July Member of the Month: Shannon Kane

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It’s not surprising that Shannon Kane is a marathon runner, given her tenacious support for the Democratic party. We’re proud to name Shannon July’s MRAYD Member of the Month.

Shannon began her organizing with the College Democrats at University of Richmond. She helped recharter that chapter and served as the chapter’s president. While at UR, Shannon worked with the City of Richmond and the University’s administration to establish a polling precinct on campus. Her work made the ballot more accessible to over 1,500 University of Richmond residents.

She did not just organize on UR’s campus. Shannon also organized with the national College Democrats of America, serving as that organization’s Deputy Field Director.

Shannon also formerly served as the Northern Regional Field Organizer for Abigail Spanberger and is an emphatic supporter of Abigail. In September, Shannon will start managing Veena Lothe’s State Senate campaign.

On top of all that, Shannon created Ready for Terry, a grassroots movement supporting former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe for President in 2020.

Shannon was born to a military family but claims Providence, Rhode Island as her hometown. She runs marathons in her – limited – free time.

For all her work on the Democratic party’s behalf, we’re honored to name her as our July Member of the month.

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May Member of the Month: Avohom Carpenter.

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If you recognize the name Avohom Carpenter, it’s probably because he’s knocked on your door before. This month, we’re proud to name Vo Carpenter as our MRAYD member of the month.

Vo was born the sixth of seven kids in Hartford, Connecticut and moved to Hampton Roads when he was in second grade. His mom – a single mother – raised him in Section 8 housing in South Norfolk. Vo graduated from Hampton University, where he double majored in Political Science and History.

Vo’s interest in politics began during the presidential election of 2000. Watching the debate over Bush v. Gore continued his interest in politics. Vo helped as a canvasser for Senator Kaine’s campaign for governor in 2005. However, he saw then-Senator Obama’s campaign for president in 2007 as a call to action. That year, he helped found a Students for Obama chapter at Hampton University, where the group traveled to several states during the primary season to support President Obama’s campaign. In 2008, Vo was made the campus coordinator for the Obama campaign at Hampton.

Since President Obama’s first campaign, Vo has been involved on numerous campaigns. In 2009, he interned with Brian Moran’s campaign for governor and then as a fellow on Senator Deeds campaign. In 2011, he became field director for Connie Brennan’s campaign for the House of Delegates in Nelson County. In early 2012, he became the canvass coordinator for John Delaney’s campaign for Congress in western Maryland.

In 2012, Vo finally found his home in the metro Richmond area. That year, he joined the Obama campaign as a field organizer in the Petersburg office. In 2013, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters hired him as their deputy field director. From 2016 to this February, he was a regional field director and Interim State Field Director of New Virginia Majority. Now, Vo has found his home as director of civic engagement with the Virginia League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.

Outside of work, Vo serves as a gubernatorial appointee to the Virginia Commission on Youth. He also serves as chair of the NAACP Political Action Committee in ChesterfieldCounty and as the magisterial chair of the Chesterfield County Democratic Committee for the Bermuda district.

Vo was also recently named a 30 under 30 honoree by iPower Richmond 92.1.

But politics isn’t everything for Vo. He’s a husband, a father of three, loves sports (the Red Sox and the Indianapolis Colts, in particular), and serves his community by partnering for four years with the Church of God and Saints of Christ and their annual back to school drive to donate clothes, school supplies, shoes, and toys to families in Church Hill. On top of that, he’s working with the Church of God and Saints of Christ to launch a program in July to provide food for the homeless!

April Member of the Month: March for Our Lives Movement

There are moments in life that wholly change your perspective and motivate you to take action.

February 14, 2018. Fourteen students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are gunned down in their school and another fourteen are wounded.

This tragic day, among too many others that preceded it, would become the catalyst for high school students across the nation to take action and say #neveragain; including MRAYD members, Ta’Quan Grant and Ariana Shahidi.

Ta’Quan and Ariana knew that there was no other option than to act, and despite the hectic life that high school students lead, they both helped to organize Richmond’s March for Our Lives: a walkout and protest hundreds of students strong.

Ta’Quan was born in Henrico County but is a product of Section 8 and public housing in Richmond. Ta’Quan prides himself as a community activist and public education advocate. He serves as the Vice Chair of the Virginia Young Democrats Teen Caucus and as the Richmond Police Department’s Young Adult Police Commission. Ta’Quan has also interned for Senator Jennifer McClellan.

When he isn’t politicking, Ta’Quan can be found at All Saints Apostolic Church, where he serves as Associate Minister. He hopes to one day enter the seminary and eventually become a pastor.

At only 12 years old, Ariana became politically involved when she joined her mother in supporting the re-election campaign of President Obama. Since then she has helped to elect Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Terry McAuliffe, and most recently, Ralph Northam. Ariana served as an intern on the successful gubernatorial campaign to elect Ralph Northam.

Being an active participant in her community comes naturally to Ariana, a Senior at Richmond Community High School. There she currently serves as yearbook editor, Key Club President, and National Honor Society Vice-President. She was recently elected Vice Chair of Virginia Young Democrats’ Education Caucus. Outside of her activism, Ariana also volunteers with the Children’s Museum of Richmond and St. Mary’s Hospital.

Ariana will be attending the University of Virginia beginning this Fall.

These Young Democrats are not just the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today. We are proud to recognize Ariana Shahidi, Ta’Quan Grant, and the many students involved in the March for Our Lives moment, as our April Members of the Month.

7 MRAYD Members Elected at 2018 Statewide Convention

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Metro Richmond Area Young Democrats members at the 2018 Virginia Young Democrats Convention Awards Gala in Charlottesville.

Metro Richmond Area Young Democrats is excited to announce that seven of our members were elected to Virginia Young Democrats Executive Board positions at the 2018 Convention in Charlottesville last weekend.

We are proud of our chapter’s continued commitment to leadership on the statewide level, and we congratulate the following individuals on their elections last weekend:

  • Alexsis Rodgers, President
  • Eugene Chigna, Treasurer
  • Jamie Nolan, National Committee Representative
  • Tavarris Spinks, City/County Chair
  • Adam Sachs, Central Region Vice Chair
  • Ta’Quan Grant, Teen Caucus Vice Chair
  • Ariana Shahidi, Education Caucus Vice Chair

Additionally, MRAYD successfully introduced a constitutional amendment at the convention to make the Virginia Young Democrats national committee position titles gender-inclusive. The positions previously called “National Committeeman” and “National Committeewoman” are now called “National Committee Representatives” and are required to be held by two individuals of different gender identities.

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