WASHINGTON, DC /Send2Press Newswire/ -- In an effort to leverage the historic youth voter turnout in 2004, a cadre of young activists across the country have identified issues important to them and are visiting state representatives to discuss how they will address those issues. The task is a pre-conference assignment for the Fifth Annual Black Youth Vote! (BYV!) Civic Leadership Conference (www.bigvote.org), Hip Hop Activism: Revolutionizing Black Power, April 7-9, at the National Education Association in Washington, DC.
"Learn by doing," charged Earl O'Neal, a board member of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), parent organization for BYV!. "You successfully registered and mobilized thousands of new voters across the country, now its time to hold those elected officials accountable."
Acting on the charge, Steven Waddy Atlanta BYV! coordinator, recently accompanied ten students from the Atlanta University Center to meet with Georgia committee chairs, local state representatives and senators.
"Just seeing the shock on the faces of legislators once they found out who requested to speak with them made many of the BYV! participants giddy with anticipation on how they could influence the next legislator on their list," said Waddy.
According to conference manager, Nancy Harvin, the assignments will be used as case studies during a series of workshops designed to train the youth to identify local issues that affect their community, equip them with the tools necessary to make change, and teach them to develop an action plan to execute locally and nationally.
Speakers include BET's Jeff Johnson aka "Uncle Jeff," Dr. Maya Rockeymore, author of "The Political Action Handbook: A How To Guide For The Hip Hop Generation," and members of congress, among others.
Sponsored by the NEA and State Farm Insurance, conference highlights include a Thursday morning legislative briefing on Capitol Hill, and a debate, "Is Hip Hop the Next Civil Rights Movement?," at the National Council of Negro Women Headquarters, that evening. Moderated by radio personality, Mark Thompson, this intergenerational dialogue will examine the impact of youth activism during the civil rights era and address the influence of hip hop on the political system.
"The Black youth electorate, many voting for the first time in 2004, felt the power of voting. The conference will prepare them to leverage that power and have an impact on their communities," says Melanie L. Campbell, executive director and CEO of the NCBCP.
Recently profiled in Black Enterprise Magazine (Feb. 05), BYV! is a coalition of organizations committed to increasing the political and civic engagement of Black youth under the age of 35. The NCBCP is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing African American participation in civil society.
For more information visit http://www.bigvote.org or call 202.659.4929.
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