Despite term papers and finals being the current predominant focus of students at schools with quarter systems like UC Davis, there has been a lot of activity in the liberty movement! One such example is that of YAL and Students for Sensible Drug Policy — a single-issue organization that has fought for drug policy reform for over 15 years!
(YAL State Chair Tim Khousnoutdinov pictured directly above the first “s”)
The Davis YAL chapter has been especially keen on developing a good working relationship with leaders of SSDP like Eric Gudz, a decorated activist and grad student at UC Davis. Through his persistent efforts to bring awareness of the War on Drugs, YALers, like-minded students, and alumni throughout the state of California have pledged their time to advancing principles of liberty in this particular area while bringing to light the problems of the prison-industrial complex.
Two recent events have highlighted this special dialogue, both involved members of the Davis YAL and SSDP chapters, as mentioned before. The first was an educational speakers panel on “The Critical Perspectives of the War on Drugs” which helped set the stage for the second event, SSDP’s Pacific Regional Conference held at CSU Fullerton.
One of the attending delegates was Rachel Suarez, a relatively fresh face in the movement, but one who has been hard at work promoting liberty at Fullerton and throughout Southern California as well as at CPAC and other similar venues.
Shortly after the conference, the California YAL leadership team was happy to welcome her as our newest State Chair. It is these kind of connections that help drive our movement forward, with her presence at the SSDP conference was important and appreciated.
At the Pacific Regional Conference, important issues like mass incarceration, education deterioration, and emerging careers in the drug reform industry were discussed via several panels of students, professionals, and academics. Perhaps the most important item was regarding California’s Prop 47, an “initiated state statute” which passed as a ballot measure on November 4th, 2014.
While YAL does not directly advocate on behalf of legislation, political parties, or candidates, the energy and excitement present at this conference cannot be overstated. With each passing week, more and more young people throughout the US have been joining our movement for political and socio-economic change, and the results are showing!
So, as we look to the 2016 election year, we must keep in mind both broad policy areas and more specific ones like marijuana decriminalization and legalization. Whether it’s solo projects or joint ventures, one thing is for certain — that YAL will continue to be at the forefront of student activism, advocacy, and education in the U.S. as the liberty movement expands and accelerates! In Northern California, the Davis chapter will continue it’s hard work, too.