From Feb. 26-28, San Jose was bleeding blue. The annual California Democratic Convention, held at the historic San Jose Convention Center, hosted thousands of progressives, policy makers and activists to rally together and share ideas for the upcoming elections. Among the most visible groups were the California Young Democrats, a statewide organization working to elect more Democratic leaders, with members all consisting of high school and college students. Three days of discussing progressive politics goes quickly – so here’s what you may have missed in the madness:
Kamala Harris, the state’s district attorney, was given the endorsement from the California Democrats for her senatorial run. Currently California’s Attorney General, Harris is running for Barbara Boxer’s heavily coveted seat in the United States Senate. On Saturday, she presented her ideas during Open Session, emphasizing her focus on civil rights, criminal justice reform, and K-12 education. It must have worked in her favor because attendees reacted by standing up in admiration with their campaign signs. “I believe she is the best candidate for the job given her recent experience with sensitive issues as Attorney General and her experience in the Bay Area before that,” explains Timothy Irvine, a UC Santa Barbara graduate student.
Vice President Joe Biden made a special appearance. You heard it here: the Vice President of the United States made a special stop to San Jose to provide an uplifting message to the tired activists who may be feeling like their efforts are in vain. During his speech, a frustrated heckler called out Biden, and claimed that cell phones caused his son, Beau Biden, to pass away from brain cancer. Met with frustration from the crowd, Biden calmly responded by saying, “Hey, let’s not act like the Republicans.”
Robert Reich, world-renown economist, came to speak at the California Young Democrat convention. Currently a professor at UC Berkeley, Reich is someone who understands the power of empowered youth. During his speech, he took students back to the days where he himself was in their shoes, interning for Senator Robert Kennedy. He urged students to remember that nothing is better than 1) being young, 2) being a Democrat, and 3) living in California. He confirmed his official endorsement for Bernie Sander’s presidency, while reminding the crowd that if Hillary Clinton is given the ticket, he will still work hard to get her the office.
A new executive cabinet was elected for the California College Democrats. Xochitl Medrano will be the new president, with previous experience as the Southern California Regional Director and Communications Director. Gustavo Baraggan will be taking the lead as Vice President of Membership, and Jordan James Harvill will be accompanying him as the Vice President of Finance. Current UC Students Association President Kevin Sabo will be joining the ranks as the Political Director. Suher Ali, student at UC Berkeley, will be the Communications Director, and Cesar Solis has been elected as the Southern California organizing director. It’s going to be a great year for the new board, as they hope to focus on training activists, campaigning, and social justice advocacy.