by Claudia Lewis, SCYD Blog Contributor
There are few things as intimidating as starting life in a new city after college. Trying to find employment and navigate through a new social scene, all while working to stay involved, can be exhausting and confusing. Since moving to Sacramento in June, I’ve found myself trying to tackle all this at once with little guidance and a lot of guesswork. Fortunately, I came to hear of a group that could help me get involved in Sacramento and potentially make a real difference.
On October 4th, I followed the downtown address I found on a Facebook event page and arrived at my first Sacramento County Young Democrats’ General Meeting. At first, I was apprehensive. In a small location mishap, the group found themselves locked out of their venue. That meant instead of kicking right off with the day’s agenda, the young professionals spent time laughing, catching up, and lamenting over the missing presence of VP Katie Hanzlik, who they insisted would never allow for such a crisis. Yet I found quickly there was no reason to be apprehensive. A member almost immediately noticed my searching look and cheerfully dragged me over to the group to introduced me. I was met with warmth and sucked into banter about office life and SCYD happy hours. Members asked me questions about my past, my job, and my recent move to town. These individuals weren’t only driven by their own passions but by the passion and success of young Democrats throughout Sacramento.
Of course, the banter couldn’t last forever. Once we settled into a new room, the meeting officially began. Hannah Messick took the floor as the guest speaker from the International Rescue Committee, acquainting Young Dems with an awe-inspiring example of Sacramento’s many active non-profits. The IRC is an international organization with an ever-growing presence here in the city. They assist refugees throughout their resettlement journey, from their country of origin to the U.S. Sacramento is the #1 city for refugee resettlement in America, and for this reason the IRC’s presence in our community is critical for helping these refugees become economically empowered and independent. Hannah guided Young Dems through the different obstacles refugees face such as language barriers, education, employment, and documentation. When the email sign-up sheet was passed around, I was amazed to see that nearly every single member also signed up to volunteer.
After the presentation from the IRC, Young Dems also had the opportunity to briefly hear from a representative of another Sacramento non-profit. Hannah Friedman from WEAVE shared the current projects they are working on and advised Young Dems on how they can get involved.
To wrap up the evening, committee heads shared the goals of their committees for the current month. As I listened to these groups share their objectives I started to really understand what I’d stumbled upon in discovering SCYD. While the Young Dems are focused on helping to bring about democratic change in their local communities and nationally, this goal extends far beyond campaigning, fundraising, and volunteering. The SCYD also makes it a mission to help each individual young Democrat flourish. SCYD meetings, events, and happy hours provide young professionals the chance not only to make a difference, but also to make new connections and friends. They act as a reservoir of knowledge and opportunity for young people in Sacramento. In this way, they are enacting change not only in policy but through individual inspiration.
Needless to say, this won’t be my last SCYD event. I’m looking forward to coming years of working with a community of young people change this city we love for the better and help each other flourish.