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  • A New Generation Awakes: Why It Is Important To Be Involved

    6/26/2014 12:12:36 PM Posted by Raj Kannappan

    YAFatMSGReflecting upon the history of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) activism efforts in decades past, I feel proud to be working with an organization that has helped young adults make a difference for the conservative cause for over 50 years. It is truly amazing to realize that YAFers were the driving force behind Barry Goldwater's rise to prominence and how they held the "Rally for World Liberation from Communism" in 1962 that 18,500 students attended at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

    It is incredible that so many young conservatives were in one place and united under one cause. Sometimes, it feels as if we must ask ourselves the following question in this age of progressivism and apathy: are there even 18,500 conservative students in America today? The answer is yes, but are they engaged in the movement?

    Even during the liberal decades of the 60s and 70s, young conservatives were able to make a difference for their generation. Those students went on to become leaders of organizations such as the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the NRA, and the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute, just to name a few. But what about my generation's activism efforts?

    The answer is that the activism of young people in the Conservative Movement today would make proud those who stood in Madison Square Garden in 1962. Their bold efforts have inspired activism in young people for the past 50 years.

    For example, Grant Strobl, a Young Americans for Freedom chapter chair brought prominent businessman Steve Forbes to his high school campus this past year, inspiring 1300 students about the virtues of free enterprise. The Penn State Young Americans for Freedom chapter stood up for conservative values this past semester as it protested the school's "Free Speech Zones" by creating a new zone in an unapproved area

    Young adults made a difference then, and now, we are making a difference because we believe in a common cause. I think that we forget how important our voice is and how influential we can be. Activism is just as important now, or even more so, than it was in 1962. With young people participating in activism, YAF's efforts and your efforts are crucial to seeing that our generation is a force for the Conservative Movement, not one against it.

    College students made a difference in 1962. Our generation is making a difference as well. YAFers across the country are bringing in conservative speakers to their liberal campuses participating at the Ronald Reagan Ranch Center and Washington D.C. to learn about conservative values, and participating in activism initiatives on their campuses. It is up to the YAFers of today, while taking the cue from the YAFers of decades past, to make sure that our generation is making a positive difference. 

    Written by Haley Jones, Chairwoman of the College of the Ozarks Young Americans for Freedom chapter and a Sarah T. Hermann intern scholar for Young America's Foundation

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