Bellaire Young Progressives president discusses new club’s goals


Photos provided by Sernry Tu

Senior Sernry Tu phone banks with the Bellaire Young Progressives for progressive candidate Kara Eastman

Zaid Ali, Senior Reporter

Senior Sernry Tu founded the Bellaire Young Progressives club and serves as the president. Reporter Zaid Ali interviewed him to learn more about the club and what motivated Tu to start it. 

What is the purpose of the Bellaire Young Progressives?

The problem at Bellaire was that there was no club dedicated specifically to the Progressive movement. Our focus is on promoting the left-wing of the Democratic party in any way possible. That involved doing a lot of events such as phone-banking for progressive candidates. We’re planning on having more events besides phone-banking, but that’s what we’re mainly focusing on since the election is coming up.

What exactly does it mean to be a progressive? 

When it comes to club membership, everyone has a different definition of what being a progressive is. If you call yourself a progressive, then you are welcome to join the club. In a more general sense, the progressive movement is opposition towards the corporate type of politics. This includes elevating the working class, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community and more against corporations and corruption.

Why do you think the progressive movement recently sprung up in politics? 

Progressivism has always been in politics. When Obama was running for president, he ran under a progressive type of campaign. He ran a sort of grassroots type campaign and stirred up a lot of excitement. In 2016, Bernie took it in a completely new direction and sparked the type of progressive movement we see today. Previously, we hadn’t even thought about motions such as Medicare for All before Bernie ran. And now, with movements such as Black Lives Matter that led to conversations about police reform and defunding the police and the COVID-19 epidemic that showed the flaws of our current healthcare system where everyone is not covered, more people are getting involved with progressivism after seeing how bad our systems are and why we need to change them.

What political policies do progressives believe in?

I think the biggest priority of progressives is to take corporate money out of politics, like anti-corruption policies and taking lobby groups out of politics. Currently, politicians depend on Wall Street and Big Oil who give them thousands, even millions, of dollars rather than listening to their constituents. Some specific policies that progressives generally believe in are Medicare-for-All and the Green New Deal.

What was your inspiration for starting the club?

At the start of summer, I created an informal group of people through Facebook and we just phone banked through candidates. Later on, I realized that I could make this into an actual club because I noticed that at Bellaire, there wasn’t any club dedicated to working-class politics.

What events have you done and hope to do in the future?

We have had two watch parties for the President and Vice Presidential debate and we’re planning on having a phone-bank for this candidate in Nebraska who is a big proponent of Medicare for All. Later on, we hope to also do some more discussion-based events with our members.

Why do you think it’s important to have a separate club for Progressives?

I personally believe that progressives and regular Democrats are basically two different parties since their beliefs are completely different. The idea that we should just be in Bellaire Young Democrats doesn’t work because a big part of the progressive movement and our club is that we’ve been supporting progressive candidates going against Corporate Democrats. Bellaire Young Democrats can’t take a side when two Democrats are going against each other, so progressives need to do the work to elect Democrats that align with our values.

If we are able to return to school, what other events do you hope to do?

We would definitely do some more physical events, such as protests, physical watch parties on some documentaries about the progressive movement that I liked, and in-person meetings to discuss issues.

How can a Bellaire student get more involved? 

We have an Instagram, @bellaireyp, so they can follow us and get updates on events and meetings we’ll be hosting. They can also DM the account so we can get their email to send out any important info relating to our club. And if they have any ideas that they think BYP could do, they should definitely tell us. We’re a new club and always looking for any new opportunities and events we can participate in.