Welcome Georgia Youth Justice Coalition to the Alliance Network!

Today, we are thrilled to welcome Georgia Youth Justice Coalition to the Alliance Network!

We are so excited to have another group of youth organizers join us in building progressive people power across the nation. Founded in 2021, Georgia Youth Justice Coalition (GYJC) is a grassroots collective of Black, brown, LGBTQ+, working class, and allied students advocating for youth power and justice in Georgia.

Meet Georgia Youth Justice Coalition


The Georgia Youth Justice Coalition was first led by students fighting for fair maps and fair budgets for Georgia’s children and families. In 2022, GYJC grew from engaging a few hundred high school and college students alongside their families and communities, to dedicated local organizing campaigns impacting thousands of Georgians in six counties and six campuses. 

Today they’re activating youth communities, shifting the political narrative, incubating movement leaders, building power, and winning meaningful policy and electoral victories across Georgia.

Looking ahead, GYJC plans to scale their work, onboard new staff and add new technological tools to expand to sixteen counties and fourteen campuses. 

GYJC Is Winning

In 2022, GYJC secured over one billion dollars in funding for schools, stopped Don’t Say Gay legislation, and defeated every book ban in the state of Georgia. They paid and trained over 1,000 students in legislative advocacy, community organizing, movement history, and storytelling. 

During the midterm cycle, youth organizers at GYJC ran the largest youth-mobilizing-youth effort in Georgia with over 95,000 face-to-face conversations with young Georgia voters, focusing on young Black and brown voters who make up over 45% of the youth electorate in Georgia. They toured the state to engage Georgia’s next generation and hold elected officials accountable to parents, caregivers, educators, students, and young Georgians at the ballot box.

GYJC organizes 356 days a year in public schools and colleges spanning 88+ Georgia counties. Google “Black youth organizing in Georgia”, and GYJC is the first hit, and for good reason. Last year, GYJC’s 332 student organizers were 81% Black fighting for issues impacting Black youth across the state. 

Meet the GYJC Team Leads

Meet some of the youth organizers helping GYJC make it happen!

Executive Director – Melody Oliphant 

Advocacy – Mason Goodwin and Jordan Madden

Campus Mobilization – Rhea Wunsch and Julian Fortuna 

Chiefs of Staff – James Wilson and Myla Williams 

Comms & Narrative – Zeena Mohamed and Isabelle Philip 

County Organizing – Austin Dixon 

Digital – Arwin Hasan and Ava Bussey 

Finance & Operations – Yana Batra 

Student Power Hub – Marrow Woods 

Welcome the Georgia Youth Justice Coalition crew to the Alliance Network with a donation! A donation to Georgia Youth Justice Coalition is an investment in local youth organizing and a direct action to help progress the demands of young people.

Our Mission to Expand the Alliance Network

The Alliance believes every young person deserves a political home in their local community that centers the issues young people care about most. As a part of our new five-year strategic plan, the Alliance is expanding the network by focusing on organizations led by and centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) that build with young people in a long-term organizing model because it is critical for Black, Indigenous and people of color to organize within and for their communities.

Why Georgia?

Young people’s voices and votes matter in every state and race nationwide. However, in close elections decided by just a few percentage points, young voters can be more than influential and we’ve seen that in the state of Georgia the last two election cycles. Expanding our network to include GYJC will help fuel the growth and sustainability of grassroots organizing led by Black youth in Georgia who have historically been and continue to be systemically under-resourced. 

Young Georgians have propelled Georgia to become a consistent battleground state. In 2020, Black youth in Georgia were credited with delivering a victory to President Joe Biden, the first Democrat to win the state in nearly three decades. Because of the power of the Black youth vote, the Georgia race for U.S. Senate headed to a runoff for the last two straight election cycles, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock prevailed. We know that record-breaking youth voter turnout happens when we invest in sustained youth outreach. Among battleground states, Georgia has the largest share of 18-24-year-old voters, so we’re gearing up for Georgia to once again be at the forefront of politics in 2024 and beyond.

Georgia Youth Justice Coalition for Action Captured in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 21, 2023. — by Kevin Lowery, @kevloweryphoto


 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 like GYJC that do just that – contact young people through innovative, impactful peer-to-peer organizing. 

Youth organizers at GYJC provide the education and leadership development necessary for young people to make their voices heard at the state house, courthouse, and the ballot box; to protest and advocate, organize and testify. Young people in Georgia have unmistakable political power because of crews like GYJC. 

Here’s to an amazing journey together as we continue to build up youth-led people power in the south, and across the nation! 

WE’RE NOT GIVING UP: The Supreme Court has ruled against student loan borrowers

Since President Biden announced his student debt relief plan nearly a year ago, 44 million people have been hopeful that they could regain some financial freedom. Today, that hope was diminished by the Supreme Court. This morning SCOTUS released its decision on Biden v. Nebraska – ruling against those who bear the burden of student loan debt.This is a major setback in our fight for economic justice. Millions of young people turned out at the ballot box and in the streets to demand action for financial freedom, and once again they’ve been let down. The Alliance Network has been on the front lines of this fight since the beginning, and we’re not letting up now.

So, what does this mean? Starting September 1st, ALL student loan borrowers can expect their loan interest to resume, and can expect to start making payments in October. 

Despite today’s loss, one thing is clear: the fight for student debt cancellation is far from over.

Young people understand another world is possible – a world where we can live out our dreams and not live in debt – and now we know more than ever that we have the political power to make it happen. Continue supporting the Alliance Network and our youth organizers who are working towards bringing us closer to a just economy.

Let’s keep moving forward.

Here’s the 411 On Our Capacity Building Work

Last year, we launched a new strategic roadmap to lead us into the next phase of the organization over the next five years. If you’ve joined us on our journey to expand and reimagine how we fuel the growth and sustainability of the year-round grassroots organizing in the Alliance Network, thank you! If you’re new here, we define capacity building in three big ways:

  • Building a strong community of youth leaders and providing hands-on support
  • Managing the extensive toolbox of resources and support.
  • Providing access to tools and tech so our network can achieve scale and impact.

A major part of the reimagining driven by our new strategic roadmap is focusing our resources on strengthening and expanding our capacity building services. Now that we’re nearly halfway through 2023, we’re bringing you an update on the capacity building work we’ve done with our network thus far, and a sneak peek on what’s to come.

Celebrating 10 Years of the Alliance

This August, the Alliance Network will come together in Chicago, Illinois for an in-person conference to celebrate our 10th anniversary and work together to envision the next 10 years of the Alliance Network! We’ll provide in-person capacity building with nearly 200 network staff members and create a national strategy to approach the full spectrum of youth organizing work for the 2024 election and beyond. Stay tuned for our updates from Chicago!

Highlights from Site Visits

Loud Light
Mississippi Votes

Over the last couple months, members of the Alliance team have traveled across the country to meet with the amazing leaders at Chicago Votes, Loud Light, Mississippi Votes, New Era Colorado, New Hampshire Youth Movement, Poder in Action, and The Washington Bus. Each site visit’s goal is tailored to each organization’s needs. Some teams worked on conceptualizing and strategizing advocacy campaigns, while others utilized the Alliance’s support across several areas of their organization. Overall, through these visits, our team can provide in-person support and identify critical areas where continued capacity building is needed either from the Alliance team, peers in the network, or other experts long-term. 

New Era Colorado
New Hampshire Youth Movement

Although many Alliance Network organizations have wrapped up their legislative work, our capacity building efforts continue year-round because youth organizers in our network organize 365 days a year, and preparation for 2024 starts now!

Alliance Network Cohorts

Another way the Alliance Network orgs can tap into our capacity building support is by joining one of our cohorts! The Alliance Network cohorts are spaces for network staff to learn from and alongside their peers. Here’s a quick look into what we’ve been working on:

Screenshot from the March Development Cohort Meeting

The Development Cohort met in March for a workshop led by professional fundraiser and nonprofit executive, Michelle Muri on community-centered fundraising. The group explored racism within philanthropy by asking how our systems became unjust, what is unjust about them, who we are within these systems, and where we can make change.

In April, the Operations Cohort gathered for part two of an HR and Employment Law 101 training they began late last year. The group discussed discrimination, harassment, retaliation, investigating harassment complaints, employee conflict management and how to spot it in the workplace as well as necessary elements to include in performance improvement plans.

In May, the Communications Cohort held a Press & Media panel for Alliance Network comms staff to hear from journalists on how to navigate the industry, build relationships with reporters, and successfully pitch their stories to reporters

In June, our Data and Program cohorts had a joint session to discuss the elements of how data moves through an organization and what can be done to improve those processes. Their session featured examples from New Era Colorado, Forward Montana, and Poder in Action, and highlighted Ohio Student Association’s Relational Organizing program ran in 2022 to discuss its innovative data strategies and data entry challenges.

Additionally, a cohort of Alliance Network Executive Directors from Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, and Minnesota gathered in Montana for their first in-person meeting since 2020! While some of the Network EDs have been able to meet in-person over the past few years, this space was equal parts productive and bonding. The EDs dug into conversations regarding programming, budgets and organizational health, and accountability to each other and the Alliance.

Leveling Up Our Resources

This year, we’re also revamping the Shared Resource Library! Being a network that reaches 20 organizations across 18 different states, the Shared Resource Library exists to provide the network with support at any time, from any distance. While organizing can certainly vary state-to-state, we’ve created a hub filled with general templates, guides, trackers, and trainings to ensure our network organizers are starting their work on the right track.  

Recently we’ve added more advocacy resources, a variety of tailored hiring resources, a new slate of data resources, and updated programming resources ahead of 2024. We will also collect in-person feedback on the Shared Resource Library from Alliance Network staff members at our network-wide conference in August.

The Alliance team is so grateful to have you along with us on this journey to grow progressive people power at the local level. Investing in powerful young leaders and strengthening the capacity of their organizations changes our communities for the better and builds a bench with the most diverse and progressive leadership our country has ever seen.

Donate to the Alliance

Join us by investing into building youth power across the nation with a donation to the Alliance! Your contributions help us continue and expand our capacity building services that are essential to driving our mission of growing an unstoppable people-powered movement led by young people. Donate to the Alliance today to help us continue site visits, growing our cohort program, and maintaining our Shared Resource Library.

Become an Alliance Ally

If you’d like to stay connected with how we’re implementing our new five-year plan, level up your email subscription to become an Alliance Ally! Receive more exclusive email updates from the Alliance team and catch a glimpse of the work behind the work. 

Continuing the Fight for LGBTQ+ Freedom and Prosperity ️‍

Happy Pride Month, Alliance Fam!

Every June, we honor the history of the LGBTQ+ community, and their ongoing fight for equality and the freedom to live full lives unencumbered by discrimination. This year, amidst the Pride celebrations and parades, we have to recognize the tumultuous legislative year we’ve had. LGBTQ+ folks have faced a record number of threats and challenges from leaders at the local, state, and national levels. This year alone, over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills and anti-trans bills have been introduced across the country attacking various rights and freedoms like free speech and expression, access to healthcare, education, and more. 

While Pride can be a party, at its root Pride is a protest. Pride started as a fight for the right of LGBTQ+ people to live their lives in public, without apology. With that in mind, this Pride Month, we want to highlight the power of youth organizing when it comes to protecting LGBTQ+ rights and freedoms.

LGBTQ+ Organizing in the Alliance Network

New Hampshire Youth Movement

New Hampshire Youth Movement (NHYM) and coalition partners spent the year fighting SB 272, an anti-trans forced-outing bill.In May, the legislative session ended with that bill indefinitely postponed. We are celebrating alongside the youth organizers in New Hampshire who have worked tirelessly to defeat every anti-trans bill filed in the 2023 legislative session. Young people once again demonstrated how the power of youth organizing can shut down inhumane legislation and uphold the rights of trans and LGBTQ+ young people.

Forward Montana

This year the Montana state legislature fell into the limelight after State Rep. Zooey Zephyr was silenced during the debate over banning gender-affirming care of minors. Forward Montana stood in solidarity with Rep. Zephyr, drove over 1,000 calls against SB99 to pressure lawmakers, and organized a legislative session debrief with young LGBTQ+ community members.

Loud Light 

In Kansas, Loud Light has been fighting on the legislative front lines against several anti-trans bills including HB 2238, a bill that would ban transgender women and girls from competing on sports teams. The Kansas Legislature overrode the governor’s veto of this damaging bill . Loud Light is mobilizing their network while honoring the activists who fought before them through “Pride was a Riot”, an event dedicated to exploring the history, theory, and practice of civil disobedience in the LGBTQ+ movement. 

MOVE Texas

Among several actions MOVE Texas has hosted at their state capitol, in March they hosted a Youth Capitol Takeover that brought over 350 young voters and lifetime organizers together at the Texas capitol to demand progressive change from state lawmakers. 

Engage Miami

Engage Miami and organizers across Florida have spent this legislative session battling anti-LGBTQ+ bills, including an expansion to the Don’t Say Gay law by the State Board of Education. In response, Engage Miami supported their partners who provide care and support to LGBTQ+ youth in South Florida.

How the Alliance Network is Celebrating Pride Month

Find your state and see how you can tap into upcoming Pride events, or engage with one of our network orgs on social media!


Engage Miami


Detroit Action


One APIA Nevada

New Hampshire

This month, the NH Senate has a chance to ensure equal protection under the law for LGBTQ+ lives by passing HB 315, a bill that would officially ban the LGBTQ+ panic defense in New Hampshire. Take action with New Hampshire Youth Movement now!


Ohio Student Association


MOVE Texas

More LGBTQ+ Content From the Alliance

How the Alliance Network Fights for Trans Youth

This year we’ve seen an influx in anti-trans rhetoric spreading across the nation. As more and more legislative attacks on trans folks arise, youth organizers in the Alliance Network have been fighting back to protect the rights and freedoms of trans youth. For International Day of Transgender Visibility in March, honored the contributions of trans people, and the youth organizers opposing these bills face-to-face with legislators determined to prohibit the rights and freedoms of the trans community, by showing some extra love to the Alliance Network orgs doing this work in their state legislative sessions this year.

Pride is a Battleground

For Pride 2022, Forward Montana organizer, Izzy Milch penned a powerful blog post on the importance of acknowledging the history of Pride Month and the necessity for LGBTQ+ organizing at the local level.

As the legislative session winds down, let’s continue to hold our heads high and remember that Pride is a continuous celebration of advocacy and action for LGBTQ+ freedom. Equality is made for all, and young people know it. Let’s keep fighting.

Meet Some of the AANHPI Organizers Building Youth Power in their States

The month of May is all about celebrating the history and culture of the Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. The Asian American community is the fastest growing racial demographic in the US. With that, Asian Americans also had the highest growth in voter turnout in 2020 when compared to 2016. In fact, in 2020 young Asian American voters overwhelmingly supported the Biden Harris campaign. Yet, AANHPI communities are still often overlooked when it comes to voter engagement. A national survey conducted by RUN (Represent Us Now) AAPI found that campaigns failed to reach 68% of young Asian Americans leading up to the 2022 midterms.

To celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month, we want to shine a light on the incredible power of the AANHPI organizers in our network who are not only working to engage the fastest growing racial demographic in the US in civic action, but are continuing to build AANHPI youth power all year long.

Say Hey 👋🏽 to the Organizers of North Carolina Asian Americans Together

Samuel Lynn, Field Manager at North Carolina Asian Americans Together

Samuel Lynn


Field Manager at North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT)

▼What piece of AANHPI history motivates you and/or inspires you to organize your community?

While American soldiers during WWII were liberating concentration camps across Europe, Japanese-Americans were put into our own camps. Learning this taught me the importance of understanding history and standing in solidarity against injustice.

▼ Do you have a favorite story of organizing in your community that illustrates what makes the AANHPI Community unique?

During last year’s election season, our organization developed infographics to educate our community on the offices that would be on the ballot that year and what they did (State Legislature, State Supreme Court, & Sheriff). Organizing the AANHPI community means bringing together the many ethnicities and languages that comprise our people, and last year we were able to get our infographics translated into the 5 most commonly spoken Asian languages in NC. Seeing all of these infographics centered around civic education and voter engagement in these different languages showed how our organizing our communities has unique challenges, but we are still able to come together in solidarity as Asian Americans.

▼ What legacy do you want to leave behind?

I want my legacy to show that I saw needs in my community chose to engage in the ways that I could, rather than stay on the sidelines. We owe it to everyone who could not, or can not, act themselves to do everything in our power to bring change.

Giselle Pagunuran


Digital Communications Manager at North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT)

▼ What piece of AANHPI history motivates you and/or inspires you to organize your community?

Philip Vera Cruz, Larry Itliong, and other farm workers activists who worked hard to build coalitions, strengthen labor unions, and make workers’ voices heard. They motivate me to identify needs, build community, and respond with direct action.

▼ What legacy do you want to leave behind?

I want to be remembered as someone who cared deeply about uplifting her community, took action towards that goal, and made a tangible impact that inspires others to continue that cycle of care.

Shruti Parikh


Director, Voter Engagement at North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT)

▼ What piece of AANHPI history motivates you and/or inspires you to organize your community?

Thind V US & the 1907 Bellingham riots. Both of these events show me how fragile our rights are and why it is important to vote and engage in the electoral process. Our growth as an equitable and inclusive nation depends on our ability to show up!!

▼ Do you have a favorite story of organizing in your community that illustrates what makes the AANHPI Community unique?

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, we were tabling at local Asian grocery stores, trying to meet people where they were. I have a strong relationship with the family that owns and run the local Patel Brothers since I have shopped there since I moved to Raleigh in 1993. While holding a registration drive on location, I learned that one of the owners had recently become naturalized. I was able to register her to vote, educate her on the ways she could vote in NC, and help her make her plan. It was incredibly satisfying to help this long-time resident of NC, a vital community member, and friend, exercise her right to vote for the first time! 

▼ What legacy do you want to leave behind?

I want to know that I contributed to making NC a fair, equitable, and welcoming state for all by including Asian Americans and BIPOC communities in building the collective power necessary to make real and effective change.

Organizing the AANHPI Community in Nevada

In the Alliance Network, we are happy to have orgs like Asian Community Development Council (ACDC) and One APIA Nevada in our network working together to directly serve and engage their communities in political action. 

ACDC and One APIA Nevada work to build AANHPI power across the state of Nevada through year-round voter engagement, advocating for policies that further the interests of the community, and through grassroots engagement and coalition building around issues that matter most to the AANHPI community. On May 1st, ACDC and One APIA Nevada brought together over 100 community members to meet with legislators in Carson City, Nevada for their AANHPI Heritage Month Lobby Day!

We want to make it clear that we will continue to honor and celebrate AANHPI history and heritage not just in the month of May, but year-round. AANHPI youth will always have a home in the Alliance Network.

How The Alliance is Honoring Mental Health Week

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month! Every issue has an impact on our mental wellness, so this week we are sharing messages from across the Alliance Network on how some of our key issues impact the mental health of young people. Check back throughout the week to see updates on topics ranging from abortion access to voter rights!

Abortion Access x Mental Health

Abortion access is a mental health issue. Research and stories from our community tell us that limiting abortion access will severely impact mental health.

When people do not have resources or options to make decisions about their bodies, they experience fear, stress, anxiety, depression, and more.

Learn more from:

American Psychological Association

Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH)


Center for American Progress

Access to a safe abortion is healthcare.

Network Spotlight

New Era Colorado launched The Brazen Project, a student-led initiative dedicated to ending shame and stigma around abortion and empowering our peers to speak up and speak out about abortion access. They support students organizing on their college campuses to fight abortion stigma, to build support for abortion access, to share their stories, and to help students to advocate for better policies.

They also recently passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act!

How the Alliance Network is Organizing on Abortion Access:

Loud Light – Loud Light recently won the fight against a constitutional amendment that would remove the right to an abortion from the state constitution. The amendment would’ve given a majority of state legislators absolute control over abortion regulation including the ability to ban abortion without exception.

Mississippi Votes – The only abortion provider in Mississippi is at the center of the case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, trigger laws that ban all abortions occurring in the state will likely be enacted. Mississippi Votes is part of the Mississippi Abortion Access Coalition assuring that Mississippians know that they still have access to abortion and contraception

Take Action

Learn from and Donate to these groups:

Voter Access x Mental Health

Research has found that states with more voting access and greater civic participation levels are healthier overall. States with more exclusionary voting laws are less healthy. When people have more access to the ballot box, they can directly vote on issues that affect their health and build better social inclusion and belonging in their community.

When our democracy is healthy, people are healthy.

Network Spotlight

MOVE Texas has always been a fierce advocate for voting rights. They’ve organized press conferences, rallies, protests, lobby days, and more to push back against harmful voter suppression efforts in their state.

Even when an anti-voter law passed late last year, they did everything in their power to ensure Texan voters could register to vote, learn about what’s on their ballot, and make a plan to vote. Most recently, the MOVE team helped voters in the primaries when many ballots were being rejected due to voting law changes.

How the Alliance Network is organizing around Voting Rights

Chicago Votes – Chicago Votes is leading legislation that would restore voting rights to the roughly 30,000 people incarcerated in Illinois prisons.

Forward Montana – In 2021 Forward Montana sued the state over a last-minute anti-voter amendment to the constitution. When they are not fighting voter suppression efforts, they are organizing Student Voter Days and Candidate Forums to ensure our democracy is accessible to all.

Loud Light – Loud Light is continuously fighting back voter suppression efforts in Kansas. Now, they are battling it out in court and fighting gerrymandered maps that dilute minority votes.

Mississippi Votes – Mississippi Votes worked to defend against over 70 voter suppression bills in the 2021 Mississippi legislative session. They also supported 52 voter suffrage applications through the state legislature and are leading voting rights restoration efforts.

NextUp – Next Up is leading legislation that would restore voting rights to the roughly 13,000 people incarcerated in Oregon prisons.

Join the Democracy Done Right campaign and learn more about the Alliance Network’s work to protect, expand, and strengthen our democracy.

Take Action

Support Alliance orgs fighting for voting access

Read about more ways you can protect our freedom to vote

Police in Schools x Mental Health

Research tells us that the presence of police in schools fuels the school-to-prison-to-deportation pipeline. At least 14 million students in the United States attend schools with police officers on site but not staff counselors, nurses, or social workers. Mental health providers in schools provide positive outcomes for students.

Students need support. Not punishment.

Network Spotlight

Since 2013, Poder in Action has successfully decreased the number of school resource officers (SROs) and increased funding to services that promote learning and wellness in the Phoenix Union High School District. Currently, they are working on urging the City of Phoenix to allocate American Rescue Plan Act funds for mental health to center BIPOC, migrant, working class, LGBTQ+ and communities and not the policing, surveillance and punishment of these communities.

How the Alliance Network is organizing to divest from policing

Leaders Igniting Transformation – LIT is calling for Wisconsin universities to divest from policing on campuses and reinvest those funds to support BIPOC communities and students in their Dare to Divest campaign. LIT staff went to the capitol to provide testimonies to vote ‘no’ on a bill that would give the state grounds to put armed police back in public schools, an issue LIT fought for and successfully won in Milwaukee in 2020. 

Virginia Student Power Network – The Virginia Student Power Network is fighting for public safety without policing and building alternatives to the injustice system. This includes finding alternatives to policing in universities and K-12 schools in Virginia. 

Take Action

Support Alliance Organizations Fighting for Divestment from Policing

Learn More About Transformative and Restorative Justice

Recommended Reading: We Do This Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba

Student Debt x Mental Health

A recent survey tells us that more than 60% of borrowers feel that student debt negatively affects their mental health. When people aren’t able to pay their bills or their student loans they often feel shame, guilt, and anxiety. Canceling student debt would not only heal more than 44 million people, but would allow them to focus on the future.

We should be building our dreams without debt.

Network Spotlight

Virginia Student Power Network is continuing to protect the progress they’ve made on recent higher education wins, including passing legislation to provide in-state tuition and state financial aid for undocumented students in Virginia!

Right now, Virginia Student Power Network is pushing VA Commonwealth University to implement a tuition freeze and stop them from raising tuition on students during a student debt crisis.

How the Alliance Network is organizing to cancel student debt.

New Era Colorado – In 2021, New Era was Colorado passed the Student Loan Equity Act which protects students from private student loan lenders. Most recently, they passed legislation that ends the punitive practice of withholding transcripts and diplomas!

Ohio Student Association – OSA is fighting to defeat  anti-critical race theory bills by holding teach-ins, collecting testimonies, and hosting a direct action opposing the bills. They’re also working to get debt navigation programs passed in state legislatures to end the Transcript Trap.

The Washington Bus – The Washington Bus team is continuously pushing to make bridge grants available to students, stronger equity and diversity initiatives on campuses, and more mental health resources a reality for more students across the state.

Student Debt Stories

“I currently owe $58,929 in private student debt, which is almost $10,000 more than when I graduated less than 5 years ago, making it impossible to afford all my basic necessities and start paying the exorbitant monthly payment. The stress that has come along with this burden has deeply impacted my mental health. I’ve begun taking medication for anxiety and I am certain this is related to the economic instability I am facing.”

— Hayley Banyai-Becker

Denver Regional Field Manager, New Era Colorado

“Student debt affects my mental health because having an enormous, seemingly unending debt can feel so heavy. With the constant threat of payments restarting looming ahead, it feels like we are in a game of limbo where the only options are to lose. What is even more painful to me is watching our government continue to prioritize funding for wars and police while we are all struggling. It’s mental and emotional violence.”

— Kalia Harris

Executive Director, Virginia Student Power Network

“The student debt crisis has detrimental effects on mental health. I experience much internal conflict because I am unsure what I want to do in the future, and money is the focal point of those concerns. We need free college and student debt cancellation because they’re necessary steps towards guaranteeing autonomy for people’s lives.

— Ruby Wang

North Carolina

Take Action

Join Our Dreams Not Debt Campaign:

  • Sign the petition demanding Biden take bolder steps in canceling student debt, reform the student loan program, and make public colleges and universities free for all. 
  • Submit your student debt story
  • Share the actions with friends & family

Click here to join the Campaign

Alliance Self-Care

The Alliance is building a strong community of young leaders, and to do that we have to care for ourselves inside and out. So, what are you doing to take care of yourself this month? Here’s what some of the Alliance staff are doing to practice self-care.

More Youth Civic Participation = A Stronger Democracy

Showing up to the polls and casting a ballot in every election is essential to upholding a strong democracy. Today, we’re shining a light on how youth organizers also bring young people into the broad spectrum of civic participation activities through Lobby Days. 

The Alliance Network has brought young people directly to their legislators with lobbying and demonstrations this legislative session. While civic engagement doesn’t stop here, these events remind us just how powerful youth organizing is. Before the half-year mark, young people have shared their stories and testified nationwide for and against dozens of consequential bills.

Alliance Network youth organizers are here to show that young people are not backing down. We will show up. Every. Single. Time. Here’s a snapshot of lobbying and demonstrations the Alliance Network has held so far this year. 👇🏽

Asian Community Development Council & One APIA Nevada

To kick off Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Asian Community Development Council & One APIA Nevada brought 100+ community members to the Nevada state legislature. They had over 50 meetings with legislators and helped make the voices of the 389,000+ AANHPIs in Nevada heard on policies that will impact them.

Chicago Votes

On May 10th, the Chicago Votes team had an exciting day in Springfield, Illinois advocating for House Bill 39, Voting in Prison. Advocates and community members gathered at the Illinois State Capitol to make noise about the importance of those in prison the right to vote. 

Digital Advocacy

To kick off the day’s events, a Chicago Votes Policy Fellow led volunteers in a Twitter Power-Hour reaching out to lawmakers via social media about HB 39. In a matter of just 30 minutes, the team collected witness slips and sent out a flurry of tweets to lawmakers who needed e convincing to get behind the Voting in Prison bill.

Art Walk

At the Capitol, the advocacy kicked off with an art walk featuring work from local Chicago artist David Ellis (@ewrks) and a number of incarcerated folks. The artwork focused on the themes of inhumane prison conditions, the silencing of incarcerated people, and the importance of voter rights restoration to help lawmakers to understand the urgency of HB 39.


Chicago Votes also hosted a rally for the Voting in Prison bill that featured messages from Chicago Votes organizers, coalition members, and community leaders.

Subject Matter Hearing

Lastly, the House Ethics & Elections Committee held a subject matter hearing for HB39. Members heard testimony from Representative Lashawn Ford, Chicago Votes Co-Executive Director Stevie Valles, Political Science expert Dr. Christina Rivers, Avalon Betts-Gaston from the Illinois Alliance for Reentry & Justice, and Cliff Helm from the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

Detroit Action

On May 9th, Detroit Action organizers were off to Lansing, Michigan to speak with lawmakers about issues ranging from housing justice to mental health.

Engage Miami

Engage Miami at the Florida state Capitol

At the end of March, the Engage Miami crew headed to Tallahassee for Dade Days, a week of lobbying and sharing testimony to uplift the impact so many of the harmful bills brought into Florida legislation will have on young people, and the community at large.

While many of these bills are moving forward despite overwhelming public opposition, Engage Miami’s incredible efforts remind us how impactful organizing can be and how important it is to participate in our democracy.

Florida Student Power Network

At the end of March, Florida Student Power Network hosted Youth Power at the Capitol, an event that invited young people from Miami, Palm Beach, Orlando, and Tampa to take action at Florida’s state capitol. These young people amplified their voices around HB 999 and SB 266, bills that would defund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs on college campuses, and wipe out the ability for higher education systems in Florida to have gender studies, race studies, and interdisciplinary studies majors.

Leaders Igniting Transformation

The Wisconsin state budget impacts several key issues for organizers at Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT), including public education, racial justice, public health, and LGBTQ+ issues. On April 18th, LIT brought young people to Wisconsin’s Capitol for a Lobby Day with legislators to ensure young people’s priorities are represented in the state budget.

MOVE Texas

In March, MOVE Texas partnered with organizations from across their state to host a Youth Capitol Takeover— a historic event that brought young people from every region of Texas together to demand progressive change from lawmakers. Over 350 young voters and organizers from 12 different cities were able to travel to the Texas Capitol and participate in the event!

Next Up

The Next Up team hosted a Virtual Lobby Day with the ACLU of Oregon and stood up for youth power alongside dozens of attendees!

Next Up Executive Director, Elona Wilson, helped kick off the event by reminding attendees of the importance of vocalizing their collective concerns and advocating with the future in mind.

“As an organization that builds political power and strong, effective leadership pipelines for diverse young people, our work and our communities are greatly impacted by policies being advocated for today.

Growing up in Oregon, I always thought the legislature in Salem wasn’t a place for me. The fancy suits and the big words – it wasn’t a place I could see myself. That was until I was told that the Capitol is for ‘we the people,’ and those fancy-looking lawmakers work for us. The legislature is supposed to be for ‘we the people.’ Though this country was not created for all of us, we can intentionally rebuild it for all of us.”

North Carolina Asian Americans Together

North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) kicked off Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with their second annual Asian American Advocacy Day. From students to young professionals to parents to community leaders, a wide range of folks showed up to share their stories and hopes for the future. The NCAAT crew informed legislators about their diverse constituents and the issues they face day-to-day, as well as the policies that would improve the growing Asian American community in North Carolina.

Ohio Student Association

On May 16th Ohio Student Association (OSA) brought 20 students from 6 different campuses to take part in Lobby Day hosted by the Ohio Organizing Collaborative. Along with their fellow activists, OSA met with council people to present their list of priorities that included funding K-12 and higher education, improving the healthcare system, supporting care workers, and more. OSA organizers presented these ideas to senators, representatives, and other council people to see change in Ohio bills and legislature.

The Washington Bus

In February, The Washington Bus had an amazing week lobbying for progressive change in Olympia, WA. 35 young people from Washington Bus and Latino Community Fund were bussed to the Capitol to meet with 11 legislators.

We are so proud of how the Alliance Network continues to show up and make change day in and day out, even when faced with adversity. Young people will continue to drive us forward to progressive change at every level.

As summer heats up, we’re not slowing down! The Alliance Network will continue to build youth power in their states through more action events and leadership development programming.

Get real-time updates from our network orgs by following them on social media!

Celebrate Young People Making their Democracy Debut!

Think back to your first experience participating in democracy. Was it casting your first vote? Testifying in front of your state legislators? Registering to vote for the first time? Joining a rally or protest in your community? The Alliance Network is building a world where young people across the country have the access, opportunity, and power to participate in our democracy. 

We launched our Democracy Debut campaign to celebrate new voters ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Now, we’re focusing the campaign on celebrating young people in the Alliance Network making their debut into our democracy in their state’s legislative session because there is no such thing as an off year when it comes to elections.

Meet Erin, Livia, and Ollie. Three youth organizers in the Alliance Network making their democracy debut this year by taking action in their own ways. Read their stories below.

Erin Lee (she/her/hers), North Carolina Asian Americans Together

“I’m participating in democracy by staying educated on current events and issues that matter to me and signing petitions or sending emails to my legislators when I can! I’m trying to encourage democracy in my family too—I helped my dad study for his citizenship test so that he could vote, and both of my parents recently voted together for the first time in the midterms!”

Livia Benitez (she/her/hers), Engage Miami

“After graduating from political science and coming back to my hometown, I started to be involved in local and state politics more than ever. Even through years majoring in this field, I never had the opportunity to take civic action. Given the turbulent political environment in the country and my state FL, it is more important than ever to be a voice and uplift our rights.

I spoke on behalf of Giffords against gun violence, and urged the Miami-Dade 2023 representatives for the state session to opposed the Permitless Carry bill before it was introduced. Being able to stand on that hearing, and express mine and my community concern on this issue gave me a sense of power I never felt before, it. encouraged me to continue my work and hopefully inspire others to do the same.”

Ollie Bandong (they/them/theirs), North Carolina Asian Americans Together

“I’m participating in our democracy by doing more research and art on issues I’m passionate about. I’m hoping to make a series of zines and/or infographics to help educate my community on the issues of abortion access and climate change. I’m also in a college-level class called Art for Social Change. In this class, I have been able to learn more about these issues and present them in an artistic format (propaganda poster, zine, etc).”

Read more Democracy Debut stories here.

How did you make your democracy debut? No matter what your introduction to democracy looks like, your debut is worth celebrating! Let us cheer you on by submitting your story to the Alliance! What motivated you to take action for the first time? How did you get involved? Who encouraged you? We want to hear it all! 

Join us in celebrating young people making their Democracy Debut by sharing on social media!

The Alliance Network Youth Wave by the Numbers

Let’s take a look back at the 2022 midterms, where young people played a vital role in securing progressive wins across the country. In addition to seeing how the Alliance Network succeeded in 2022 with our Annual Report, new research from the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) gives us further insight into the impact of Alliance Network orgs in getting out the youth vote for the midterm elections.

We’ll dive into some highlights, but you can read the full report from CIRCLE, including the impact of Election laws in 2022 here.

Highlights from CIRCLE’s 2022 Youth Voting State Level Research


Michigan was home to the highest youth voter turnout in 2022 with 36.5%. That turnout rate is more than 13% higher than the national youth voter turnout estimated by CIRCLE. Additionally, Michigan was one of only four states that had a higher youth turnout in 2022 than in 2018, which nationally had the highest youth turnout of any midterm in the past three decades.

“With core issues such as voter suppression, reproductive rights, gun reform, and climate change on the ballot, young people are disproportionately impacted by the political choices made today. Last fall, we had an election that had the potential to set us back years, but young Black and Brown Detroiters showed up and turned Michigan into one of the most progressive states in our country.”

Branden Snyder, Executive Director of Detroit Action

This is all thanks to the work by organizers like those at Detroit Action, who remained heavily involved throughout 2022 by mobilizing young people into victory on two ballot measure wins. Nine of their 11 endorsed candidates also saw victories in the elections last fall. 


Following the highest turnout of any state in 2018, Minnesota organizers’ work to continuously engage voters, and this time young people, paid off in the 2022 midterms. Minnesota had the third-highest youth voter turnout rate of any state in the 2022 midterm elections at 35.5%. That turnout rate is more than 12 percentage points higher than the national youth voter turnout estimated by CIRCLE. 

In 2022, Minnesota Youth Collective (MNYC) celebrated its fifth anniversary and played a big part in these efforts. MNYC youth organizers distributed over 110,000 voter guides, knocked on doors for eight months before election day, and provided golf cart rides to the polls for University of Minnesota Twin Cities students.  

“In 2022, the future of our state was hanging in the balance, and it’s because of young voters that we saw positive election results.”

Rahhel Haile, Executive Director of MNYC


Oregon also had record youth voter turnout with 35.5%, making it the fourth-highest youth voter turnout in 2022. Youth organizers at Next Up, helped make Oregon the most accessible state to vote. With over 93% of Oregon’s population registered to vote, Next Up sent 585,672 texts, made 229,249 calls, and knocked on over 10,000 doors.  

“Last fall, we had the chance to invest in our communities through declaring healthcare as a human right, removing slavery from our constitution, and reshaping our local government to be more equitable and inclusive. Our efforts contributed to an astounding 35.5% turnout rate among young people – a significant indicator of the importance of investing in electoral infrastructure, an organizing strategy that ties issues and candidates to material impacts, and supporting robust and inclusive civic engagement of young people.”

Elona Wilson, Executive Director of Next Up


Colorado’s youth voter turnout for 2022 was 33%, keeping the state amongst the top-5 highest youth voter turnout states after a 44% turnout in 2018. New Era Colorado has a 16-year track record of turning out young people across the state and has successfully passed pro-voter policies like same-day registration and mandated polling places on college campuses. In 2022, New Era made 217,925 phone calls, sent 15,252 text messages, and personally delivered 2,005 young voters into Voter Service Centers through their GOTV efforts. 

“One of every five voters in Colorado was under 35, and crucial to maintaining a trifecta of decision-makers who committed to the Youth Agenda in key offices. But we know that campaign promises only go so far and our work is just beginning to demand the future that young people dream of.”

Nicole Hensel, Executive Director of New Era Colorado

In the end, 60% of New Era’s membership turned out to vote, doubling the national youth voter turnout rate.


Arizona has had one of the most dramatic increases in youth voting in the past three midterm cycles, and the second-smallest decrease in participation from 2018 to 2022. With a 25% youth voter turnout rate, Arizona came in higher than the national youth turnout estimate. Young voters played a critical role in several Democratic victories in Arizona’s U.S. Senate Race and Governor’s race. 

“In partnership with many organizations, Poder has focused on expanding the electorate and increasing our power to govern, but our work is not about turning the state blue. It is about fighting for our right to live joyful and long lives, and young people have always been at the forefront of that fight and will continue to build our power as we head into 2024.”

Viridiana Hernandez, Director of Poder in Action 

Poder in Action knocked on 51,000 doors, distributed over 50,000 voter guides, and had over 1.2 million digital impressions for the 2022 election cycle. Poder was also successful in undoing a long history of anti-immigrant attacks by passing Proposition 308 to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition and get state scholarships. 


Texas has had one of the most dramatic increases in youth voting in the past three midterm cycles. 22% of young people in Texas turned out to vote in the 2022 midterms.

In 2022, MOVE Texas returned to in-person work after the Covid-19 pandemic and registered over 10,000 young voters for the 2022 election cycle. MOVE Texas staff, canvassers, campus organizers, chapter members, and volunteers reached out to young people who pledged to vote or join the movement and together made: 1,978 door knocks, sent 338,017 text messages, made 235,184 phone calls, and sent 77,000 climate mailers to inform young voters about the election. Of the voters MOVE Texas turned out to vote, 1/3 were first-time voters, and over 60% were under 30. 

“We faced incredible challenges during the 2022 midterm election cycle because the state passed anti-voting legislation the previous year that made it much more difficult for young people and first-time voters to participate in our elections. But young people showed up in defiance, despite them waiting hours in line, and voted for the freedom to decide when and if they want to start a family, the freedom to vote and determine their own futures, and the freedom to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and leave behind a livable planet.

Claudia Yoli Ferla, Executive Director of MOVE Texas

We are still riding the highs of the successes from last year’s elections, energized by the incredible efforts of youth organizers to engage young people and provide for their communities in distinct and meaningful ways. In 2022, young voters showed the nation exactly what we’re made of. When young people have support and resources, our democracy wins.  

Keeping Up with the Fight for Abortion Access

Advocating for reproductive rights and abortion access has been and will continue to be a pillar of grassroots organizing across the Alliance Network. Since the Supreme Court eliminated the federal constitutional protection of abortion rights set by Roe v. Wade and gave the authority to decide abortion rights to individual states in June 2022, many attacks on reproductive freedom have been introduced to heavily restrict or completely ban abortion access.

On Friday, a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas with ties to the anti-abortion movement ruled against the longstanding FDA approval of the abortion drug, mifepristone. On the same day, in an effort to keep mifepristone on the market, a Washington state judge issued a decision banning the FDA from pulling the abortion drug. Shortly after, the Department of Justice stepped in and issued an appeal to the Texas ruling, arguing that the judge’s ruling is “unprecedented.” 

The Alliance Network stands in solidarity with young people across the country and demands their reproductive rights be defended through federal action. Read our statement here.

Reproductive Rights Organizing at the Local Level

New Era Colorado

New Era Colorado

New Era is unapologetically pro-abortion. With Colorado’s legislative session underway, say hello to The Brazen Project, New Era’s reproductive rights program. The Brazen Project is here to smash the stigma around abortions on college campuses across Colorado. Ending the stigma starts with talking about abortion care boldly and without shame, so New Era organizers create safe spaces to facilitate and continue conversations about abortion with young people on college campuses and through educational events.

This year, New Era is focusing on engaging its base of young people and campus leaders to regulate the deceptive practices of anti-abortion centers that lurk near college campuses throughout the state. Anti-abortion centers, also known as “fake clinics,” “crisis pregnancy centers,” and “anti-abortion counseling centers,” are anti-abortion nonprofits that present themselves as licensed family planning and/or reproductive healthcare clinics, but in reality, these centers exist to dissuade pregnant people from seeking an abortion. They use deceptive advertising to get those looking for abortion services in the door, then proceed to provide patients with biased counseling and inaccurate, unfounded information about abortion and contraception to delay and make it even more difficult to schedule an abortion.

Don’t let them fool you: anti-abortion centers don’t give Coloradans the reproductive care they need. Read more about New Era Colorado’s work through The Brazen project from policy manager Arianna Morales here.

New Hampshire Youth Movement

Youth organizers with New Hampshire Youth Movement (NHYM) are playing offense and defense this legislative session, working to pass bills and an amendment that guarantees abortion access in New Hampshire while actively pushing back on bills that would restrict abortion access.

Everyone deserves the right to individual bodily autonomy and liberty, CACR 2 will protect that right. This is a constitutional amendment and, if passed, it would amend the New Hampshire state constitution to protect the right to bodily autonomy. There are currently no policies guaranteeing the right to abortion and other reproductive healthcare in New Hampshire, so on the heels of the Supreme Court overturning the protections provided by Roe v. Wade, this is a huge deal for their community.

Another bill NHYM is supporting is HB 88. This is a bill that would make it so that the state of New Hampshire cannot restrict abortion further than it already has. HB 88 won’t overturn the 24-week abortion ban in the state, but it would prohibit the state from further interfering with an individual’s right to abortion care.

Lastly, NHYM is supporting HB 224, a bill that would eliminate the criminal and civil penalties that are currently part of the 24-week abortion ban. This is a bipartisan bill, giving it a higher chance of passing.

NHYM is also opposing several bills being introduced in the state legislature. HB 562 would require a provider to receive “informed consent” from an individual seeking an abortion. This is just a roundabout way of enforcing intimidation and scare tactics to push people away from getting abortions. It would mandate false information about medical abortion and impose a 24 hour waiting period. These scare tactics and waiting periods are used as methods to urge people away from abortion care. HB 591, the second bill NHYM is opposing, would ban abortion at the detection of a fetal heartbeat. This bill would essentially impose a six- week abortion ban.

2023 is also a budget year for New Hampshire, so NHYM organizers are also advocating for a progressive state budget after an abortion ban was passed through last year’s state budget process.

For more on New Hampshire Youth Movement’s advocacy in their legislative session, check out their Weekly Bill Cheat Sheet, where you can find more information and sign in links for all of the abortion bills above.

Loud Light

Loud Light

After successfully mobilizing Kansas voters to ‘vote neigh’ on a state constitution amendment that would have fundamentally restricted abortion access in the state, youth organizers with Loud Light are gearing up for more attacks on reproductive rights in the state’s legislative session. Stay up-to-date on Loud Light’s legislative session work with their weekly video recap series!

Next Up

This year, Next Up is organizing with the Fair Shot for All coalition, a group championing an agenda that prioritizes racial, gender, and economic justice during the 2023 Oregon State Legislative Session. The coalition is currently collecting signatures and stories to support reproductive & gender justice for all. You can read more about the coalition’s 2023 agenda, sign the petition, and submit your stories here.

Ohio Student Association

Abortion access is one of the most important issues for students throughout Ohio, especially following the repeal of Roe v. Wade last summer. The Ohio Student Association (OSA) has officially endorsed the Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom ballot measure, and is ready to shape their state’s future to ensure Ohio is on the right side of history when it comes to reproductive freedom. In order to appear on the ballot, OSA plans to collect at least 700,000 signatures from Ohio voters by July 5th. OSA chapters at four campuses across Ohio have already begun collecting signatures and more are set to begin in the coming weeks!

ICYMI: 3 Ways to Protect Abortion Access (and more!)

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the protections set by Roe v. Wade threatens the lives of millions who will seek an abortion, especially Black, Indigenous, people of color, and people working to make ends meet. Here’s how we can keep fighting back:

  • Call your senator and demand they take action to protect abortion access
  • Support abortion funds and reproductive justice orgs
  • Support Alliance Network orgs doing reproductive justice work

After the Supreme Court decision last year, we highlighted stories from the network about how the threat to abortion rights could mobilize young voters and explained how abortion access impacts mental health. 

Together, we can continue to put pressure on our elected officials to side with the majority of Americans who believe that abortion access is a human right. We won’t stop until every person, regardless of race, class, or zip code, is guaranteed that right. Let us not forget that young people will continue to be an influential voting bloc at the ballot box in 2024 and beyond. Call your senator, support youth organizers, and donate to abortion funds. This fight is far from over, but we are stronger together. Let’s keep fighting back.