High School Democrats of America

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High School Democrats of America
ChairmanJason Lam
Founded2005; 14 years ago (2005)
Social liberalism
Mother partyDemocratic Party
WebsiteHigh School Democrats of America Website

The High School Democrats of America, (HSDA) is a student-led organization committed to mobilizing young people and electing Democrats. In HSDA, student activists across the country engage in political activity, working hard to ensure that youth have a voice in government; members lead campaigns, organize marches, educate their communities, and pursue the agenda of the Democratic party.

Formerly part of the Young Democrats of America[1][2] the members of the High School Democrats of America represents high school students at all levels of the Democratic Party.[3]


Although State Chapters for the organization and idea existed long beforehand, the High School Democrats of America itself was founded in December 2005, by Ahmed Kokon (NY) and Jonathan Padilla (CA).

In June 2014, the High School Democrats of America formally ended its affiliation with the Young Democrats of America, and ceased function as the Young Democrats of America's High School Caucus. With the change, the position of National Parliamentarian became Development Director that served as Parliamentarian both dissolving disputes and presiding over elections. They held their first national conference, the HSDA Strategic Summit, in Washington D.C. during July 2015.


The national organization presides over HSDA as a whole. It’s led by the National Executive Board, which consists of the Chair, Vice Chairwoman, Vice Chairman, Communications Director, Programs Director, and Development Director. The National E-Board is responsible for overseeing the organization, expanding HSDA, and working with states to promote HSDA and Democratic causes. The National E-Board is elected every year during the annual convention of the HSDA Summit. Leadership also includes a National Committee consisting of two representatives from individual states, territories, and the District of Columbia. The Executive Board also employs a group of volunteer staff, ranging from Financial Directors to Political Advisors.

The 2018-2019 Executive Board is as follows: ·Chairman: Jason Lam ·Vice Chairwoman: Ariana Smartt ·Vice Chairman: Talat Aman ·Communications Director: Brennan Leach ·Programs Director: Haritha Kumar ·Development Director: Anne Austin

Each state organization works with all the local chapters in their state, and is responsible for connecting chapters, expanding HSDA, and promoting Democratic causes at a state level. State chapters also have an extensive list of accolades, from hosting the first regional Summit in HSDA’s history to hosting a “Unity Day” with the Teenage Republicans to promote bipartisanship. Each state holds its own elections to determine who makes up the state organization.

Local chapters are the base of HSDA. Chapters at high schools and in their communities work at a grassroots level by rallying young people behind causes. Local HSDA chapters have organized marches, registered voters, and helped to elect Democrats in their own communities.

HSDA consists of local chapters, state organizations, and the national organization.


The organization is involved in a number of projects, including a Huffington Post blogging project and a separate publishing opportunity through The Progressive Teen. Both projects are aimed at inspiring political discourse and offering members the opportunity to voice their opinions important civic issues in a highly-visible setting. The organization has also proved instrumental and necessary in several campaigns across the country, including the election of Joseph Donnelly and Elizabeth Warren to the US Senate, as well as the notable election of President Barack H. Obama in 2008. The organization has taken stances on important issues throughout the political spectrum, but has been recently focused on student loan reform, immigration reform, and gun control. After a school shooting in February 2018, the HSDA began to more strongly advocate for stronger gun control.

Since 2015, HSDA has hosted an annual summit to train student activists and teach them to organize in their communities. HSDA has also garnered the attention of several notable politicians, including Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Former Vice President Joe Biden.

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