The VCU chapter of Young Americans for Liberty has had a whirlwind of activity this fall semester. After leaving of the YAL National Convention with a number of new strategies and ideas we began to implement them immediately.
Aside from regular tabling and an outstanding showing at our back to school fair, the first major event we worked with was the Liberty Fest sponsored by Virginia Campaign for Liberty which hosted training seminars, music by Jordan Page, & many speakers with the keynote slot given to Judge Andrew Napolitano. In addition to reaching out to local Tea Partiers we were able to attract a great number of students and youth who were interested in getting involved locally.
Not long after that, we welcomed as guest speakers a gentleman from the Richmond Tea Party as well as local politicians James Quigley from the Libertarian Party VA and Floyd Bayne as an independent candidate against Eric Cantor. The Tea Party was interested in our involvement in their national convention, which we attended, as well as suggestions on how to get involved in the upcoming elections which we were happy to provide.
We got local activists involved in campaigns all over. A month before the elections we sent a crew out to Maryland to help a CFL candidate in his seat for state house where his campaign enthusiastically welcomed us. When the election was getting down to crunch time, even with school midterms we were able to send some of our members for the final Get Out the Vote push in Kentucky for Rand Paul. Those who just couldn’t make it due to the iron wrath of their professors were still able to get involved with campaigns in Virginia.
After the hectic elections we settled down to do some good old fashioned campus activism. Working together with the campus Students for Sensible Drug Policy we made preparations to host a “Baked Sale” only to be shut down by the school a mere 3 days before it was to happen. Apparently Virginia Commonwealth University prohibits competition with their approved vendors, and since brownies are available in their stores, student groups can’t sell them. Free Market? Not on VCU. We’re working with SSDP to go ahead and host the event in the spring with either free brownies, or to have the event off campus.
Our state decided that Virginians didn’t want smokers in bars. Personal liberty? Not if it could hurt you or annoy others, says Virginia. After the hard work of a few of our core members they whipped up some signs to rope off an area as a “no non-smoking zone” to see if non-smokers appreciate the irony of being prohibited from an area simply for a choice they’ve made.
The going out bang for the semester was the recent Audit/End the Fed Rally in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Old and young alike came with signs such as “Audit the Fed” & “Show Us The Gold” with brief speeches given from both Campaign for Liberty and our YAL chapter. Richmond city was enthusiastic beyond our expectations with many honks of support and thumbs up with the most memorable being a sold thirty second honk of support from a Brinks armored truck.
Over the course of the semester our organization was was able to get involved with local media, with interviews for the local newspaper & radio, an interview for a student documentary, and being covered briefly by the local Fox News affiliate in Richmond. As finals approach we’re looking forward to events and speakers planned for the spring semester both solo and with other organizations. Of course we’re also gearing up for CPAC 2011 and we hope to see everyone there!