Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

NPI makes a difference by training young progressives to become tomorrow's leaders

Since I joined the Northwest Progressive Institute at the beginning of this year, NPI has become a cornerstone of my life.

Our projects - from The Advocate, to In Brief, to Permanent Defense - are what I look forward to working on after school and during the weekends.

To me, NPI is more than a strategy center. It's a home. A place to live and learn, with people who share the same values I do. NPI is a family.

I became a contributing writer with NPI back in January and haven't looked back. Partly that's because of you, our supporters. There is nothing I love more than going out into the community and meeting you.

Recently, when I traveled north for Tulip Festival, I walked into the Skagit County Democrats' office and mentioned my work with NPI. I was pleased to hear that folks up there are following what we're doing and cheering us on.

Just this past Wednesday I was covering a county council meeting and Representative Marcie Maxwell told me that she reads The Advocate.

Nothing inspires me to be a better person and staff member than meeting readers and knowing that people care. Can you show you care with a donation to NPI?

It is not a stretch to say that NPI has greatly sharpened my leadership skills. And my organizing skills. NPI recently sent me to Camp Wellstone so I could learn to be a better activist. I had the good fortune to be taught by some of the nation's best grassroots trainers. It's an experience I'll never forget.

The opportunities provided to me by NPI are innumerable and richer than I could have ever imagined. I mean, who would want to listen to me? I'm just a freshman in high school, why would anyone care what I have to say? What kind of institution would give me the opportunity to share my perspective, value what I think?

There aren't many organizations out there that would. NPI is one of the few. Without NPI I would just be another freshman in high school looking for his place.

I know my place now. I've found my calling. It is fighting for the common good, working to build a more perfect union for the benefit of those who come after us. We've got to leave this world better than we found it.

We need organizations like the Northwest Progressive Institute commited to furthering the vast progressive conspiracy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. You know, the good old American Dream: if you work hard and play by the rules for a living, you should be able to earn a living.

Without progressive infrastructure - without organizations like NPI working to revolutionize grassroots politics - I fear that my generation will lose what makes us progressive. I worry that my peers will slide into the nefarious hands of conservatives like Tim Eyman and become reactionaries.

That is not the future I want.

I want a future where progressives are strong, confident, and organized... a future where vibrant progressive institutions are not uncommon.

Make no mistake, the right wing would love to tempt young people into believing that wealth equals success, that government shouldn't help people who are struggling get back on their feet, that nature is there to be used and even abused if it means somebody can make a dollar.

The right wing would love to claim America's youth.

Our job is to make sure they never have a chance.

NPI has gone from almost nothing to something amazing in just a few years. Conservatives have snickered and laughed at us (well, they still do) but we've never been discouraged or intimidated.

We are the keepers of what you might call an almost-lost tradition in our state: that of the citizen volunteer revolutions that have provided vital blood transfusions to Washington's progressive movement at critical moments in time.

We are committed to pushing ahead. We know that remaking our country will not be an easy task. Look at what we're up against: untold numbers of special interests that will fight tooth and nail against the reform and change we need.

We're going to need every progressive idea factory we can get.

That's why your support is so critical. Twelve months ago, people like you donated to help NPI grow and become more effective at our spring fundraising gala.

A year has now gone by, and our resources are running low. It's rearmament time. Will you help us reach our goal of $5,000 by next Friday, May 15th?

With your support, the Northwest Progressive Institute can continue to provide opportunities to young activists, training them to become tomorrow's leaders.

Thanks for your consideration.

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