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!