There’s a grassroots force in local politics and it may not be one people have seen before. The Prince George’s County Young Democrats (PGCYD) proved their power in the primary elections last week and have put people on notice that they’re ready for change in the county.

The organization rocked the establishment in the county last week when three of its candidates, Edward Burroughs, David Murray, and Raaheela Ahmed won their respective school board primaries. All three are under the age of 20.

“The results are clear: Prince George’s County’s residents are tired of the same old politics and Prince George’s County’s Young Democrats are ready to lead the charge for change within our county,” PGCYD President Larry Stafford said in an e-mail to the AFRO.

One person a little surprised by the result was Board Chairwoman and Dist. 5 representative Verjeana Jacobs. Jacobs, who was defeated by Ahmed, said she’s pleased to see young people get involved in politics, but the job is more demanding than what people think.

“The reality is our constituents almost never really know how much work you put into this job,” Jacobs told the {Gazette Newspapers}. “It’s grueling. It’s hard work. … You have to get in the board room. You have to talk about policy, the behind the scenes stuff our citizens never see.”

Jacobs promised that she’ll be able to provide a clearer picture by the General Election in November, but Stafford says that the PGCYD won’t stop as his “vision of a youth powered grassroots movement is becoming a reality.”

That’s not the only thing the organization has done ore the only people who’ve worked for it.

PGCYD prides itself on being an advocate for Prince George’s County Public School students. Last month, when Northwestern High School students were suspended for protesting the conditions of their school, Stafford released a strong statement condemning the suspensions.

“Young people in this county have the right to voice their opinions and demand a redress of grievances,” Stafford said. “Yet, all too often their voices are ignored, or in this case, actively suppressed.

“The administration’s response was counterproductive,” he continued. “If the goal is for student leaders to lead, the Administration must give them meaningful channels of communication and listen to their concerns.”

The organization has also made itself visible on local college campuses. At Bowie State University, the group held a voter registration drive and it also helped open the first Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center on the campus of an HBCU.

This group joins other in the county like the Sandra Pruitt-run People for Change Coalition and the Real Prince George’s in offering alternatives for politically active residents in the county.

For more information about the PGCYD, visit


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO