Introducing Betsy

My name is Betsy Avila and I am excited to serve as DSA’s newest Youth Organizer.

I am a Los Angeles native, and a first-generation college graduate from the University of Southern California. I got my start organizing during my time at USC, when I founded a student organization on campus under the ONE Campaign, a national campaign advocating against extreme poverty. I later went on to supervise campus groups regionally and worked as a Student Organizer with ONE and the Student Peace Alliance before organizing with electoral campaigns and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Most recently, I have held administrative positions with elected officials in the U.S. House of Representatives and the California State Legislature.

I am a democratic socialist because of my desire for true social justice and equality. But a desire to take action led me to DSA. I first found DSA online, and was quickly introduced to a great group of activists at the 2013 National Convention in Oakland, CA. I immediately began volunteering with the local DSA Los Angeles chapter and with DSA’s Social Media Team at the national level.

I’m particularly fascinated in the power of social media as a tool for organizing. The Internet has changed everything about the way we interact with friends, family, and strangers. It has changed the way we take in and share political information, and it has especially changed the way we start and sustain movements. I hope to educate others, students and otherwise, on how to explore these tools as a means of helping DSA and YDS grow.

During my free time, I enjoy watching documentaries, visiting museums, and exploring new places, so I look forward to living in New York and visiting YDS chapters across the country.

Film Discussion: The Price We Pay

January 30, 2017
· 44 rsvps
The Price We Pay blows the lid off the dirty world of corporate malfeasance — the dark history and dire present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, tax havens - and what we need to do to stop this.  DSA member Bill Barclay, who has a cameo role in the film, will facilitate the discussion. Watch the film prior to the discussion.

Full film available on Vimeo.

How to Plug in New Members

February 01, 2017
· 12 rsvps

Is your DSA chapter growing quickly and you're trying desperately to find ways to plug new members into your chapter's work? Never fear! On this conference call an experienced DSA organizer will go over the basics of new member outreach and developing a plan for plugging new members into your chapter's work. Most of the call will be devoted to troubleshooting specific issues you're facing, so please brainstorm some issues beforehand that you want to bring up on the call.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 7 PM PT.

Film Discussion: Salt of the Earth

February 05, 2017
· 9 rsvps

Join DSA members Shelby Murphy and Deborah Rosenfelt in discussing Salt of the Earth, a captivating film made in 1954 by blacklisted writers and actors about a strike at a New Mexico zinc mine. Well before the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s, these filmmakers were exploring gender inequality and solidarity. Available on Netflix.

Shelby Murphy is a Latina from Texas and former Young Democratic Socialists co-chair. Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, Deborah Rosenfelt researched the making of the film and its aftermath for the reissued screenplay. Here is her blogpost about the film.

 

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 3 rsvps

Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But check out their short the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 2 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion.