Known originally as Campus Progress, Generation Progress (GP) is the youth arm of the Center for American Progress. GP adopted its current name in July 2013, in an effort to broaden its appeal to the entire Millennial Generation rather than focusing only on college students. When it was known as Campus Progress, the organization aimed to “strengthen progressive voices on college and university campuses,” “counter the growing influence of right-wing groups on campus,” and “empower new generations of progressive leaders.” It pursued these goals by hosting and organizing campus speaking events; funding student newspapers; publishing articles and multimedia pieces on its CampusProgress.org website; and promoting student advocacy on issues like Social Security, academic freedom, national security, and judicial nominations.
Today, Generation Progress operates from the premise that young people “don’t have to wait to change the world,” but already “have the power ... to tip the balance on critical issues.” The organization's primary mission is to help the young “embrace progressive values,” seek “progressive solutions to key political and social challenges,” and “push policy outcomes in a strongly progressive direction.” The issues that currently rank highest on GP's priority list include the following:
* Student Debt: Lamenting that “student debt now tops $1 trillion” and has reached “crisis” proportions, GP calls for keeping interest rates on student loans fixed for their entire duration, so as to “give students and families the certainty they need as they plan for the future.”
* Immigration: GP favors comprehensive immigration reform that would provide a path-to-citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. It also supports the DREAM Act, which would normalize the status of illegals who first came to the U.S. as minors.
* Gun Violence: GP warns that “when a gun is brought into a household, it introduces significant risk” that can lead to “often deadly” results in the form of accidental shootings of family members.
* Voting Rights: Claiming that “voting rights are in jeopardy for poor, minority, elderly, and student citizens,” GP contends that Voter ID laws discriminate against members of those demographics. In addition, the organization denounced the 2013 Supreme Court decision which struck down a 1965 Voting Rights Act provision requiring mainly Southern states to undergo—based on the presumption of their continuing racist tendencies—special federal scrutiny before being permitted to change their election laws in any way (e.g., by instituting Voter ID requirements or reconfiguring their voting districts).
* LGBTQ: GP supported the 2013 Supreme Court rulings that struck down Proposition 8 (a 2008 ballot initiative stating that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”) and the Defense of Marriage Act (which had effectively barred same-sex married couples from being recognized as “spouses” in matters pertaining to federal laws and federal marriage benefits).
* Climate Change: Warning that the greenhouse gases which result from human industrial activity contribute to potentially catastrophic global warming, GP exhorts colleges and universities to entirely “divest” their financial assests from any companies associated with the fossil-fuel industry.
* Progressive Growth: In an effort to lessen the “rising income inequality” in the United States, GP calls for a strengthening of taxpayer-funded “education and workforce programs” designed to “move more Americans up to the middle class” and “make sure that low-income Americans aren’t left behind.”
*Civic Engagement: This program seeks to “ensure [that] Millennials have a voice in the debates that matter to them and are actively engaged in our civic processes”—e.g., voting in political elections, working on behalf of progressive campaigns and candidates, and running for public office.
GP seeks to advance the foregoing policy agendas via 4 major initiatives:
1) The National Advocacy campaign “represents and mobilizes young people for progressive change on national issues from immigration and LGBT rights to climate change and affordable education.”
2) The Action Network provides young activists with financial support and skills-based training in how to plan and execute their various initiatives. It also gives them opportunities to meet and form relstionships with veteran experts in organizing, policy, and government.
3) GP's web magazine, GenProgress.org, offers analysis on issues of concern to young people; gives young writers, reporters, and artists a forum wherein they can publish nationally; and “builds a community of progressives interested in issues, ideas, and activism.”
4) The Campus Journalism project funds, trains, and mentors young people who run progressive campus- and community-based print publications, blogs, and broadcast stations. As of August 2013, GP was supporting more than 50 of these media outlets.