members on the board of education in MD, lower the voting age in other local municipalities, and fight for the youth voice on so many other issue that affect us today. You can connect with Sareana by email at Sareana.M.Kimia@gmail.com.

Early Voting Bash

MCYD

The Montgomery County Young Democrats are committed to attracting and developing young people into caring agents of change who commit through political action to working for sustainable and just communities.  Learn more at http://mcyd.org/timeline/.

 

denmark-volunteers

Our Trip to the U.S.

In September and October, MCYD was proud to help host four youth leaders from Denmark as they volunteered for President Obama in Virginia & Pennsylvania, and for marriage equality here in Maryland. Below is a guest blog post from the Social-Liberal Youth of Denmark’s International Officer Henrik Andersen!


Hey guys!

August Bundegaard Aggebo, Ditte Søndergaard, Henrik Morsing Andersen and Mads Bay volunteer in Silver Spring.

My name is Henrik and I am the International Officer of The Social-Liberal Youth of Denmark. In September and October I spent a couple of weeks – alongside the President, the Head of Secretariat and the Campaigns Officer of our organization – in Maryland, Pennsylvania, D.C. and New York volunteering in and following some of the work you guys did in the Obama campaign.

So first of all: Congratulations! We have been anxiously following the presidential election ever since we returned to Denmark. What a relief that Obama was reelected! And with such a wide margin. You can be proud of yourselves – good job!

We learned a lot during our stay in the U.S. We were surprised, intrigued and (we have to admit) a bit confused by the way you run a campaign in the States. So you might be interested in some of the differences between what we experience at home and what we experienced visiting you guys.

President Ditte Søndergaard at the Marylanders for Marriage Equality office in Silver Spring
First of all, you guys have fixed election dates – we don’t. There has to be an election every four years but in the four year term, the prime minister can at any time call for an election. Therefore, our campaigns usually last no longer than three weeks – which we find is more than enough. How you guys pull off several months of hardcore campaigning is still a mystery to us. We are impressed.

Secondly, every single citizen in Denmark is automatically a registered voter. The average percentage of turn-out for a parliamentary election is well into the 80’s. Therefore, it surprised us how much time you guys spent getting out the vote and activating potential supporters.

Thirdly, it was interesting taking part in a campaign where the margin of undecided voters was as small as it appeared to be in this election. We spent a lot of time phone banking, canvassing and finding potential supporters. The use of canvassing and phone banking is very little in Denmark and the openness of the voters was a bit surprising.

In general we had a very nice trip and we tried to contribute as much as possible. We learned a lot and still got to see the “mandatory” touristy stuff. So once again: Thank you very much for giving us this opportunity!

MCYD Members at WUSA 9

Member Valeria Carranza at the 9 News Now studio

On Thursday, August 30th, MCYD members Aaron Kaufman, Valeria Carranza, Abe Saffer, Laurie-Anne Sayles and Chris Bradbury, visited the WUSA 9 NewsNow studios to watch Governor Romney accept the Republican nomination for President, and provide their reactions to his speech to be shown on the eleven o’clock news.

Featured in the video, Aaron Kaufman says something many Americans wanted from the speech saying, “I want to hear about polices, not warm and fuzzy tired phrases.”

You can see the full news clip here.

 

feshbachtestifying

Press Release: Young Democrats Testify in Support of County Ballot Issues

Ben Feshbach, speaking here at the Paint the County Blue Fundraiser, testified from a student's perspective on the DREAM Act at the hearing.

The Montgomery County Young Democrats’ (MCYD) testified Wednesday night at the Montgomery County Democratic Party’s Ballot Questions Advisory Committee (BQAC) to weigh in on what issues are most important to them for inclusion on the Party’s sample ballot.

MCYD members Abe Saffer, Ben Feshbach and Jay Wilson offered arguments in support of marriage equality, the DREAM Act, and maintaining effects bargaining for county police officers.

Communications Director Abe Saffer voiced his strong support for marriage equality telling a personal story about his experience with the issue, and debunking the myth that same-sex marriage destroys marriage between a man and a woman, saying, “Ann Romney said ‘her and Mitt have a real marriage.’ Given that six states currently allow same sex marriage, means they don’t have a real marriage, or same sex marriage doesn’t destroy anything.”

MCYD Youth Rights Chair Ben Feshbach was joined by his father Rabbi Michael Feshbach in testifying for two of the state’s most heated ballot issues, marriage equality and the DREAM Act. Ben testified that, “this is economically beneficial, this is socially beneficial, and it is the right thing to do. As a student and as a Young Democrat, I strongly urge a vote for the DREAM Act.”

Member Jay Wilson shared why, as a son of a police officer, he supports policies that protected the widest scope of collective bargaining rights. In his testimony Wilson argued “if we continue to roll back these rights, it is guaranteed that we will weaken our strong middle class and our party here, just as it has happened across our country.”

“As young people, we are deeply concerned about the future these policies are creating for us,” said MCYD Issues Chair Nik Sushka. “Are we going to be neighbors that support equal rights? Are we going to be a community that educates every young person, and provides them with opportunities and skills to make our communities a better place? Are we going to protect our first responders with adequate funding, benefits, and collective bargaining rights? We certainly hope so, because we’re the ones who’ll be living here for the next 30 or 40 years.”

The three hours of testimony to the BQAC resulted in affirmative votes for all three of the MCYD’s positions. The organization will continue to support these initiatives, as well as all Montgomery County Democrats running for election or re-election, through November with weekly phone banks, debates and presentations, and canvassing.

###