Young Americans for Liberty
Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is a libertarian student activism organization headquartered in Austin, Texas. Formed in 2008, YAL establishes chapters on high school and college campuses across the United States, mobilizing young people to conduct grassroots canvassing efforts for state legislative races. YAL's strategic partners include Antiwar.com, Ayn Rand Institute, Charles Koch Institute, and PragerU.
|Motto||Make Liberty Win|
|Type||Student Organization, 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4)|
Vice President of Mobilization
Vice President of Development
|Affiliations||Students for Ron Paul, Campaign for Liberty, Youth for Ron Paul, Students for Rand|
According to the organization's website, "[YAL] is the most active and effective libertarian youth organization advancing liberty on campus and in American electoral politics. Our four-step mission is to identify, educate, train, and mobilize youth activists to make liberty win."
YAL was founded in 2008 at the end of Congressman Ron Paul's first presidential campaign. Paul’s candidacy inspired students to organize on-campus under the banner of Students for Ron Paul. After the 2008 presidential election in November, the movement continued, soon becoming Young Americans for Liberty.
Operation Win at the DoorEdit
In January 2018, YAL launched Operation Win at the Door through its 501(c)(4) arm, Young Americans for Liberty, Inc. YAL President Cliff Maloney Jr announced that the objective of the program would be to “elect 250 state house members by the end of 2022.”
The following month, the organization endorsed its first candidate. Over a dozen YAL activists campaigned in Galveston, Texas for Mayes Middleton, candidate for Texas House of Representatives from Texas’ 23rd district. Middleton went on to defeat incumbent Wayne Faircloth in the Republican primary on March 6th, 2018 before winning the general election eight months later.
By the end of the 2018 primaries, YAL had secured 21 victories. Then, during the November general elections, Operation Win at the Door deployed once again, bringing in 37 general election wins in Texas, Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire.
As of December 2018, YAL had deployed a total of 309 students and knocked 1,050,057 doors. The following month, YAL endorsed Stewart Jones, candidate for South Carolina House of Representatives from the state’s 14th house district. On February 19th, 2019, Jones secured 51.6% of the vote in a four-way Republican primary. Then, in a special election on April 23rd, he defeated Democratic nominee Garrett McDaniel 56.4-43.5%.
Fight for Free Speech CampaignEdit
In 2016, YAL began its “Fight for Free Speech” campaign, a program designed to challenge unconstitutional restrictions on students’ First Amendment rights. YAL’s efforts alongside the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the Alliance Defending Freedom have overturned free speech zones on dozens of campuses. The organization has also targeted other forms of regulation against free speech, including “speech policy permits” and “lunch break clauses”.
As of September 2019, the Fight for Free Speech had challenged and overturned unconstitutional free speech policies on 55 college campuses:
Each year, YAL hosts national conventions across the United States. The 2018 convention in Boston, Massachusetts was the organization’s largest yet, with 501 students in attendance. To date, YAL has hosted the following figures as guest speakers at YALCON:
Ron Paul, physician, former presidential candidate and member of the United States House of Representatives from Texas;
Ted Cruz, junior United States Senator from Texas (2013-present);
Justin Amash, member of the United States House of Representatives from Michigan’s 13th congressional district (2011-present);
Thomas Massie, member of the United States House of Representatives from Kentucky’s 4th congressional district (2012-present);
Chip Roy, member of the United States House of Representatives from Texas' 21st congressional district (2019-present);
Antony Davies, economist, author, and public speaker;
Lisa Kennedy, political commentator and media personality;
Dave Rubin, political commentator, YouTube personality, and talk show host;
Austin Petersen, activist and media personality;
David Boaz, executive vice-president of the Cato Institute;
Penn Jillette, American magician, actor, musician, inventor, media personality, and best-selling author;
Kat Timpf, American columnist, television personalty, and comedian;
and Vince Vaughn, American actor, producer, and screenwriter.
With over 2,500 active members as of 2019, YAL has gained national attention for several of its student-led activities. YAL’s activists have organized demonstrations and events protesting the War in Iraq, the Transportation Security Administration, the National Security Agency, the National debt of the United States, the U.S. Tax Code, and the U.S. military intervention in Libya.
In March 2011, 78 YAL chapters across 32 states assembled the largest-ever student protest of the national debt. Each chapter constructed a 40-foot debt clock and placed it in the middle of their campus. The mass protest garnered nationwide media attention.
In April 2015, YAL and The Future of Freedom Foundation held a joint event themed “End the Wars on Drugs and Terrorism” at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library at the University of Texas-Austin. The event featured speeches from renowned journalists Glenn Greenwald and Radley Balko. The gathering, having attracted over 700 people, then concluded with a speech from Congressman Ron Paul and a panel discussion from the three guests.
On April 19, 2017, the YAL chapter at The University of Southern Mississippi hosted an event called “Ax the Tax”. In order to demonstrate the length of the tax code, a 20,000-page replica was printed and displayed on a table. Students were then invited to visit the table, discuss the reduction of the tax code, and take turns hitting the replica with a foam axe.
On September 20, 2016, three YAL students passed out pocket constitutions on a public walkway at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan. The students were approached by Drew Hutchinson, the school’s Manager of Student Life, and told to shut down the event on grounds that it violated the school’s “speech permit policy”. After refusing to do so, the students were arrested by campus police and jailed for over seven hours.
Young Americans for Liberty and the Alliance Defending Freedom quickly filed suit. Meanwhile, the school’s speech restrictions remained in place until August, when KCC was finally ordered to pay $55,000 in damages and attorney’s fees. Additionally, the school agreed to adopt a new Freedom of Expression policy, “[making] it clear that any individual or group can engage in non-commercial expressive activities, including speeches, demonstrations, vigils, and the distribution of informational materials, in common areas on the campus during periods that the College facilities are open to the general public.”
On 1 March 2019, Young Americans for Liberty announced the launch of the Hazlitt Coalition "to provide YAL's elected officials with modern legislation, facts, and strategies to give them the extra muscle they need to be effective liberty legislators." The name is from Henry Hazlitt, author of Economics in One Lesson (1946).
The Hazlitt Coalition has also collaborated with policymakers to pass constitutional carry and campus free speech reform in Kentucky, as well as constitutional carry in Oklahoma.
In 2019, a bill attempting to reintroduce administrative forfeiture was brought to the Mississippi House of Representatives. If passed, the bill would have allowed local police departments to seize private property without a judicial warrant. The Hazlitt Coalition partnered with state representative Joel Bomgar and several other state legislators to block the bill. The bill was successfully defeated in committee.
To date, the Hazlitt Coalition has partnered with the Institute for Justice to sponsor eight civil asset forfeiture bills in Virginia, Oklahoma, Maine, Iowa, North Dakota, Wyoming, Vermont, and Kentucky.
During the February 19, 2010 CPAC panel, 2 Minute Activist: Saving Freedom Across America, Students For Liberty's Alexander McCobin opened his remarks by thanking the American Conservative Union for welcoming GOProud as a co-sponsor of the event. California Young Americans for Freedom chairman Ryan Sorba followed with less than kind words for McCobin, Students For Liberty, Young Americans for Liberty's Jeff Frazee, and the American Conservative Union condemning the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for inviting GOProud.
In 2011, the University of North Texas chapter of YAL protested a potential outdoor smoking ban on campus by handing out cigarettes in an effort to get students to sign a petition opposing the ban. When university officials reprimanded them, the group claimed they would seek legal aid and that restrictions on handing out the cigarettes was a violation of their First Amendment rights. The group collected 206 signatures for the petition. The university implemented the smoking ban at the beginning of 2013.
- "Strategic Partners". Young Americans for Liberty. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
- George Dance, "Ron Paul Helps Launch Young Americans for Liberty," Nolan Chart, Dec. 7, 2008, Web, May 15, 2011.
- "Libertarians Protest War in Libya". Student Free Press. 23 March 2011. Archived from the original on 27 March 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
- "Fall 2009 Report". Young Americans for Liberty. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- "Spring 2010 Report". Young Americans for Liberty. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- "Fall 2010 Report". Young Americans for Liberty. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- "I have a big announcement for YAL". archive.fo. 23 May 2019. Archived from the original on 23 May 2019.
- "YAL LOCKS IN WIN #38". archive.fo. 24 April 2019. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019.
- "National Events". Young Americans for Liberty. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- "National Debt Event". Young Americans for Liberty. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- "Campus group protests ballooning national debt". JConline. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
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- "Master the balancing Act". Augusta Chronicle. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
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- Reilly, Clarke (26 April 2014). "Hawaiian University Sued For Blocking Students From Passing Out Copies Of The Constitution". Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- "holding liberty legislators accountable". us1.campaign-archive.com.
- "Hazlitt Policy Center". Hazlitt Policy Center.
- Andrew Sullivan "The Weekend Wrap", , The Atlantic, February 22, 2010
- Michael C. Moynihan, "You Know the Lowlights. Here Are a Few Highlights from CPAC…Seriously", , Reason, February 21, 2010
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- William Upton, "Fear and Loathing at CPAC", , The American Conservative, February 22, 2010
- Heinz, Frank (28 November 2011). "UNT Students Hand Out Free Cigarettes to Protest Smoking Ban". Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- Ryan, Rebecca (29 November 2011). "Organization protests smoking ban". North Texas Daily. University of North Texas. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- Smajstrla, Ann (1 December 2011). "SGA fails to pass smoking ban referendum". North Texas Daily. University of North Texas. Archived from the original on 8 December 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- "UNT's Smoke-Free Campus Policy Overview". University of North Texas. Retrieved 29 April 2014.