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!