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Evans, Ethan (UMKC-Student)

Politically active students from all over the state traveled to UMKC this past weekend to attend the College Democrats of Missouri Spring Convention.

UMKC hosted the second annual convention for the first time after it was held at MU last year.

The two-day convention, which included guest speakers, statewide candidates and breakout sessions, saw student representation from all the different parts of the state. Some of the College Democrat chapters in attendance included Missouri S&T, MU, Westminster College, Truman State University, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) among others.

“Let’s flip Missouri, turn it blue and make Missourians matter,” said President of the College Democrats of Missouri Caroline Moriarty, a UMKC student, as she beckoned students to take a seat as the convention started. Members of the group’s executive board then went over the accomplishments completed within the last year that included rebranding, growing participation, the creation of new chapters and representing the Midwest at a nation-wide level.

Students got the chance to hear from Elad Gross and Rich Finneran, two statewide Democratic candidates for attorney general.

“Look at you, look around. This is very exciting, there’s so much opportunity to make a change in this state,” said Gross as he talked about youth being involved in politics.

State Representatives Keri Ingle and Greg Razer also attended the convention to lead one of the many breakout sessions available to students. Breakout sessions ranged from women’s rights to climate change to advocacy groups, providing options for all interests.

MU student Oumou Daillo said that she was encouraged to come by other students in her chapter, making this her first time attending the convention.

“I would encourage others to come because it’s a new way to meet people even if you’re shy because everyone is friendly. You get to discover new experiences like coming to KC for the first time,” said Daillo.

Ashley O’Brien, a religious studies major at MU said she was most excited about the workshops.

“The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) session was my favorite because it went hand in hand with my major. I heard from a religious advocacy group and got exposure to things I haven’t seen before,” said O’Brien.

Izabella Vadovicky, president of the UMKC College Democrats chapter and director of development for the College Democrats of Missouri said that this year’s turn out was her favorite part of the conference.

“Last year we only had like 30-35 students. This year’s final count was 98 and that is not counting guest speakers, representatives, and campaign managers. We had over 100 people here,” Vadovicky said. “I would definitely suggest coming out because we have guest speakers, workshops, generally hanging out with people you wouldn’t have been able to meet before.

Students who missed out on this year’s spring convention can look forward to the College Democrats of America’s Midwest Summit that will take place on April 25 and 26 at UMKC.

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    PlFeb 24, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    Why are you including an organization that perpetuates injustice? The Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, has a history of sexual abuse and exploitation, religious and gender discrimination, retaliation, union busting, hostile work environment, financial abuse and mismanagement (including losing 501c3 status and questions around international funding through their Washington Trust Foundation entity), board incompetence, and other serious issues.

    CAIR creates more victims than it helps. It does more harm than good, whether it’s the continuous negative portrayal of Muslims as victims in the media, lack of strategy, making serious mistakes on people’s cases, the all-male press conferences, providing inconsistent services, lack of transparency around international funding sources and agendas, the embarrassing media spokespeople, failure to build a legitimate nationwide infrastructure, being a laughing stock on Capitol Hill despite having an office a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol, lack of community engagement on the national level, and, after 26 years, not having a seat at MANY tables (including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which brings together 200+ national civil rights organizations).

    CAIR Sexism Documentation Project

    Christian woman’s employment discrimination lawsuit:

    Former executive director on financial abuse: “Donors should definitely question whether their charity is legitimately being used to do civil rights advocacy, how this [board member “writing himself checks”], was allowed to happen, and whether the organization is being fully transparent.”

    As you’re considering which nonprofits to support and donate to, please be diligent- do your research and ask the tough questions. Is your money really helping to empower people in the community who have been discriminated against, or are you empowering a multi-million dollar organization that discriminates against its own community and further victimizes people who seek their help? Is your money going to pay an attorney to fight for people’s rights to practice their faith or is your money going to pay an attorney to suppress, silence, and intimidate those who have been treated unjustly? Are you supporting legitimate, sincere advocates for justice or those who support the status quo and cowardly look the other way when the injustice is committed by their own national leaders?

    CAIR does not speak for American Muslims. A true civil rights organization would treat ALL people with the respect and dignity they deserve.