collage of black leaders

Making Black History and Creating Black Futures

The Black youth organizers in the Alliance for Youth Action network are making history every single day. They work 365 days a year to build youth political power and make a change in their communities fighting for jobs that pay a living wage, accessible healthcare that includes mental health care, access to nutrition,  access to the ballot box, and more. 

Learn how Black youth organizers in the Alliance network are transforming their communities and building brighter futures for us all.

Brian X

he/they | Cultural Manager at Chicago Votes | Chicago, IL

How are you making Black history right now?

Currently leading Chicago Votes’ judicial efforts. Coordinating over 150 volunteers to digitally go into Cook County courtrooms and track data on racial and gender bias. The data collected will be used for public education around the current climate of courtrooms in addition to validating the necessities for some of the legislation that we are currently trying to pass. One piece of legislation is the Judicial Quality act which ensures judges receive quarterly trainings on racial bias, child abuse as well as the impact of trauma on youth brain development. Another piece of legislation is the Jury Qualifications Act which provides that no person who is qualified to serve as a juror may be excluded from jury service on the basis of a previous criminal record.

Also leading the Cultural work at Chicago Votes. Managing the Give A Sh*t collective of over 30 artists who lead monthly mutual aid efforts as well as using their art as a means to express their political/social views in a more digestible manner for young people ages 17-35. Civic engagement can in fact be fun.

What does a loving, safe, just, and thriving future for Black youth look like?

A future where public schools are funded properly and the curriculum is up to date and all inclusive of past historical events. I see a future where even the architectural design of a public school does not resemble the inside of a county jail. A future where fresh food and healthy drinking water are accessible for all and not just thriving or overly funded communities. A future where every Black child has an equal chance of obtaining a college degree. A future in which if a Black child opts to not go to college, that will not be held against them for the remainder of their lives, being a constant Black cloud hanging over their heads. I imagine a future where all Black youth has fair access to jobs they desire. An internship, retail, restaurant industry, summer programs, no matter the occupation, ensure that every Black youth is being paid fair and liveable wages.

Who are other young Black leaders that bring you joy?

I am reminded of our ancestors. The leaders who were pieces to a puzzle they never lived to see the completion of: Chairman Fred Hampton, Huey P. Newton, Afeni Shakur

I am reminded of all of my peers who are no longer here. My peers who fell victim to substances and violence in the inner city. Their memories and legacies live on, they continue to move us forward.

Kalia Harris

Kalia Harris

she/ella | Co-Executive Director at Virginia Student Power Network | Richmond, VA

How are you making Black history right now?

I am working to build Black futures by building youth power and mass mobilizing in VA, centering the most impacted young folks. I am a student of abolition and follow in the tradition of truth-telling with my co-hosts on our radio show, Race Capitol, that interrogates racial narratives in the fallen capitol of the confederacy. 

What does a loving, safe, just, and thriving future for Black youth look like?

A loving, safe, just, and thriving future for Black youth looks like a world without police, where there are resources that allow youth to actualize their dreams. Total abolition, total liberation.

Who are other young Black leaders that bring you joy?

Some young Black leaders that bring me joy + teach me every day are: Naomi Isaac, Roux Maloney, Stephanie Younger, Kai Hartsfield, Mikki Charles, and Jasmine Jones

Kelsey Rodriguez

she/her | Digital Organizer at Detroit Action | Detroit, MI

How are you making Black history right now?

I am making history right now just by being here. I believe that just existing in a world where there are systems working against you is an act of protest. And calling those systems out is all the more radical.

What does a loving, safe, just, and thriving future for Black youth look like?

A loving, safe, just, and thriving future for Black youth would be a world where life isn’t a privilege. We won’t have to worry about being killed by the police, or by incompetent doctors, or unsafe environments. 

Who are other young Black leaders that bring you joy?

Other young Black leaders that bring me joy are the people that I work with at Detroit Action. The work that they do and the passion that they have inspires me every day. 

Kiah Sandler

Kiah M. Sandler

she/her | Development Associate at Chicago Votes | Chicago, IL

How are you making Black history right now?

I think Black history is filled with stories of radical change, and by nature being able to come on as the development associate for a Black-led nonprofit that approaches advocacy work through an abolitionist framework, and I’m not sure it can get more radical than that!

What does a loving, safe, just, and thriving future for Black youth look like?

I would love to see a future where any young Black kid in America can look out into the world and see only examples of validation and affirmation that they are loved, their lives are valued and protected, they have every opportunity to be successful and happy in life as any other kid, and they can revel in their ancestry and appearance with pride. That to me is a future without inequitable and violent attacks from police, where the difference between attending a private or public school is not a measure of quality or price, and a future where differences of culture and appearance are exclusively celebrated and prejudice is condemned.

Who are other young Black leaders that bring you joy?

I am inspired by fellow young Black people every day, but some fellow organizers in this amazing city of Chicago who I admire and learn from on a consistent basis would be Kennedy Bartley with United Working Families, Eva Lewis of The Free Root Operation, DJ Evie the Cool of Babes Only, Kierra Wooden of The Southside Cleanup, and of course my own coworkers Brian X, Katrina Phidd, Rudy Garrett and Stevie Valles!

Jasmine Davis

Jasmine Davis

she/her | Denver Organizing Fellow at New Era Colorado | Denver, CO

How are you making Black history right now?

Many answers come to mind in response to what I am doing to make Black history. The first being, my existence is resistance. My joy is resistance. My unwavering strength is resistance. Because being Black often means being pushed into the ocean, drowning in your oppression, and being asked, “why don’t you just swim a little harder?” It often means daily comments, stares, threats, and discomfort because of others’ ignorance.

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And no matter how many times you re-word and re-phrase the ways oppression is very much real and alive, there are some who will invalidate your lived experience on the basis that they haven’t experienced or seen it themself. And how heavy that is, to carry the burden of institutional and societal laws and eurocentric ideologies that have been forced onto you, and in the same breath, be told you are making it up. That you have a victim’s mentality. When we just passed laws that say we can wear our hair naturally, when Rosa Parks only died in 2005, when I’m being called slurs in the street and from my own professors, when I’m seeing videos of beautiful Black women being spit on by bigots in 2021. And that is why, however much my voice may be silenced and overlooked, I will always speak for my community and for other voices that are often unheard. It is why I am creating my company, ListenToBlackWomen, where I will not only post my own poetry for education and empowerment, but it will be a platform for other Black women artists, especially, to be able to be heard, because we deserve the mic without one syllable said against it. Additionally, working at New Era Colorado means I am a part of the Let My People Vote campaign, where I can get more people in my community involved, engaged, and aligned. Not only that, but the bills we are working on often affect marginalized communities the most due to white supremacy and so being a part of this organization has allowed me to elevate my activism. I hope for a day where we can have the freedom and equity we have always deserved, without having to protest during global pandemics and risk our lives because Black skin is weaponized.

What does a loving, safe, just, and thriving future for Black youth look like?

Liberation tastes like collard greens and cornbread and all the love and warmth cooked in family reunion barbeques. Liberation smells like southern food and flowers and heavy seasoning you can smell from your room to the kitchen. Liberation sounds like Black boys and girls laughing, it sounds like older Black women calling you baby, it sounds like Black women having the stage and no one interrupting them and their voices echoing throughout the entire world, it sounds like James Brown’s “Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m proud” playing on boom boxes in the street, and there is not one single syllable said against it, it sounds like peace.

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It feels like community, it feels like the tears down my face at the March for Black women, it feels like the validity I felt holding their hands and praying for our protection, it feels like Blackness being more than hashtags and targets. My vision for the world is one where everyone can live authentically and fully, with little to no conditions or limitations. A world where we are all aware of our potential and worth, there is no market preying on our insecurities or creating them. Where results of experiences do not vary by skin tone. Where brown and Black bodies are not just hashtags and targets and disposable uses for labor and ideas, where we can lay in our beds safely, we can walk down the street safely, we can go to stores and drive and love and go on runs and work and live safely. And not just safely, but fully. We can wake up and smile, not because we made it through the night, but we are excited for what blessings the day will bring. We can know our lives and bodies won’t be a political statement. A world where an election isn’t a juggling game of rights and survival, where we don’t have to protest to avenge and protect lives that were never someone else’s to take. A world where our kids can play in the front yard and there isn’t one single question of danger, where you can pass people on the street or in a grocery store and genuinely know, there’s no ill intentions behind their smile. A world where getting an education doesn’t mean drowning in loans and dying with debt. A world where we can not just survive, but live.

Who are other young Black leaders that bring you joy?

Other Black leaders that bring me joy would be Maya Angelou for one. I am actually going to get “And Still, I Rise” tattooed onto me because not only has she been vital in history, but this sentiment is why I live by. No matter what happens, in regards to racial injustice or other hardships, I will always rise and come back better. Black leaders like her give guidance to continue to fight and believe we are, there is, and that this world is made for so much more.

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Additionally, I would say Justin Michael Williams, who I feel has really helped revolutionize spirituality and meditation for marginalized communities. His book, “Stay Woke,” is dedicated to LGBT, Black youth, women, anyone who has had barriers systemically and statistically faces increased mental health issues and a lack of resources. I look up to so many Black leaders, but I would also include two of my favorite slam poets Kai Davis and Rudy Francisco, who have illustrated the Black experience (and Kai Davis the experience of intersectionality as a queer, Black, woman -relatable), in a way that is very much Black without the chaser, because we shouldn’t have to water down our voices to better suit people who already benefit from it.

Princeton Jackson

Princeton Jackson

he/him | Canvass Coordinator at Leaders Igniting Transformation | Milwaukee, WI

How are you making Black history right now?

The work I do is Black history, defeating the odds as a young and intelligent man is Black history. Setting an example for the generations after me is Black history. Every day I and so many other Black people wake up to make a difference… and that too is Black History

What does a loving, safe, just, and thriving future for Black youth look like?

A strong system of self belief, a support system that fosters their feelings and encourages them to leverage their gifts and talents. If we instill these seeds when they are young they will grow to be stellar adults and share the same love that was given to them.

Who are other young Black leaders that bring you joy?

Well…. my joy doesn’t come solely from the youth as I believe that we can gather inspiration from people regardless of their age. With that being said what Dakota Hall has managed to do in a short amount of time is inspirational… frankly doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Within a few short years, the organization he founded has been able to make a meaningful impact throughout Wisconsin and soon enough it will spread beyond LIT’s home state(if it already hasn’t).

Timothy Young

Timothy Young

he/him | Digital Content Creator at Mississippi Votes | Jackson, MS

How are you making Black history right now?

How I am making Black history now is by using my graphic talents and ties to the community to help amplify the electoral landscape here in Mississippi. I have done so by organizing the largest peaceful protests in the state of MS since Freedom Summer. The protest’s main mission was for the removal of the confederate symbol in the state flag. Mississippi currently has a new flag, one voted on by the majority of people here. I also help in educating my community by mapping out what we have done politically and socially here through a podcast called Better Luck. It seeks to explore conversations with Legislators and ask questions directly from the community they serve. Currently, at Mississippi Votes, I am also using my talents in an effort to restore voting rights to those in Mississippi who have been previously convicted of one of the 23 disenfranchising crimes. By doing so, I hope to make Mississippi a place in which the entire voice of the community is heard through its governing.

Who are other young Black leaders that bring you joy?

Another young Black leader who brings me joy would have to be my podcast cohost Shaugnhy Rickmon! Shaughny brings such an upbeat spirit to volunteering that anyone around her becomes inclined to push themselves even harder!

Victoria Dadet

Victoria Dadet

she/they | Senior Advocacy Manager at New Era Colorado | Denver, CO

How are you making Black history right now?

I am making Black history by being dedicated to Black liberation. When I radicalize my friends and family, when I protest, when I testify, when I work with Black-led organizations, when I take time to rest and rejuvenate, I am making Black history.

What does a loving, safe, just, and thriving future for Black youth look like?

It looks like a future where we are free to breathe, dance, play, laugh, cry, create, fail, make mistakes, experiment, build relationships, be vulnerable. It looks like a future where accountability is prioritized, where Black youth are valued, supported, and protected. It looks like a future where we can fully experience the depth of humanity without being afraid that our lives will be stolen from us.

Who are other young Black leaders that bring you joy?

My co-workers and co-conspirators: Morgan Royal and Lauren Smith

My favorite artists, healers, community organizers, innovators: Karia White, Bri Hill, Sophia Benrud, Tahirah Green, noname, everyone at BYP 100, and Octavia Butler (she was young once!)

"Thank you, Georgia" with a picture of Georgia and a ballot box

Can’t steal our joy – Still celebrating Georgia making history!

We aren’t going to let 2021 go another day without taking time to celebrate a victory that already feels like it happened months ago! Last week, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff were sworn in as the first Black Senator and first Jewish American Senator from the state of Georgia after a jaw-dropping effort by incredible organizers to turn out the vote.  

Especially in these challenging times, we must celebrate our victories. As in November 2020, young voters of color in Georgia—especially Black youth—flexed their power in this election. According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) more than 90% of young Black voters backed Warnock and Ossoff. This record turnout for a runoff election demonstrates Georgians’ determination to fight against voter suppression, exercise their right to vote to fight for their futures, and strengthen our democracy. 

We thank and congratulate the Black women like our friend Nse Ufot, Executive Director of New Georgia Project, Deborah Scott, founder of Georgia Stand Up, and of course Stacey Abrams who have led the charge on building a more progressive Georgia. And we celebrate the powerful organizers from groups like Mijente, GLAHR, Asian American Advocacy Fund , and so many other phenomenal grassroots organizers and volunteers for their unprecedented efforts to mobilize voters in Georgia.

ALLIANCE FOR YOUTH ACTION’S IMPACT ON GEORGIA RUNOFF

In an effort to help close infrastructure gaps and ensure young Georgian voters had the information they needed to participate in the runoff election, the Alliance ran a text, mail, and call program from mid-November to Election Day. Our runoff work included:

🤳 1.53 million text messages sent

✉️ 830k pieces of mail delivered

📞 820k calls made

This work helped contribute to 238,170 young Georgians to vote early or absentee, early 17,000 of whom did not vote in the November election. 

Our work in the runoff built upon our work in Georgia for the general. We threw down alongside friends because we know that when young people are mobilized, we win.

The Alliance network will continue to mobilize Generation Z and Millennials to push elected officials, including Senators Warnock and Ossoff, to bring the issues young people care about to the table and have robust plans for how to address them.

We work everyday on defending our democracy. Today, let’s not forget to celebrate! 

To a new administration and a just future

The day has finally come. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been sworn in as our President and Vice President of the United States. There are no words to describe how ready we are to welcome this new administration, celebrate what it took to make today a reality, and gear up for the many fights ahead. More people voted for Joe Biden than any candidate in U.S. history. Kamala Harris is the first woman – and specifically woman of color – elected vice president. The 117th Congress is the most diverse Congress in history, with record gender and racial diversity. And it was young people – and specifically youth of color – who took their organizing from the streets to the ballot box to save our democracy. 

There is much to celebrate. Yet, this historic inauguration is happening when we are facing so much as a nation – a global pandemic, economic crisis, and constant threats of insurrection from white supremacists. 

As we called for in our statement earlier this month, we continue to fight for the conviction of Trump, expulsion of Members of Congress who wanted to stop the certification of the election results, and an investigation into how white vigilantes were permitted to storm the Capitol. Since then, we’ve learned that an alarming number of on- and off-duty police officers and other public officials also directly aided or participated in the attack on the Capitol. This attack on our democracy may reflect where we are as a nation today, but it doesn’t have to represent who we are in the future. 

While we work to hold Trump and his allies accountable for seeking to destroy our fragile and imperfect democracy, we must also continue to push for policies that will build on our democracy’s promise. We must do all we can to pursue justice, defend democracy, and be bold in our demands to repair, restore, and revitalize our communities. 

Our latest poll with Civiqs of young progressive voters in battleground states shows just what that bold future looks like. Young people understand that we are fighting multiple crises and demand that we go big with fighting for policies including COVID relief, reuniting migrant families at the border, expanding health care access, and taxing wealthy corporations. It is crucial that these demands are centered by the new administration. Already we have seen the Biden Administration start to address some of these challenges – returning the U.S. to the Paris Climate Agreement, extending the pause on student loan payments during COVID, and reversing the Muslim travel ban. Major legislation to end the pandemic, turn our economy around, and address our immigration crisis are around the corner – and we’re eager to partner with friends to ensure the most vulnerable in our communities are supported.

While we turn the page to a new administration, the young people of this nation will continue to sustain the pressure on our elected officials on every level of government to pass legislation that will undo the harms not only of the last four years, but also inherent in our founding. We hope this new administration will work towards what the Alliance network fights for everyday – a country where our democracy works for everyone and where all people – no matter where they come from, what they look like, or how they identify – live in loving, safe, and thriving communities. 

To help us continue to sustain the pressure and defend democracy, please forward this email and get your friends to sign up for our e-newsletter. Then, make sure you are a part of our community on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

We are grateful to partner with young people and their organizations as they build transformative power and change our future in real time. 

impeach and remove trump

Alliance for Youth Action Network Calls for Impeachment and Removal of Trump

The Alliance for Youth Action is a national network of youth-led organizations. We work to welcome and engage young people year round in our democracy – whether it’s at the voting booth, or as we work toward building loving, safe, and thriving communities via our local, state, and federal advocacy efforts. 

Since he announced his run in 2015, President Trump has enacted unending harm on our communities. Despite our racist electoral college system and in the face of voter suppression and a global pandemic, young people organized their peers and made their voices heard in the 2020 elections, propelling a new Administration forward. On a day that should have been an uneventful transfer of power from one Administration to the next, armed vigilantes attempted a coup to destroy our already fragile and imperfect democracy. Let’s be clear: Trump and his allies incited this attack on our country. All involved must be removed from office or resign.  

We demand that Trump and allies in Congress who encouraged these treasonous attacks are immediately held accountable. This means: 

  • The House and Senate must immediately move forward to impeach President Trump and prohibit him from running for public office ever again. 
  • Immediate expulsion of members of the House and Senate who intended to stop the certification of the election. 
  • An investigation into the complete breakdown of security that interrupted the House and Senate from doing their job to certify election results and instead allowed an angry mob of white nationalists to storm the Capitol. 

Protestors in DC and across the country who fight for the dignity and humanity of Black people are met with violence when expressing their first amendment rights. Yet yesterday, an armed white mob whose very public goal of destroying our democracy was allowed into our nation’s Capitol. This is white supremacy at work. 

We support Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01)’s resolution calling for the expulsion of Members of Congress who have incited an armed extremists and sought to overturn the results of our election. We support Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05) filing articles of impeachment against the President. We demand the Senate do their job and move forward to impeach the President. 

Young people know that our democracy is nowhere near perfect. Organizations in the Alliance for Youth Action network have been on the forefront of fighting to make our democracy more accessible and equitable for young people, people of color, and low income communities in their respective states and localities for more than a decade. Yesterday serves as a sobering reminder of the extent of the work that remains to realize the just democracy our people deserve. 

Join us and demand action by signing the Working Families Party Petition now.

This is how we build for the long haul

When young people are invested in, we all win.

The power of peer-to-peer organizing to turn out the youth vote is amplified when supported by us all. In 2020, despite a pandemic, historic uprising, and economic crisis, young organizers innovated and transformed events, relationship building, and local organizing work to meet the moment. And we won. 

Take a deeper look into some of the youth-led, grassroots organizing from our network that broke youth voter turnout records and propelled President-elect Biden to victory.

We won by organizing in our communities every day, year-round.  Here is a snapshot at some of our network’s greatest local victories in 2020:

  • After two years of rallying and advocating, Leaders Igniting Transformation was successful in getting Milwaukee Public Schools to vote unanimously to end contracts with the Milwaukee Police Department.
  • Chicago Votes celebrated a historic primary election as Cook County Jail became the first-ever jail polling location thanks to the passage of their bill the previous year.
  • New Era Colorado’s (NEC) total universe of previous registrants and voters who pledged to vote turned out at 86%.
  • MOVE Texas’ get-out-the-vote efforts were instrumental in reaching record-breaking early vote turnout in four counties where more young people voted early in 2020 than the entirety of 2016.
  • The Asian Community Development Council distributed over 75,000 multi-lingual voter guides contributing to record voter turnout in the AAPI community in Nevada.

Learn more about all the victories our network won in the 2020 general election here.

People power at the local level is key to real political, cultural, and social change. The Alliance network builds power by creating political homes for young people to fight for our communities and build towards a better future. These political homes foster and develop the skills of young people to take action in their communities by testifying, marching, and fighting for progressive policies that will help our people thrive. This is how we build a movement that is truly of young people, by young people, for all people.

Help us continue this work. Invest in local youth organizing for the long haul. 

When we build the political power of young people, we create a better future for us all.

"Young people decided this election" above pictures of young people organizing

Local youth organizing won a brighter future for us all

The voters have decided. More Americans have voted for Joe Biden than any candidate in US history, and he has surpassed the 270 electoral college threshold to confirm his election as president. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be the next president and vice president of the United States. And it was young people – and specifically youth of color – who took their organizing from the streets to the ballot box to save our democracy. 

As projections from CIRCLE show, at a minimum, youth vote turnout across the country increased by five points from 2016 and possibly increased by as much as 10 points. Young people and people of color decided this election.

The Alliance for Youth Action network has been building towards this election for years, and we’re proud of the work these youth-led and focused organizations contributed to this moment. This success is because organizations in the Alliance network know that all politics is local and youth organizers put in the work to ensure record-breaking turnout also resulted in wins at the local level. Here are just a few highlights showcasing how the Alliance network organized locally to turn out the youth vote and fuel wins across the finish line up and down the ballot: 

  • New Era Colorado successfully defeated the abortion ban and helped propel John Hickenlooper to the Senate. 86% of the young people they registered to vote turned out! 
  • Leaders Igniting Transformation made 1.3 million calls, sent 2.1 million texts, and sent 250,000 pieces of mail to turn out young voters in Wisconsin and help flip the state blue.
  • Poder in Action mobilized the youth vote in Arizona to turn out for progressive wins like legalizing marijuana and flipping the state blue for the first time since 1996.
  • MOVE Texas’ get-out-the-vote efforts were instrumental in reaching record-breaking voter turnout in four counties in Texas where more young people voted early in 2020 than the entirety of 2016. 
  • Mississippi Votes helped win the measure to change the Gubernatorial elections to direct popular vote instead of the electoral college style system. 
  • Next Up’s endorsed ballot measures including expanded access to drug addiction treatment and recovery services all passed. They also helped the Democratic Secretary of State candidate win her race.
  • Engage Miami organized young voters to help pass Amendment 2, which raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour, a huge win! They also were able to get Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade mayor-elect, to support 9/10 of their Young People’s Policy Priorities.
  • Washington Bus endorsed Referendum 90, which calls for comprehensive sex ed to all students, and it passed.
  • Asian Community Development Council in Nevada and North Carolina Asian Americans Together mobilized young AAPI voters to turn out contributing to 83% of Asian youth supporting Biden
  • New Hampshire Youth Movement mobilized young voters to turn out and 2/3 of the local candidates they endorsed won their elections.
  • Ohio Student Association helped flip the Franklin County Prosecutor seat and won one Ohio Supreme Court seat.

There would be no Biden-Harris victory without the youth vote, specifically the votes of young people of color, but there would also be no Biden-Harris victory without the strong local organizing power of young people – including those who cannot vote – to turn out their peers, families, and communities. There would be no Biden-Harris victory in Wisconsin without the work of Leaders Igniting Transformation who ran the largest young voter engagement program in the state, all while getting Milwaukee police kicked out of Milwaukee Public Schools. There would be no Biden-Harris victory without the work of New Era Colorado who not only propelled Hickenlooper to victory, but helped to defeat an anti-abortion ballot measure. There would be no Biden-Harris or Mark Kelly victory without Poder in Action, who focuses much of their issue organizing work holding Phoenix Police Department accountable for murdering members of their community.

While we are laser-focused on the year round fight to build political power alongside young people across the country, today we celebrate the power of Generation Z and Millennials in making this victory possible. 

Let’s celebrate because when democracy wins, we win. 

3 young people with i voted stickers

The youth vote is flexing its power

November 3rd Update

Election Day has finally come and we already have a lot to celebrate. 10 million young people have voted early and even more will be heading to the polls today. The youth vote will make history. But this didn’t come out of nowhere. This was the result of years of grassroots organizing from youth-led organizations in the Alliance for Youth Action network. 

Here is just a glimpse of the work these organizations have done this year to mobilize young people and fight for our future.

  • 85, 765 voters registered 
  • 3,623,357 calls made
  • 4,932,560 texts sent
  • 1,291,759 voter guides distributed
  • 4,200 volunteers recruited

Young people are also on the right side of history, and through local, youth-led organizing, the Alliance network is making change every single day across this country and today will be no different. 

For those who have yet to vote, today is the last chance to make your voice heard at the ballot box. Follow the lead of young people and be a voter. Find your polling place at our #VoteReady hub and make sure you know your voting rights

We know that this election is like no other. It is the most important election of our lives and everything is at stake, but young people are fighting and winning for a better future for us all.

October 27th Update

We are days out from Election Day and young people are already winning. Five million young voters have already cast their ballot and many more are expected to vote early ahead of November 3rd1. By mask or by mail at the ballot box, drop box, or mailbox, Generation Z and Millennials are already voting in high numbers – but we take nothing for granted because this is the most important election of our lifetimes.

The Alliance for Youth Action network has been organizing non-stop to get out the early vote. Organizations have recruited hundreds of volunteers to reach young and new voters to talk about their early voting options and what to expect on their ballot. The network has also developed essential voter guides that break down the candidates’ stances on the issues young people care about and describe what the ballot amendments or measures mean so young people can confidently vote up and down the ballot. Additionally, organizations are facilitating relational organizing events where young people can encourage their friends and family to vote early. 

New Era Colorado handing out Voter Guides and Poder in Action’s Youth Poder organizers at their Brujxs con Boletas event.

Alliance organizations are also getting creative with their early voting outreach. Engage Miami plastered the city with Vote Early billboards and bus stop signage. Forward Montana is hosting an extended Student Voter Day (four days long this year!) to ensure Montana students cast their ballots early.

On Vote Early Day, MOVE Texas partnered with Harris County and MTV to pass out voter survival guides, masks, hand sanitizer, and swag outside of one of Houston’s mega polling centers.  Poder in Action’s Youth Poder program hosted a socially distant block party called Brujxs Con Boletas (Witches With Ballots) where young people could fill out their ballots together and celebrate voting early. Detroit Action hosted a Just F**kin Vote Music Festival featuring local artists and vendors to help young people learn about voting early and the power of their vote.

Early Voting signage from Engage Miami and Detroit Action at their Just F**kin Vote Music Festival.

If you haven’t yet, join the millions of young people who are voting early and protecting our democracy. Head to our #VoteReady hub on our website to make your early voting plan today. Already voted? Help us spread the word on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to your friends and family to vote early and be an October voter.

1https://circle.tufts.edu/latest-research/absentee-and-early-voting-youth-2020-election 

young organizers next to "New Poll"

How VP Biden Can Earn Our Vote

In June, we launched a monthly polling series of young persuadable voters, aged 18-39, in battleground states ahead of the 2020 General Election. This monthly polling series surveys young voters on how they view Vice President Biden, their concerns during the Coronavirus, the issues they care about the most, if they have been contacted by campaigns, and more.

As we near Election Day, we are using these poll results to better inform our organizing work and national campaigns. We are also using these polls to remind candidates to listen and reach out to young people. The results from our poll can be found here.

October 2020 Results

With only 12 days left until Election Day, over three million young voters ages 18-29 have turned out to vote, which is higher than this time in the cycle in 20161. And in key battleground states, nearly two million young people have already voted. This is great news. 

We have been tracking changes in these young voters’ sentiment as it relates to voter enthusiasm, campaign contact, and issue priorities leading up to the election and we’re excited to see the energy expressed in our polls translate to the ballot box. Ahead of tonight’s final presidential debate, here are the results from our final monthly tracking poll of young persuadable voters before November.

One in five (20%) of the young voters we polled have already voted. Of those who have yet to vote, 48% are planning to vote early in-person, including 58% of Latinx voters and 51% of Black voters. Twenty-two percent will be sending in their mail or absentee ballot by Election Day. Only 18% say that they are planning to vote on Election Day. 

Young persuadable voters in battleground states are coming together in their support for the Biden-Harris ticket. In October, young voters who have a favorable opinion of Vice President Joe Biden increased by eight points bumping up the number of young voters who have a favorable view of Biden to 74%. At the same time, 75% of young voters report they have been contacted by the Biden campaign in the past month, a 7 point increase from September.

A trend that has remained constant in our monthly tracking poll is how young voters in battleground states view the coronavirus. The coronavirus pandemic remains the most important issue in the upcoming election for young Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents, with 27% choosing it as their top priority. However, for young Black and Latinx voters, the coronavirus is closely followed by ending systemic racism and overall access to healthcare respectively.

This month, we asked young persuadable voters in battleground states about the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before the election. Forty-four percent of these young voters say that if a Trump nominee is confirmed to the Supreme Court, it will make them more likely to vote for Joe Biden. Most notably, a plurality of young voters supports the idea of adding four additional justices to the Supreme Court if Joe Biden becomes president. 

Head to our website to see the full results of our final monthly tracking poll including the top issues young voters want elected officials to address around elections and democracy (spoiler alert— young people prioritize ending partisan gerrymandering and implementing fair redistricting) as well as what they want to see in the first 100 days in the case of a Democratic-controlled Senate in 2021.

It’s time to end the old trope that young people don’t vote. This generation is demanding a new narrative. Help spread the word and share our poll results on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram today. 

1 https://circle.tufts.edu/2020-election-center 

September 2020 Results

As we head into the first Presidential Debate tonight, we will be listening for Vice President Biden to make the case to young people that he is fighting for our future. We need a candidate who does not just oppose President Trump, but has a bold vision for our country that matches our values.

According to our September poll with Civiqs, Vice President Biden has improved his appeal to young persuadable voters in battleground states where 68% reported they have a very or somewhat favorable view of Biden. Notably, this number is up by seven points from August. Sixty-eight percent of young persuadables have also been contacted by the Biden campaign in the past month, an eight point increase from August. 

While Biden is improving his appeal and increasing his outreach to young voters, he still has more work to do to mobilize young Black and Latinx voters. Twenty-one percent of Black youth under 32 and 17% of Latinx youth under 32 we polled have a very unfavorable view of Biden. In addition, 38% of young Latinx voters report not being contacted by the Biden campaign. Meanwhile, Trump is reaching nearly a third of young Latinx men with digital ads.  With nearly half of eligible Latinx voters between the ages of 18 and 35, it is integral that the Biden campaign have a strategy to engage Latinx youth.

Graphs show the increase in favorability and campaign contact

Notably, for the third month in a row, the coronavirus is the top issue for young persuadable voters in battleground states. That is why it is no surprise that when asked what they want to hear from VP Biden during tonight’s debate, young people overwhelmingly said they want Biden to address the issue of the coronavirus.

word cloud of top issues young people want to hear VP Biden discuss in 1st debate

Our poll also uncovered how concerns related to the coronavirus are changing for young voters. Persuadable young voters of color reported that the threat of losing their job is now their top concern related to the coronavirus.h. Thirty-two percent of young Black voters report losing their job as their top concern for how the coronavirus is impacting their life. This is a 12 point increase from last month. Thirty-nine percent of young Black women report losing their job, hours, and income as a top concern. We need Biden to support bold solutions for young people facing economic uncertainty during this pandemic and recession.

Finally, we found that the number of young persuadable voters planning to vote in person has increased for all demographics since August. The majority of Black and Latinx young voters plan on voting in person. This is a reminder that as we work to educate young voters about voting by mail, we must also organize to keep polling sites open and ensure they have a plan to vote early. Our new #VoteReady webpage is one way we are urging young voters to make those plans now.

Line chart showing that young voters plan to vote in person more in September than they did in August

August 2020 Results

With 75 days until the election, it is more important than ever that Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris prioritize young voters. 

We’ve been running a monthly polling series with Civiqs on young persuadable voters in battleground states and we just released the results from August. For the third month in a row, forty percent of young people in battleground states say they haven’t been contacted by the Biden campaign. Vice President Biden is running out of time to appeal to young voters and earn our votes.

White letters on blue background: for the third month in a row, 40% of young voters in battleground states have not been contacted by the Biden campaign

In August, coronavirus increased in importance as the number one issue for young voters. 72% of young voters say their greatest concern for voting in person is exposure to the virus. Additionally, young voters are looking for solutions to tackling our healthcare system. 61% say that Medicare for All is the most important policy change to make healthcare affordable.

White text on blue background that read the most important issue for Gen Z and Millennial voters is in battleground states is coronavirus

Another interesting finding  is that while the top issue priorities have changed across multiple demographics, ending systemic racism and discrimination remains the number one issue for young Black voters since we started our polling in June.

You can dive deeper into these findings on our website. Share these results on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Join us on Twitter tonight as we live tweet the final night of the Democratic National Convention and see if Vice President Biden includes the issues young people care about as part of his vision for the nation and makes clear our role in advancing change. 

July 2020 Results

The general election is in less than 100 days and Vice President Joe Biden has to do more to  earn the votes of young people in battleground states.

We just released the second round of our monthly polling series on young persuadable voters in battleground states and found that, similar to last month, a staggering 40% of young voters have not been contacted by the Biden campaign or the Democratic party.  If Joe Biden wants to mobilize young people to turn out for him in the fall, his campaign must invest in young voter outreach. This is especially alarming when Generation Z voters continue to view Joe Biden less favorably than Millennial voters and more 18-25 year-old persuadable voters have seen digital ads from President Trump or the Republican Party than from Vice President Biden or the Democratic Party. 

Not only does Biden need to reach out to the largest voting bloc in the electorate,he needs to focus on the driving force behind our generation—the issues that matter most to us. Ending systemic racism and discrimination remains a top issue, however, our latest poll found that the coronavirus has moved to the number one issue for young persuadable voters. 

This month we went deeper into the issue of ending systemic racism and discrimination in relation to policing and found that young persuadable voters believe defunding the police is the most important change for justice, especially among 18-25 year-olds. Notably, young voters selected ending private, for-profit prisons, and detention centers as the second most important change to our policing and criminal justice system.

Our latest poll found that 48% of young Black voters say they plan to vote in person this fall. This is an important reminder thatour work recruiting poll workers, raising awareness about voting early, and organizing to keep polling sites open is critical.

June 2020 Results

Over the past few weeks, young people have taken to the streets, city council meetings, school board meetings, and more demanding we defend Black lives and dismantle white supremacy. According to our recent poll with Change Research, young people plan on bringing these same demands to the ballot box in November.

In our poll of persuadable young voters, aged 18-39 in battleground states, they cite systemic racism and discrimination as their number one issue. Systemic racism and discrimination impact every aspect of our society and addressing these problems are long overdue. Young people are fed up with generations of inaction and are looking for a candidate to put forth bold solutions.

We also found that Vice President Joe Biden has a lot of work to do to appeal to younger voters. If Biden and the Democratic party want to authentically connect with the largest voting bloc in the electorate, they must recognize the driving force behind a large part of our generation—the issues that matter most to us.

Overall, 54% of young voters say their top concern about the Coronavirus is their parents’ health. Our poll also reveals that young Black and Latinx voters are significantly more concerned about economic stressors and their health respective to their white counterparts. 

Our poll also found that Black and Latinx young voters feel that voting in person is more secure than voting by mail while white voters largely see no difference – a reminder that as we work to educate young voters about voting by mail, we must also organize to keep polling sites open. Additionally, 43% of Gen Z and Millennial voters say they have not been contacted by the Democratic Party or Biden’s campaign. Notably, young voters report seeing digital ads from the Republican Party or Trump campaign at the same rate as the Democratic Party or Biden campaign. 

Share the results on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Read the full poll results here.

headshots of latinx organizers

Latinx Organizers of the Alliance Network

Latinx Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15), celebrates and uplifts the countless contributions of more than 60 million Latinx Americans to our culture and society. During this month, we specifically uplift the work and achievements of young Latinx organizers and activists across the country fighting for a better future. In the Alliance for Youth Action, there are countless Latinx organizers working in their community, getting out the vote, and pushing for progressive policy.

Here are just a few of those organizers and their stories.

ANTHONY ABEJA (he/him)

Voter Engagement Organizer | Engage Miami

Florida City, Florida

What do you do at Engage Miami?

I am tasked with helping young people in Miami-Dade County and across South Florida prepare for elections. This entails a lot of different things, whether it is helping people to register to vote for the first time, make a plan for voting (for example, if they want to vote by mail), or making sure they have information about the upcoming elections. But, in a sense, it runs a lot deeper than that—especially when you are building relationships with young people and asking them which issues matter to them the most. That way they can start thinking about those issues in the context of voting and civic engagement.

How does your identity and heritage influence your organizing/work?

Organizing is a very fulfilling job and as a first-generation Mexican-American, I was instilled growing up with two values: hard work and education. These two values definitely influence how I do the work I do now. Organizing really takes these two values to another level because no longer is it just about educating myself, but it also means now educating others and learning from others. It means working hard with others so that way we can have and co-create the future and society we want to see.

When speaking directly with young Latinx voters, what do they say are the most important issues to them?

When I talk to other young Latinx people, they definitely want to see a difference in society. Some of the issues they always bring up to me are affordable housing, climate change, community safety (whether it’s gun violence or police and prison reform). These issues are on the minds of young Latinx folks and, slowly but surely, we are starting to get our voices out there.

VICTÒRIA SANDOVAL (she/they)

* Victòria identifies as Chicanx

Field Organizer | MOVE Texas

Laredo, Texas

What do you do at MOVE Texas?

I help build political power for underrepresented youth communities at the Texas-Mexico Border.

How does your identity and heritage influence your organizing/work?

My identity is vital to my organizing. Watching my community demonstrate people power as a means of surviving taught me how to organize. My community taught me how to have empathy, how to execute a plan, how to listen with compassion and how to lead our youth. This city created me. All of my wins are evidence of the beauty and compassion that exists at the Texas-Mexico border. 

When speaking directly with young Latinx voters, what do they say are the most important issues to them?

When speaking with young Latinx people on the ground, the issues that are top of mind are dealing with climate change.  We are raised in beautiful multifaceted communities but the next generation will not enjoy these communities without a government who will take initiatives to solve climate change rapidly. 

ALÁN M. DE LEÓN (he/him/él)

Houston Advocacy Organizer | MOVE Texas

Houston, Texas

What do you do at MOVE Texas?

At MOVE Texas we do three different types of front-facing work: field, education, and advocacy. My responsibilities are to drive our advocacy efforts in the Houston region. What that looks like on day-to-day is building coalitions, collaborating with other justice-oriented partners (student and youth partners, academic partners, nonprofit partners, community leaders), as well as conducting deep relational organizing in underrepresented communities. This is all towards the goal of building the collective power that is needed in order to successfully advocate for and advance progressive policies that meet the needs of our communities in the region.

How does your identity and heritage influence your organizing/work?

My identity and background play a big role in why I decided to get started in organizing in the first place. I’m the first in my family to be born in the United States. I’m the first in my family to go to college. My life has always been very politicized on questions of immigration and economics. We come from a very humble background. I was always very frustrated, not just with the fact that the Latinx community interests were never prioritized to the extent they needed to but also frustrated, with the lack of civic participation on our own end. Such as not enough people being registered to vote, not enough people voting, not enough people being involved in our political processes. And I saw the ways in which this accosted us. I saw it incumbent upon myself to do whatever I could in my own backyard, Houston, Texas, the city where I was born and raised, to organize, to bring people together, and to try and change the culture of how Latinx communities get involved in politics.

When speaking directly with young Latinx voters, what do they say are the most important issues to them?

As a Latinx person, there has always been this stereotype that the Latinx community is only concerned about immigration which is just not true. There are other issues on the minds of young Latinx voters. For example, I hear that young Latinx voters are concerned about climate change. They know that because of irresponsible environmental policy-making, we have to deal with the biggest impacts of climate change. We need to take action on that front. The second thing is we are concerned about criminal justice reform. We do not want to live in a society where racism continues to exist. So, we want to build a criminal justice system that is based on restoration and not punitiveness. Finally, a lot of Latinx voters are concerned about voting rights. For years, our community has been disenfranchised by voter suppression, whether that is through stringent voter ID laws, the closure of polling sites in our communities, or lack of access to easy means to get registered to vote. All of these issues and more are on the minds of young Latinx voters which drive them to the ballot box this November.

JAVIER ALVARADO VEGA (he/him)

Youth Vote Coordinator | New Era Colorado

Denver/Greeley, Colorado

What do you do at New Era Colorado?

At New Era Colorado, I run a team of six organizers and am in charge of two college campuses, DU and UCCS. We are a nonpartisan voter registration drive so my work revolves around getting the folks in my pod and our overall Denver Team to register folks to vote! We do this both by in person events, phone banks, and virtual voter registration sessions. I have also worked with members of the organization to introduce Spanish language into our Get-Out-the-Vote efforts. To build a youth voter base you cannot leave out anybody from the electoral process.

How does your identity and heritage influence your organizing/work?

I have always seen myself as a supporter instead of a leader. I want to support the folks around me to do better and be better as people. But I will still stand and advocate for folks who ask me to. The voices of the marginalized need to be uplifted. This has led me to get involved within my org to make sure we are serving members of the Latinx community. And even then, make sure the marginalized Latinx voters, those who do not speak Spanish or lack access to a printer, should also get all the information they need to vote.

When speaking directly with young Latinx voters, what do they say are the most important issues to them?

First of all, it is always very encouraging for me to see young Latinx voters excited about voting. Even more when it is their first time, and even more if this is their first time due to recently obtaining their citizenship! Their struggles and efforts should be celebrated. But when it comes to important issues, young Latinx voters are greatly impacted by important issues such as immigration, student debt, police brutality, and economic access. Latinx students are impacted at higher rates in the economy than white students, and even more, if the students are female-presenting, or members of the LGBTQ+ community.

MARIANA OCHOA (she/her)

Communications Manager | Engage Miami

Miami, Florida

What do you do at Engage Miami?

As the Communications Manager, I get to tell the stories of young people here and the issues they care about, as well as get them resources so they can stay civically engaged all year-round.

How does your identity and heritage influence your organizing/work?

As a Latinx person myself, I know that we come from all different types of experiences and backgrounds. Sometimes we speak different languages and we’re all different shades. We are a multi-faceted group.

When speaking directly with young Latinx voters, what do they say are the most important issues to them?

From talking to young Latinx voters here some of the issues that they say that they care about are Democracy Done Right, climate justice, and investing in our communities rather than more police and prisons. These are also issues that we cover in our platform, the YPPP—Young Peoples’ Policy Priorities at Engage Miami.

National Voter Registration Day

Last month, the Alliance for Youth Action network celebrated another successful National Voter Registration Day (NVRD)—the largest single-day effort to register people to vote across the country. This civic holiday has a special place in our organizing hearts because the Alliance co-founded NVRD in 2012! What started as an idea from young organizers grew into a major holiday garnering support and participation from influencers, elected officials, and nonprofits alike. 

This year, NVRD was more important than ever. The coronavirus has drastically changed the way many organizations, including organizations in the Alliance network, conduct voter registration work. The mass mobilization on NVRD to register voters was critical to getting our country safely registered and #VoteReady. And on NVRD, over 1.5 million people were registered to vote nationwide!

Here are some highlights from our network on National Voter Registration Day 2020:

Detroit Action, a project of Tides Advocacy

Detroit Action partnered with eight Black-owned and Detroit based businesses to get them NVRD posters and materials with unique links for folks to register to vote. They also partnered with two homeless shelters in Detroit to have socially distant in-person tabling and voter registration events. 

Forward Montana Foundation

Forward Montana held virtual themed phone banks every night during the week of NVRD where 60 volunteers helped young people register to vote. They also worked with local partners to takeover communities with NVRD posters, banners, stickers, street chalk, and more.

New Era Colorado

New Era Colorado registered young people to vote on college campuses in the field and online in seven cities across the state.

Next Up

Next Up, based in Oregon, celebrated NVRD virtually this year with a 4-day concert series featuring young, local artists. 

North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT)

NCAAT hosted multiple online events,  campus actions, as well as socially distanced in-person voter registration drives throughout the week of NVRD. They kicked off the week with a Youth Phone Bank where youth callers helped young people register to vote. NCAAT worked with student groups at UNC Sangam, UNC MASH at UNC-Chapel Hill, and with Duke University’s Asian American Student Association to run Campus Takeover events. On campuses, they co-hosted voter education workshops and walked students through their online voter registration portal ncaat.vote/ig. On Friday, NCAAT ended NVRD Youth Week of Action by hosting an IG live while organizers cooked, chatted, and “Dished out the Vote!” 

The Washington Bus

The Washington Bus hosted a digital voter registration drive with two dozen volunteers where they contacted unregistered voters via text and social media. They also created a video with volunteers, interns, and fellows as well as launched voter registration ads.