Here’s the latest you need to know about student debt forgiveness

Thousands of student debt activists took action through our Dreams Not Debt campaign to demand President Biden make good on his campaign promise to cancel federal student loan debt, and back in August, we won! Biden made a historical announcement that included up to $10K of federal student debt forgiveness and $20K for Pell Grant recipients. Let’s not forget the various efforts from young people across the country that brought us this win.

But now, new challenges stand in our way. Here’s the latest with the student loan forgiveness program:

  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (led by six Republican-led states) has issued an injunction that is currently blocking the student loan forgiveness program from being carried out. So applicants, many of whom have already received notice that their application is approved, still have yet to see a dollar of forgiveness through this plan.
  • The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments for the case in February, leaving the injunction in place until then.
  • In response to this injunction, the student loan payment pause will extend until the U.S. Department of Education is permitted to implement the debt relief program or the litigation is resolved–payments will restart 60 days later. If the debt relief program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30th, 2023 – payments will resume 60 days after that.

So, what does this mean?

Suppose the legal challenges against President Biden’s loan forgiveness plan are not resolved by June 30th. In that case, borrowers who qualify for this program will have to resume student loan payments despite being promised loan forgiveness time and time again.

Take Action

We fought hard for student loan forgiveness and won. That means student loan payments should only resume once that promise is delivered. Take action with us by telling President Biden to continue the pause on federal student loan payments as long as the legal battles against this program continue.

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The journey to canceling student debt has not been an easy one. From all of us at the Alliance, and borrowers from across the country, we thank you for your continued support and advocacy. Together we can bring this win forward and continue moving to improve America’s higher education system to reach more of our dreams, not debt.

Cheers to One Year with Dakota!

Cheers to One Year with Dakota!

Today, we’re celebrating Dakota’s one-year anniversary as our Executive Director at the Alliance! Dakota leads us with the belief that through the power of youth organizing, we can create a liberated community. And under his leadership this past year, we have strived toward that vision.

Celebrate Dakota’s First Year with a Donation

We invite you to join us in celebrating Dakota’s first year of leadership at the Alliance with a donation.

From now until the end of the year, your donation to the Alliance for Youth Action will be matched through the Power Progress campaign. For every dollar we raise, it will be doubled – that means double the power.

Help us reach our $10,000 goal!

Accomplishments Under Dakota’s Lead

Here is just a glimpse of what we’ve accomplished under Dakota’s leadership in the past year:

  • Supported Alliance Network youth organizers to mobilize young people at historic rates to show up in the midterms, exceeding expectations and beating the odds. 
  • Uplifted the incredible on-the-ground work from youth organizers in our network through op-eds, press, podcast interviews, and more. Check out this Democracy Docket op-ed and MTV segment.
  • Moved more than $6 million directly to local organizations and helped facilitate another $4.6 million to scale their program to turn out young voters to elect candidates and pass ballot initiatives that take action on the issues young people care about most. 
  • Hosted our first in-person convening in 3 years for senior staff at local youth-led organizations in the Alliance Network to strengthen their on-the-ground electoral and issue organizing in their communities.
  • Provided the Alliance Network with a public health consultant to return to organizing in person across the network safely.
  • Sent Alliance national staff across the country to support the Alliance Network in getting out the youth vote.

Share on Social Media

Share these posts honoring Dakota’s leadership on social media to help us reach our goal!

Joy and celebration are so important in our movement. And with you cheering us on in the years ahead, we’ll be able to muster even more energy to fight for the issues young people care about most.

To this new era of leadership building youth power in the years to come!

🗳💪🏽Today we’re flexing the power of the youth vote 

November 16th Update

Alliance Network youth organizers prepared young people in their communities to show up informed and ready to cast their ballots in this year’s midterms. And now, we are looking back at all of the hard work youth organizers put in this year to help turn out around 27% of youth (ages 18-29) making this the second-highest youth voter turnout in a midterm election in the last three decades.

Young people were also the only age group to break for Democrats. Black and Latino youth gave Democrats their strongest support with 89% of Black youth and 68% of Latino youth voting for Democratic House candidates. Young people (18-29) supported Democrats nationwide on average 63% compared to 35% for Republicans. This is historic, and the third-largest gap in history.

Here is a snapshot of the work the Alliance Network did this year to mobilize young people and fight for our future. 

  • Voters Registered: 71,896
  • Voter Guides Distributed: 1,252,561
  • Mail Pieces Sent: 1,943,502
  • Doors Knocked: 500,334
  • Total Volunteers Recruited: 3,282
  • Fellows: 209
  • Relational Volunteers: 3,205*
  • Relational Attempts: 64,324

*Relational organizing was key for our network this year. It is the act of mobilizing personal contacts within a volunteer’s network. It can be as simple as a call, text, or even a friendly chat at work or a community event — with a single conversation, volunteers can jumpstart action within their community.

The Alliance Network wins by organizing young people year-round, and this year we can thank youth organizers for several wins in this election. 

Our 20 network organizations engaged in a total of 256 races from city council races to governor races and everything in between. 

Alliance Network organizations are dedicated to electing candidates who represent our values. Out of the 116 candidates they endorsed in local races, 81 won! 

Our network is committed to passing policies that reflect our values and what our communities need. Out of the 36 ballot measures our network engaged in, they won 28 of them!

Here’s a glimpse at some of the local wins we’ve been celebrating:

After a partnership with the Chicago Bears, Chicago Votes was featured on ESPN. They are heading into a veto session in the coming weeks to advocate for Senate Bill 828, which restores voting rights to people currently incarcerated.

This cycle, Engage Miami organized around, and recently won on Referendum #210 which increases teacher’s pay in Miami-Dade County!

Every. Vote. Counts. And Forward Montana recognizes that now more than ever after they supported the re-election of a critical progressive legislator in Montana  who won his race by a few hundred votes. 

In Wisconsin, Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT) knocked over 120,00 doors this cycle, accompanying that with 250,000 calls, and 73,000 voter guides distributed to young folks across the state helping Democratic incumbent Gov. Tony Evers declare victory.

MOVE Texas is celebrating local wins related to climate action in South Texas.

Next Up won proportional representation in Portland, Oregon. With Measure 26-228’s passage, Portland will now use ranked choice voting in elections for mayor, auditor, and city council, create four City Council districts with three representatives each, and appoint a professional city administrator to manage all city services, starting in 2024. Oregon also voted to remove language from its constitution that allowed slavery as punishment.

Thanks to their rigorous work engaging Asian American voters, North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) saw a huge increase in AAPI early vote numbers. A 66% increase from 2018, and 7x more than in 2014. They are also celebrating wins for 18 of their 22 endorsed candidates!

Detroit Action won two ballot measures! Proposal 2, the voter rights amendment to their state constitution, and another to enshrine abortion rights. They also celebrate nine of their 11 endorsed candidates who won their races!

New Hampshire Youth Movement (NHYM) is celebrating wins for 18 out of 28 of their endorsed candidates, including one former NHYM staff member who won a seat in the New Hampshire State House!

This year, Loud Light in Kansas won their abortion ballot initiative and Governor’s race. They also had nearly 40 fellows organizing college students across ten different campuses. Alongside the ACLU of Kansas, they also ran a statewide Election Protection program with nearly 150 poll observers across 20 different counties. Loud Light was also able to rally over 1,000 volunteers to take action in their various engagements. 

Asian Community Development Council (ACDC) endorsed two ballot measures that both passed! One measure was to adopt what is widely considered the most comprehensive state version of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the nation. It amends the state Constitution to ensure equal rights for all, “regardless of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin.” The other measure was around raising the minimum wage.

This year’s election showed that young people are not only reimagining a democracy done right, but also reimagining what this country could be in the future because young people are pissed off. They are angry that this country has set them up for failure. They are angry that social security nets and social barriers are being broken down. They are upset the Supreme Court took away their constitutional right to abortion access. 

And youth organizers in the Alliance Network were able to channel this anger into historic youth voter turnout and get major wins throughout the country that will create a better future for all of us. This year, the youth vote made the difference, but we won’t stop here. We’re channeling this energy to move us to 2024 and beyond!

November 10th Update

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. EVERY election counts. This midterm election, millions of young people across the country put on their capes to be the superheroes of democracy. Their votes made a change in their communities and solidified the Gen Z and Millennial voting bloc as a political force.  This year was the second-highest youth voter turnout in a midterm election in the last three decades.

In several states like Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, it was young people that elected Democrats and rejected Trump-backed election deniers. The youth vote will continue to be the deciding factor in our elections, and should not be taken for granted.

Across 18 states, our network turned out young voters in their states, leading to some incredible victories and preserving our democracy. Next week, we’ll dive deeper into the Alliance Network’s impact on this year’s midterm elections. But let’s not wait to celebrate! Here are just a few highlights from the Alliance Network so far.

Gen Z and Millennials will continue to be the largest voting bloc for years to come, and they have proven time and time again that they will show up to vote and change the outcome of elections. Time and time again, polls have been wrong about us, and we say instead of listening to a pollster, listen to a local youth organizer. 

Happy Election Day, Alliance Fam!

Young people across the Alliance Network have been organizing their communities all year long, and it’s all been leading up to today. Election Day is finally here and we have so much to celebrate already. As of yesterday, more than 6 million Gen-Z and Millennial voters have cast a ballot. And so far, we have seen major wins happen, thanks to the local youth-led grassroots organizing happening across the network. 

The Power of Year-Round Local Youth Organizing

During their August primary, Loud Light worked in coalition to stop a constitutional amendment that would ban abortion in Kansas and they WON! With Kansas voters being the first to vote on abortion access post-Roe, this was a huge win led by young people. Thanks to Chicago Votes organizers, Cook County Jail (recently made a polling place thanks to a 2019 win) had record turnout of 24.9% in their primary. Forward Montana also celebrated a win after challenging voter suppression laws passed by the state legislature that made it more difficult for young Montanans to cast their ballot. And because of the power of the youth vote, the opposition is actively targeting youth of color with disinformation. Earlier this month, North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) called out and discredited disinformation seeking to mislead and harm the AAPI community. Youth organizers in our network will continue to stand resilient against attempts to suppress and silence our votes.

Vote Today

Haven’t voted yet? It’s not too late to use the Alliance’s #VoteReady hub to make a plan to vote today! Find your polling place and see what’s on your ballot all in one place. 

And here are some important things to remember:

  • Voter intimidation is illegal and should always be reported. Call or text the Election Protection hotline to connect with a trained volunteer or to report voting issues:
    • 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
  • Election night is not always results night and election workers are there to ensure every vote gets counted accurately. Election workers need time to count every single vote — including in person, mail, absentee, overseas, and military ballots. Every vote counts and so we must #counteveryvote.
  • Our elections have been proven to be secure. There are rigorous processes in place for testing and certifying voting machines, along with procedures to ensure accuracy. Claims about flawed or compromised voting machines have been repeatedly debunked and are a tactic to try to keep eligible voters from casting their ballots. Don’t let these claims stop you from having your voice heard. 

What’s at Stake

Youth organizers in the Alliance Network know that young people are multi-issue voters who are facing so much. In Michigan, they are fighting for abortion access. In Wisconsin, they are fighting to preserve democracy. In Florida, they are fighting against authoritarianism. These issues and so much more are on ballots across our Alliance Network states. 

A climate crisis, mental health issues leading to high rates of suicide, Black and Brown youth being targeted, profiled, and killed by the police, young people who have been through multiple economic crises in their lives and are now stunted by rising housing prices, low wages, and recessions and now – young people know a world without federal constitutional protection of abortion rights.

And it is youth organizers from coast to coast who have invested in and built with young people year-round to address these issues and protect the freedom to vote in their states. And for youth organizers in the Alliance Network who are at the forefront of fighting for these issues, they’re directly impacted as well. So, today is a celebration of young people’s resilience in the face of these threats to our democracy and to our lives. After today, the fight continues. Join our Democracy Done Right campaign to stay tuned on what’s next. 

Share Your Democracy Debut Story

Are you or someone you know voting for the first time in this year’s midterm elections? We want to hear your first-time voter story! The Alliance is rolling out the red carpet to celebrate first-time voters making their Democracy Debut this November.

Hear from first-time voters that have shared their stories with us already.

Send us your story and tell the world that you’re joining us in contributing to our democracy!

Looking to see what the rest of the Alliance Network is up to on Election Day? Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see how we’re celebrating democracy today! 

Gen-Z and Millennial voters will be a decisive electoral force this midterm election because of the power local youth organizing. And it is Alliance Network organizations serving as political homes that educate voters year-round, and turn them out to vote every 👏🏽 single 👏🏽 election 👏🏽. 

To fueling the youth vote. Let’s get it!

Let us be your guide…to the 2022 Midterms

The Alliance Network is leading young people all across the country to the polls this year, and we’re gearing up for a successful election. New CIRCLE data tells us that many states have exceeded or even come close to matching their 2018 youth voter registration numbers pointing to the potential for high youth participation in the upcoming election. This is a huge win for young voters, but we’re not finished yet.

Alliance organizers are hard at work this season getting out the youth vote in their communities. One way has been through creating digital and print voter guides to help folks vote their values down the ballot. Many Alliance Network organizations have also spent countless hours researching and interviewing candidates to release a slate of endorsements this season.

Do you live in one of these states? Check out some of the Alliance Network’s voter resources to help guide you before heading to the polls next week.

Find Resources in Your State

Don’t live in one of these states? The Alliance can still help you get ready to cast your ballot. Use our #VoteReady hub for all of your election needs! Check on your voter registration status, find your polling place, and make a plan to vote, all in one place. 

A Quick GOTV Recap

In the last two weeks of October, the Alliance staff was working across the country to get out the youth vote with our network orgs! Check out some of the highlights from our trips:

Week One – October 18-24

In week one, we had five staff members across four different states supporting our network orgs. Here’s a little breakdown on the work they did:


Alliance Executive Director, Dakota, spent the week knocking on doors with Detroit Action to build power within the community by encouraging folks to pledge to vote on November 8th.

North Carolina

Content Manager, Eliana, canvassed Asian Americans across Raleigh, North Carolina with North Carolina Asian Americans Together In Action (NCAAT). They shared NCAAT In Action’s voter guide and cards with their endorsed candidates.


Kenny, Director of Program Capacity, spent the week with Ohio Student Association canvassing college students on several campuses across the state.


Operations team members, John and Zahra, worked with Chicago Votes on hosting an in-person donor briefing and tabling at different locations across the city. They also spent some time canvassing and sharing guides on how to vote with the community.

Week Two – October 25-31

During week two, we sent eight staff members out across five different states to support a different slate of network orgs with their GOTV work. Check out what the week two group was up to:


The other half of the Operations team, Marisa and Jordan, spent their time working with AZ Poder canvassing and sharing voter guides with the Phoenix, Arizona community.


Digital Director, Daniela and Senior Finance Director, Billy, took to the streets of Portland, Oregon with Next Up to canvass community members and do some event support at a local rally.


Over in Bozeman, Montana, Alliance Chief Impact Officer, Amit, worked with Forward Montana to canvass neighborhoods and hand out voter guides.


Dakota, spent his second week of GOTV in Miami, Florida with Engage Miami speaking to young voters on college campuses and getting them ready to cast their ballot.


Senior Director of Communications, Carmel, and Data Manager, Kate, spent the week in Nevada working with Asian Community Development Council and One APIA Nevada to get out the Asian American vote in Las Vegas. They worked ACDC’s KPOP-themed voter event, distributed meals to the community, and canvassed community members to get them ready to vote.

From creating voter guides, to endorsing candidates, to compiling voter resources, to registering voters, youth organizers have been putting in the work to make the change they want to see. Now it’s time to do your part. Make sure you, your friends, and family use Alliance resources to make a plan to vote today!

We 💖 the Civic Holidays! 

As the leaves change and November 8th approaches, what better way to get communities #VoteReady than by celebrating the Civic Holidays?! And no one does it better than the Alliance Network!

For those who don’t know, the Civic Holidays are nonpartisan days of action that help strengthen and celebrate our democracy.

  • National Voter Registration Day – September 20th, 2022
  • National Voter Education Week – October 3-7, 2022
  • Vote Early Day – October 28th, 2022
  • Election Hero Day – November 7th, 2022

They bring together a coalition of organizations and communities with the goal of getting as many folks ready to cast their ballots as possible. The Alliance Network celebrates the Civic Holidays through a variety of programs, but we also like to highlight their impact on college campuses through our Campus Takeover program.

Here’s how the Alliance Network has been celebrating the Civic Holidays. Be sure to check back for updates after each holiday!

National Voter Registration Day

We were so busy on NVRD we couldn’t fit it into one post! As co-founders of the holiday, NVRD is one of our favorite days of the year. Alliance organizers dominate the voter reg game every year, and they showed up and showed out yet again during this year’s 10th anniversary of NVRD. The day was filled with fun and creative events held all across the country. Check out our NVRD blog post for more!

National Voter Education Week

Asian Community Development Council (ACDC) celebrated NVEW on TikTok and Instagram this year by sharing a series of videos corresponding to each action dedicated to each day of the week.

Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT) along with a coalition of state partners held OctVOTERfest on October 6th, to celebrate and educate Wisconsin voters ahead of the midterms.

Mississippi Votes celebrated NVEW by taking to social media in a partnership with Joe Kennedy to keep Mississippi voters informed and #VoteReady with various online resources.

Vote Early Day

Alliance organizers are celebrating Vote Early Day by hosting various events and actions throughout the network.

New Era Colorado has been hard at work tabling on college campuses to get students out to vote, and for Vote Early Day, they’re celebrating by hosting a statewide phonebank!

MOVE Texas is spending the day engaging students in whiteboard storms on college campuses across the state, and hosting in-person actions with pizza, GOTV literature, and their voter guides.

Over in Nevada, ACDC is hosting Permission to Vote KPOP to the Polls, an event that sends party buses of people to the early voting booth along with free boba and KPOP photo cards.

Florida Student Power Network and Chicago Votes are celebrating spooky season with their Halloween-themed early voting events.

The Washington Bus Education Fund is hosting a get-out-the-vote phonebank for Vote Early Day, encouraging youth voters to turn in their ballots ahead of November 8th. They’re also partnering with local colleges to host a ballot party and tabling events.

On Sunday, October 30th North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) and their partners are hosting Every Vote Everywhere All At Once, a celebration of Asian artistry and community power as they gear up for the midterms. The event will feature special performances, a vendor market, games and activities, free food, and a set from author, poet, and comedian Alok Vaid-Menon

Get #VoteReady

The most important thing you can do right now is to get vote ready. This means making sure your voter registration is up-to-date.  Then, make sure your family, friends, and neighbors are all vote ready. The power to make lasting change in your community starts with getting registered to vote. Check out the #VoteReady hub on the Alliance website to get started today!

We want Democracy Done Right – here’s how the Alliance Network is strengthening our voting system

Our campaign, Democracy Done Right is all about creating a voting system that reflects who we are as voters. With young people being the largest, and most diverse voting bloc in our nation’s history, we deserve a democracy that is accessible and reflects all of the progress we’ve made.

Youth organizers in the Alliance Network have been doing this work for years and have paved the way for historic and innovative reforms that allow their communities to cast their ballot in ways that work for them. 

Democracy Wins Across the Network

The Alliance Network is leading the nation with automatic voter registration laws

In 2009, Oregon Bus Project began a campaign to automatically register voters at state agencies like the DMV. In 2015, now known as Next Up, they won–sparking a series of automatic voter registration reforms all across the country. 

Protecting polling places on college campuses and engaging students to register to vote

As the right to vote has come under attack in the country, Forward Montana, MOVE Texas, Next Up, Engage Miami, and New Era Colorado have successfully preserved on-campus access to the ballot.

Engage Miami fought for and won early voting sites at Miami college campuses for the 2018 Midterm Elections. The Washington Bus and New Era Colorado were able to get ballot drop-off boxes on campuses across their respective states. And MOVE Texas won polling locations on Texas college campuses contributing to a dramatic increase in student voter turnout.

Alliance Network orgs have also been engaging students through our Campus Takeover program around the Civic Holidays. Through Campus Takeover, the network has been able to host fun and innovative events and programs to get out the vote on college campuses. By centering our efforts on campuses, we are able to help students realize their identities as voters, remove common barriers from civic engagement, and create a culture of voting and non-partisan civic engagement on campuses that students are likely to carry with them long after they graduate.

Expanding voting access 

To ensure young people have access to engage in our democracy from a young age, New Era Colorado worked to pass a law 17-year-olds who turn 18 by the general election are able to vote in their primaries. In 2021 Forward Montana Foundation sued their state over House Bill 506, a bill that would restrict access to the ballot for voters who turn 18 in the month before Election Day, and won! In August, 2022 a judge declared the bill unconstitutional, finding that it infringes on young Montanans’ right to vote. 

Chicago Votes has been working to expand voting access to people in jail. In 2019 they were able to help pass a senate bill making Cook County Jail the first jail in the country to become a polling place. And thanks to Chicago Votes organizers, Cook County Jail had record turnout of 24.9% for the 2022 primary election (which is higher than Chicago’s at-large turnout of around 20%).

Learn More About Democracy Done Right

Join the campaign by signing the petition today. We’re calling on elected leaders to support us in creating a modern voting system that works for the America we are, not the America we were.

Check out our protect democracy initiatives, read how young people in battleground states are anticipating access to the ballot with our latest poll results, and share the campaign on social media over on the Democracy Done Right webpage.

Share Your Story

We are rolling out the red carpet to celebrate first-time voters making their Democracy Debut this November! More than 8 million young people have turned 18 since the 2020 election. Imagine a world where every single one of them cast their ballot in the 2022 midterm elections.

We want to make sure the wave of new voters feel confident about making their democracy debut into their civic engagement journey. Are you voting for the first time in this year’s midterm elections? We want to hear from you! Tell us your story and tell the world that you’re making your democracy debut!

⚠️ It’s time to complete your federal student debt relief application ⚠️

Thanks to the work of student debt advocates, many of them in the Alliance for Youth Action network, the Biden Administration delivered on their campaign promise to cancel federal student loan debt. Back in August, President Biden announced that the administration is providing up to $10,000 in federal debt relief and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. Now applications for student debt relief are officially open!

Here’s what you need to know:

You can complete the application for student debt relief right now! Go ahead, we’ll wait right here for you. 🙂

Share the information on social

Now that you’ve applied for student debt relief, share the information with your friends! Share our posts from Instagram and Twitter to let your friends know they can apply for federal student debt relief right now!

Thanks to youth advocates for student debt relief, 40 million people are now eligible for student debt relief, and 20 million people could have their federal student debt wiped out completely. While this is a huge win, we have a lot more work to do to ensure all people can access higher education.

Keep inviting your networks to join the Dreams Not Debt campaign so we can continue taking action around affordable education and ending the student debt crisis.

Happy GOTV Season!

The youth vote will be essential to winning the midterms, so the Alliance team is hitting the road to do on-the-ground get-out-the-vote (GOTV) organizing with the Alliance Network! For the last two weeks of October, Alliance staff members are traveling across the country to nine Alliance Network organizations  to help turn out the youth vote in their states.

Follow us on social media to see local peer-to-peer organizing in action!!

Join us this GOTV season!

Join us on our journey by volunteering with an Alliance Network organization! The nine network orgs we’re traveling to are looking for local volunteers to support their GOTV programs. Are you in one of these states? Please join us. Just a few hours of your time can have a huge impact on youth voter turnout.

Not in one of these states? That’s okay! There’s still plenty of ways you can support our work. By making a donation to the Alliance you’re directly supporting the on-the-ground in-the-streets work that is key to a great democracy. Help us organize, build power, and win on the progressive issues our generation cares about most by making a donation today!

Make Sure Your Community is #VoteReady

Join the Alliance in getting out the youth vote by making sure your community is ready to cast their ballots this November. Share the Alliance #VoteReady hub with friends, neighbors, and family so they can check their registration status, register to vote, and find their polling place.

The Alliance team is fired up and ready to turn out the youth vote. We’re in the business of building young people’s political power and we do it by engaging young people in every election, everywhere. We do this work because when more young people vote, we build a better future for us all, and we’re happy to have you join us on our journey to getting out the youth vote for the 2022 midterms.

We hope you’ll join us this GOTV season!

Introducing…Democracy Debut! 🗳🎉

More than 8 million young people have turned 18 since the 2020 election. Imagine a world where every single one of them cast their ballot in the 2022 midterm elections. That’s the world we want to create. That’s why we do this work! And today, the Alliance for Youth Action is rolling out the red carpet to celebrate first-time voters making their Democracy Debut this November with our new campaign.

Are you voting for the first time in this year’s midterm elections? Tell us what is motivating you to make 2022 your democracy debut! We want to hear what issues are driving you to the polls and what your plan to vote is for this year. Share your story so we can celebrate with you! 

Democracy Debut is a digital campaign dedicated to welcoming first-time voters into our democracy. There are millions of newly eligible voters each year, and the Alliance wants every single voter to feel confident about making their democracy debut into their civic engagement journey. Young people are passionate about multiple issues impacting them, their families, and their communities. Whether in the streets, at the courthouse, or the ballot box – millions of young people across the country are making their voices heard for the first time.

While this campaign specifically targets the 8 million newly eligible young voters, anyone who is voting for the first time this November can participate!  

Making your democracy debut is all about how you’re engaging in the political process for the first time. While it’s just one of many ways young people can participate in the political process, voting is a powerful way to make their voices heard and impact issues affecting them and their communities.

Make Sure You’re #VoteReady

The most important thing you can do now, is to vote. Our vote is one of the most powerful tools we have in defending and strengthening our democracy, so make sure you’re harnessing your power. Check your registration status and register to vote, see what’s on your ballot, and make a plan to vote at the Alliance #VoteReady hub today.

We’re Fighting for a Stronger Democracy

The stakes are far too high to take anything – especially our democracy – for granted, and youth organizers in the Alliance Network know that. It is the power of local youth organizing that will fuel the turnout of the new 8 million young people making their democracy debut at the polls this November. According to CIRCLE data, young people are more likely to pay attention to local, Congressional, and Senate elections when contacted by a local community organization. And it is the local youth-led organizations in the Alliance Network that do just that – contact young people through innovative, impactful peer-to-peer organizing. 

Youth organizers in the Alliance Network know that young people are multi-issue voters and have invested in and built with young people year-round. Read more about what the network has done over the years to fight voter suppression and expand access to the ballot box in their states.

Young People are an Electoral Force

Since 2018, young people have been turning out in record numbers and winning real progress. And in 2020, young people did their jobs. Amid a global pandemic and widespread economic uncertainty, half of all young people ages 18 to 29 voted. President Biden took office with Democratic control of the House and Senate because young people turned out to vote across the country to deliver their victories.

Young people can once again play a crucial role in saving our democracy and defeating candidates that threaten our future of free and fair elections. Our August poll of young voters in battleground states found that the overwhelming majority of young people in these key states say they plan to get involved in the 2022 elections with 86% saying they will turn out to vote.

With millions of new voters this cycle, including over 3.8 million BIPOC youth, this is the most diverse electorate the country has ever seen. 

The poll we conducted earlier this year already rang the alarm for political leaders in Washington, DC to focus on the policy priorities that young people care about well ahead of November. Midterm election candidates must have robust plans to address protecting abortion access, democracy reform and voting rights, affordable healthcare, and passing common sense gun laws – the top issues driving young battleground state progressives to vote this November. Young people are ready to cast their ballot this November, so it’s on political campaigns to reach out to young voters on the issues they care about.

Resistance & Resilience | Indigenous Peoples’ Day

by Dakota Hall

Today, across Indigenous reservations, you will find the resistance and resilience of Indigenous people who have fought for their culture, lands, language, and traditions for centuries against white supremacy colonialism.  

That resistance and resilience have enabled me to succeed as a young Black Indigenous leader from the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin & Lac Courte Oreilles Band who finds himself leading the Alliance for Youth Action. The Alliance is a nationwide network of youth organizations that create and inspire a more just and equitable country every single day. I see the resistance and resilience of young people of color within our network as they organize towards access to higher education, abortion access, holding government institutions accountable for failing Black and Brown communities, and much more. 

The resistance and resilience that runs through Indigenous people catalyze the rebellion against modern-day colonialism. The ideals of manifest destiny are deep-rooted in the American psyche through folk tales of the beautiful founding of our country. We all know the story; you know the one. The myth of the Pilgrims landing on Indigenous land and immediately becoming friends with the Indigenous people and nations. 

We must confront the institutionalized teaching of Indigenous people that rewrites history so it can avoid the uncomfortable grip of guilt that plagues White Americans. Many people have never had a meaningful interaction or friendship with an Indigenous person, have an Indigenous coworker or boss, or are aware that the city, county, or state they live in has its namesake from an Indigenous language. The knowledge gap between Indigenous history and modern-day problems is a bridge we must build if we want future generations of Indigenous people to thrive on their traditional homelands.

This is not just about broken treaties; it is about the institutionalized legislative and budget decisions to remove wealth and health from Indigenous communities and promote legalized discrimination. In 1887, the Dawes Act, also known as General Allotment Act, was passed to force Indigenous Communities to “assume a capitalist and proprietary relationship with property.” Tribal nations lost another two-thirds of their land, or about 90 million acres, after already losing over a billion acres of land via genocidal warfare, manipulation, and dubious treaties.

It was just 98 years ago that all Indigenous People were granted citizenship in this country through the Indian Citizen Act of 1923, and we waited another 44 years after that for the passage of the Indian Civil Rights Act to receive many of the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. But it does not stop there; 70 years after being granted citizenship, the passage of the amended American Indian Religious Act gave Indigenous people the right to use all traditional medicines in ceremonies. These are just a few of the laws that accentuate the long injustices and fight for fundamental human rights Indigenous communities have had to endure. 

Today, an epidemic of murdered and missing Indigenous women highlights the continued violence against Indigenous women perpetuated for centuries. Four out of five Indigenous women experience some form of violence in their lifetime. Indigenous women face murder rates more than ten times the national average. In 2016, the National Crime Information Center reported that there were almost 6,000 Indigenous women and girls missing, while the US Department of Justice’s federal missing person database only logged 116 of those cases. Indigenous women have to face some of the highest rates of violence in this country, and law enforcement agencies also ignore it. 

Across reservation and urban cities, Indigenous people face a crisis in health equity. Indigenous people have a life expectancy of five and half years less than all other races in the United States and continue to die at higher rates of preventable illnesses. One of the primary drivers of this is the consistent underfunding of the Indian Health Service agency responsible for providing healthcare to more than 570 tribal nations in the United States. Without action, we will continue to see Indigenous communities have disproportionate preventable death rates. 

The centuries-long systemic racism and attempted eradication of my people from history have a lasting impact on much more than the violence against women or health disparities. More than a quarter of Indigenous people live in poverty, the highest rate in the nation. Indigenous households have 8 cents of wealth for every average White household. For the last 25 years, Indigenous people have had the lowest education achievement rates. This demands attention and action immediately, but we are continuously ignored in mainstream political debates while in a crisis and fighting for survival. As the midterm election approaches, I have yet to hear a plan for Indigenous communities and our health. To constantly be left out of the conversation, or placed with the ‘other’ box on statistics, is erasure and aids this country in eliminating the “Indian Problem.”

Simply put, Indigenous lives have been in a state-manufactured crisis for centuries. We continue to resist colonial white supremacy by speaking our languages, practicing our traditions, and refusing assimilation as a way of survival. Our resilience will ensure the next seven generations continue the legacy of their ancestors and chart their path of Indigenous greatness. 

Every Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a call to action for those who consider themselves allies or co-conspirators to Indigenous people. We need those not a part of our communities to uplift our community and the crisis we live in daily. If you are privileged enough to have Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a day off, take some time to learn more about Indigenous issues and take action.

How to Support Indigenous People

Be attentive to the language you use

  • “Low man on the totem pole/climbing the totem pole” 
    • Totem poles are very sacred items to Indigenous people. Figures carved on totem poles represent familial legends, clan lineages or notable events. In some Indigenous communities, being low on the totem pole is actually a higher honor than being on the top.
  • We should get together and have a powwow about that”
    • Powwows are social gatherings for ceremonial and celebratory purposes and are conducted under strict protocol. Using this phrase to refer to a quick business meeting denigrates the long, cultural significance of the powwow. 
  • “Off the reservation”
    • Implies you are not thinking or functioning properly, that you are crazy or stupid. This dates back to when the US Military would forcibly prevent Indigenous people living reservations, they must be stupid to challenge the military.

Join Campaigns

Take action with the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women