Generation Progress, launched as Campus Progress in February 2005 and renamed Generation Progress in July 2013, is an American non-profit organization that promotes progressive political and social policy through support for student activists and journalists on college campuses in the United States. Generation Progress is the youth engagement arm of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.
Generation Progress has programs in journalism, activism and events.
Generation Progress works on national issue campaigns, including student debt and access to higher education, the Iraq war, climate change, affirmative action, and academic freedom.
Generation Progress lobbies Congress and state governments, produces media content, and conducts trainings. On some campaigns, Generation Progress works in coalition with other organizations including the United States Students Association, Student PIRGs, Energy Action Coalition, US Action, MoveOn, American Federation of Teachers, and other advocacy organizations.
Generation Progress also provides action grants to young activists engaging in campaigns on a variety of issues. Action grants include financial support, advice, support, and training. Some trainings focus on teaching young people how to communicate in the media. Action grants have addressed a range of issues including LGBT rights, climate change, Sudan divestment, living wages, fair trade, and the death penalty.
Generation Progress has also organized alternative spring breaks. In 2008, those programs addressed climate change, the death penalty, and the war in Iraq.
Generation Progress has worked with students and other partners to hold more than 500 speaking programs, film screenings, debates, spoken word, training programs, and social events. Events have included discussions on HIV/AIDS, academic freedom, the war in Iraq, and climate change. Generation Progress events are held at colleges and universities and in communities across the country. On events, Generation Progress has worked with a range of partners, including Media Rights, PBS and the National Black Programming Consortium, HBO, Participant Media, Focus Features, independent filmmakers, and others. Generation Progress also has taken its work on tour with the Foo Fighters, and to music festivals including Bonnaroo, Intonation, and Virgin.
Generation Progress hosts an annual National Conference in Washington, D.C. that includes 1,000 young attendees. The first conference was held on July 13, 2005, and featured President Bill Clinton and Rep. John Lewis. The Nation wrote: “For the first time ever, campus progressives convened, conversed and organized at their own national conference ― something right-wing groups have done annually since the 1970s...The conference left students, from Young Democrats to radical activists, energized and teeming with hope. Almost everyone I spoke with left the conference believing that a real, thriving and broad-based progressive student movement was overdue, necessary and most importantly, possible.”
The second National Conference, held on July 12, 2006, featured Senator Barack Obama, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Samantha Power, Majora Carter, Rev. James Forbes, and rapper Fat Joe. The third National Conference was held on June 26, 2007, and featured Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Russ Feingold, Rep. Keith Ellison, Sen. Tom Daschle, Ralph Nader, and Seymour Hersh. The fourth annual national conference was held July 8, 2008, with remarks by former Senator John Edwards, Rep. Linda Sanchez, musicians Ted Leo and M1, and actor Ryan Gosling. The fifth annual conference, on July 8, 2009, featured President Clinton, Speaker Pelosi, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, White House green jobs advisor Van Jones, John Oliver from "The Daily Show," and Joel Madden from Good Charlotte.
From its founding in 2004 until January 2012, Generation Progress was led by David Halperin, former White House speechwriter to President Clinton.
Generation Progress Action
A partner organization of Generation Progress, "Generation Progress Action", engages in advocacy, coalition, and media work on key policy issues; engages in grassroots issue campaigns; and trains young people in media, policy, writing, and grassroots organizing. Generation Progress Action engaged in organizing around the 2008 youth vote during the presidential nominating contests by hosting events and speaking with the press.
In a video for Michelle Malkin's Hot Air in 2008, Jason Mattera of Young America's Foundation criticized Generation Progress for their fundraising tactics and questioned their relevance to young voters, criticism that Generation Progress addressed via their own taped response.
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