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We Need More Phillip Agnews: Why Investing in Youth Leadership Pays Off

Youth development doesn't happen in a summer, but must be for the long haul, like social change.

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We must learn from the successes of young leaders like the Dream Defenders and recruit, train, and connect thousands more local organizers and activists, particularly in underrepresented communities and regions of the country. We need to recruit inspiring candidates who will shape our country’s policies for decades to come. And we need to focus on sustainability in the movement, working to ensure that each of these efforts is woven together to create a comprehensive leadership development infrastructure that prepares us for the fights to come. Investing in progressive young people is the key to ensuring our movement’s capacity to create and sustain social change for years to come.

Because — I think you’ll agree — our country could use a lot more Phillip Agnews.

Andrew Gillum is the director of People For the American Way Foundation’s Youth Leadership Programs and a City Commissioner in Tallahassee, Fla.