December Newsletter: Reflection on the Successes of Virginia teen Democrats in 2020

As the year comes to an end, we want to reach out and say thank you. With all of the challenges faced in 2020, our community has stood strong in the face of adversity. All of your hard work has sincerely paid off. We can thankfully roll in the New Year with hope and determination for the future. The VAYD Teen Caucus wishes you and your families a happy holiday season and we can’t wait to see what comes next!

Let us continue to work hard in the wake of the upcoming Georgia Senate Elections. The state of Georgia has a majority-vote requirement, meaning that candidates must secure at least 50% of the vote in order to win an election. If 50% of the vote has not yet been secured, a runoff election is used to decide the winner.  This is exactly what happened, and two runoffs elections will be held in Georgia for the United States Senate on January 5.  We need all hands on deck in order to secure a win for the Democrats. 

Phone Banking Opportunities

VAYD Teen Caucus 2020 Accomplishments

This year, our leadership staff has worked tirelessly to create a better environment for our members across the state. Thank you to everyone who has made all of this possible! Here at the VAYD Teen Caucus, we can’t wait to continue growing and expanding our community for many years to come.  Here’s a look at what our Caucus has achieved since our reorganization in June: 

  • Tripled the number of high school YD chapters (8 to 27).
  • Grew from VAYD’s smallest constituency caucus to the largest, larger than VAYD’s two other constituency caucuses combined!
  • Provided every high school chapter with access to Action Network.
  • Re-chartered with the High School Democrats of America.
  • Adopted 6 resolutions on public policy, and even had a resolution adopted by the Democratic Party of Virginia!
  • Launched a website.
  • Raised over $800 for the Teen Fund, more than any other VAYD constituency caucus!

New Website!

This month, the VAYD Teen Caucus launched our new website – teens.vayd.org!  We’re the first VAYD constituency caucus to roll out a website.  While the website is a subdomain of VAYD.org, it’s under the full control of our Teen Caucus staff, allowing Virginia teen Democrats the autonomy we need to train the next generation of Democratic Party leaders.

We are allowing chapter leaders to add a paragraph (no more than 100 words) about their club on the chapters page of the website.  Chapter leaders, please email your paragraph to Programs Director Mehreen Syed at teen_programs@vayd.org.

Action Network

This month we provided every chapter with access to Action Network!

Action Network is a tool that allows chapter leaders like you to mobilize by making it easier to send mass emails, creating events and RSVP forms, creating petitions, holding letter writing or calling campaigns and so much more, all while being able to see analytics.  Action network also simplifies membership rosters!  Please use this guide to help set up your chapters action network.

If you have any trouble, contact Programs Director Mehreen Syed at teen_programs@vayd.org.

Campaign to Prevent Suicide Act

Work to prevent suicide in the United States is in desperate need of an upgrade. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, more isolation among people has resulted in severe spikes in anxiety and depression. This can result in an increase in suicidal thoughts, suiciide atempts, and actual suicide among youth.

H.R. 4585 would require the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the substance abuse and mental health services to create, implement, and assess a national suicide prevention media campaign. In addition, it would require that the National Suicide Prevention hotline is a 3-digit, toll-free number, which would be advertised as part of the media campaign.

After being introduced to the House of Representatives in 2019, we are now waiting for it to be voted and passed in the senate. After that, it will go to the President of the United States to be approved and signed into law. However, if it is vetoed by the president, there can either be a congressional override (it would become law), or the act will die.

If you would like to help, please contact and urge U.S. senators, especially those in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to vote in favor of the Campaign to Prevent Suicide Act. If you would like to utilize our letter-writing campaign, you can click here.  It will allow you to easily send emails to key officials and urge them to support H.R.4585. 

Civic Engagement Resolution

As we’ve said in previous newsletters, our resolution calling on the general assembly to permit middle and high school students to take partial day, prearranged, excused absences for civic engagements was taken up by the Democratic Party of Virginia’s Resolutions Committee. The Resolutions Committee unanimously approved sending the resolution to the entire State Central Committee, where it was voted on this month. It has now been unanimously adopted by the Democratic Party of Virginia State Central Committee, which has the effect of saying the Democratic Party supports our bill.