As the temperatures are dropping and leaves are changing, we’re looking back on the incredible work Alliance youth organizers did these past few months to develop strong leaders in their communities and organize in the field for big primary wins, while still taking time to rest up before election season.
This year, the Alliance Network isn’t only focused on voter turnout. We’re also working on fostering the civic education of young people in our communities to ensure they grow into strong leaders that will carry on this work beyond us.
Here’s how network orgs used the summer season to build the next generation of youth organizers.
Developing Strong Leaders
This year the Alliance Network has fostered the development and civic education of over 90 young people through internships, fellowships, and other programs!
In addition to executing another successful run of annual Black Hogwarts programs, Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT) launched their first State-Wide Action Gathering (SWAG) with fellows representing all of their campuses across the state of Wisconsin. Participants got to dive deeper into their civic engagement and come together to get ready to ignite the future.
Staff and volunteers at New Era Colorado joined forces to learn more about young people’s priorities — what they’re calling the Youth Agenda — for the relaunch of their leadership development program. The launch of this restructured program renewed focus on building a political home for Colorado’s young people by providing political education, hands-on organizing experience, and supporting them in becoming change-makers in their communities.
Florida Student Power Network hosted “Power University: Shake the Vote”, a eight-week hybrid training program that teaches young organizers everything from base building to electoral tactics and building power in order to encourage voter turnout and build youth community leaders ahead of the 2022 election cycle in Florida.
North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) hosted a Youth Leadership Institute in July for youth aged 14-18 who identify as Asian American to build leadership and advocacy capacity, participate in educational workshops, and build professional development and activist skills. This year’s theme, “Rising Phoenix: Finding Light in Darkness,” allowed young leaders to reflect on both current and past social issues and equip them with the tools for social change.
This summer Forward Montana had a cohort of fellows across Billings, Missoula, and Bozeman. Fellows hosted voter registration and community events, and participated in a weekly fellowship class that focused on organizing and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) topics.
Minnesota Youth Collective’s summer fellowship recruited eight fellows who focused on community organizing, civic engagement, and issue advocacy. Fellows canvassed community events to register and pledge voters, organized their own educational events, and are currently working on a zine highlighting issues important to young people in the Twin Cities area.
Over in Nevada, Asian Community Development Council (ACDC) hosted their 8th Annual College Readiness Bootcamp. This program is an opportunity for young folks to get advice directly from current college students, and receive hands-on support for in-state and out-of-state college applications. There were also sessions for parents and students with financial aid questions.
Loud Light runs a large-scale leadership development program every year, focusing on educating young people about the legislative process in Kansas and community organizing. So far this year they’ve trained 24 fellows. Throughout the program fellows learned about testifying in the legislature, educating the community about different bills and processes, and testifying in court as Loud Light continues to fight back against multiple voter suppression bills.
Poder AZ’s youth organizers pushed for a police-free school campaign in Phoenix Union High School District. They organized students, parents, and teachers to advocate and push board members to be more proactive in creating stronger safety proposals. One of those proposals was a student safety committee that was passed and implemented this year!
We’re so proud of how the Alliance Network spent fostering and developing the skills of young people to take action by learning how to effectively fight 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.