In January 2019, Jess and Allison intended to meet for networking drinks, but instead met up at an entertainment industry event where they saw senior Hollywood leaders across disciplines donating their time to grassroots political activism and believed young people should do the same.
In their respective careers, Allison and Jess shared the goal of leveraging the power of the media to affect change. with that mission in mind, they decided to build a community centered in facilitating activism among their peers — around the idea that every person could contribute more easily and effectively if they were simply more aware of opportunities to do so. The goal of YEA isn't to tell people what to believe in, but to create opportunities to share differing beliefs, experiences and backgrounds so that we can take action to achieve common goals.
YEA's first event was a simple lunch-making for the homeless featuring Imagine LA and Everyone in LA, two Los Angeles homelessness organizations that were invited to talk about their work and other opportunities for involvement. Next, YEA brought back two of the organizers of the previous event to teach an improvisation-based workshop on how to have conversations with NIMBYers (Not-In-My-Backyarders). YEA's third event built on this theme in the form of a Town Hall discussion featuring Oscar-nominated screenwriter Billy Ray and NYT best-selling novelist Gregg Hurwitz in which the two discussed political messaging, conversations across party lines, and the intersection of media and politics. 100+ people showed up and the next day Jess and Allison's inboxes were flooded with emails expressing the attendees' desires to get involved. To meet demand, YEA got folks involved in organizing the LGBTQ+ Panel & Workshop moderated by Jill Soloway. With over 250 attendees, productive workshops and discussion, the event led to rapid growth and tons of organizing.
The community has strengthened to 1500+ and the YEA team has expanded to 50+ members.
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