YP4 lets leaders be cognizant

Young People for Civil Liberties, YP4, is a new organization designed to inform emerging leaders and activists about current issues and to help leaders positively affect their communities.

The organization, based out of New York and Washington D.C., is a project of the People for the American Way organization and has thrived nationwide.

Andrew Gillum, a Tallahassee City Commissioner and former FAMU student body president, is the Deputy National Director of YP4.

According to http://youngpeoplefor.org, attacking problems at their roots and building a promising future is the goal of this organization.

Gillum has a number of responsibilities concerning the organization, including fund-raising supporter, executive board member, overseer, key initiator and guiding the organization’s mission for FAMU.

Funding for the organization comes not only from their constituents, but also indirectly through different foundations and communities.

One essential section of the organization is the fellows.

“They are young leaders and activists who have been distinctively chosen to be a part of the organization,” Gillum said.

The fellows represent the organization and its goal. They are trained and familiarized with major issues so that they can be eye level with those who these issues concern.

“As a young fellow, I spread the knowledge of issues to students among my age group,” said Monique Gillum, 18, a freshman political science student from Gainesville.

Monique Gillum, a freshman senator, said YP4 is “a gateway to learning about different progressive issues that affect people regardless of race.”

Many issues concern today’s youth and the fellows are charged with bringing these concerns to students.

“Block tuition, excess credit hours, penalty and cuts in Pell grant funding are some of the most critical issues our youth face today,” said Phillip Agnew, 19, a sophomore business administration student from Chicago.

Andrew Gillum said there is a void in concrete student leadership. He said “new conveniences,” such as economic freedom and technology, which are placed before us, today make many young people content and nonchalant.

“Struggles are not as apparent as before, just slightly covered or hidden,” he said.

The organization is concentrating on its appeal to young people.

“We have to relate to them personally,” answers Larry Ferguson, 20, a sophomore business administration student from Charleston, S.C.

According to Ferguson, “shinning the light on issues that relate or affect individuals gets their attention.”

Monique Gillum, Ferguson and Agnew, who were nominated by Andrew Gillum, were selected to serve as fellows.

The fellows will be the spokespersons for students concerned with certain issues. They demonstrate their influence at the polls and campaign during election time.

“(The organization’s) training is also a breeding ground for tomorrow’s progressive leaders,” Andrew Gillum said. “The organization makes us more aware and alert about the tax on our democratic rights.”

Contact Cutina Francis at succezz@freeze.com.