I just got back from the Center for American Progress’ Campus Progress National Convention. The Convention, held in DC, brought together students from across the country interested in bringing about change on various progressive issues. While I’m not the most grassrootsy guy, I’m not going to go canvass to save the environment or sign people up to support Planned Parenthood, I do support people that do, and the event brought a lot of notable speakers to the three plenary sessions and two breakout sessions. The keynote at the first plenary was President Bill Clinton, who drew numerous rounds of applause discussing his presidency and the issues Obama has faced, notably the failure of the administration’s successes to become public knowledge and the misinformation and disinformation spread about Obama’s goals and accomplishments. The main takeaway from the whole convention is that knowledge and information are necessary to take on power and to shape opinion.
Other than Clinton, I had the opportunity to hear Jose Antonio Vargas, the journalist who just came out as an illegal immigrant
, speak at a panel with P.J. Crowley, former State Department spokesperson and current Penn State Law professor, about using social media to effect change at home and abroad.
My other favorite panel with about the role of the US on the world stage after two wars. The main notable on that panel, to me, was the moderator, Matt Yglesias, who runs a very popular domestic and foreign policy blog though the Center for American Progress. I’ve been reading it for a while and it was nice to meet him in person.
On the work front, I did work yesterday for the Innocence Project, which is a group out of Yeshiva University Law School that works to exonerate the falsely imprisoned. Also, I’ve continued my work reading up on automatic enrollment in IRAs. Last weekend was, of course, the 4th of July. My girlfriend was in town and we explored the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Air and Space Museum. In addition to watching the fireworks from the National Cathedral, we were treated to some spectacular thunderstorms and excellent Indian food courtesy of my cousin Sam.
Tomorrow, I have work, but then I’m getting a tour of the Capitol and then going to a networking event set up by Networking for America, an offshoot of Obama’s Organizing for America.
There’s a lot of stuff going on in DC, and I’ll fill you in on more of it soon.