RELEASE: Young People Fight for Progressive Priorities in their State Legislatures

For Immediate Release:

April 5, 2023

Press Contact:

Carmel Pryor

WASHINGTON – This year, youth organizers from across the Alliance for Youth Action Network have been busy holding elected officials accountable and advocating for progressive legislation. Following last year’s election cycle, it’s clear that our organizing efforts are paying off. Young people are stronger than ever.

Youth organizers in the Alliance Network have continued using that strength to defend our freedoms on the issues of abortion, voting rights, and public safety in states across the nation.  

Here are just a few examples of our network of youth organizers at work: 

Wisconsin Supreme Court Election

Youth organizers from Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT) were on the ground in Wisconsin for the state’s Supreme Court election, where young people and progressives were able to elect a pro-choice champion and flip the court’s ideological make-up. As they stated in a recent op-ed, with the U.S. Supreme Court handing off the legality of abortion and other major issues to the states, “Wisconsin courts are more decisive than ever.” 

Ensuring Democracy is Done Right

Organizers in several states are fighting to protect our fundamental right to vote and expand that right to those who have been historically disenfranchised. Here are just a few examples of the Alliance Network demanding Democracy Done Right:

  • In Illinois, organizers with Chicago Votes helped turn out voters in this year’s critical mayoral race. They’ve also have been hard at work with their ‘Unlock Civics’ initiative, which  breaks down the barriers set up by the legal system to prevent folks from participating in our democracy. Since 2020, Chicago Votes has been advocating for legislation that would restore voting rights to incarcerated people, post-conviction. If passed, this would make Illinois the first state to restore voting rights to people in prison, making it one of just a few places in the US that allow incarcerated citizens to vote. 
  • The Washington Bus is advocating for revolutionary changes to the way we conduct elections, such as removing the driver’s license requirement to register online, expanding the Democracy Vouchers program in campaign public financing, pushing for ranked choice voting, and fighting for Washington State to be the first in the country to enfranchise 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in state races.

Protecting the Fundamental Right to an Abortion

Following the conservative U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade and as the nation awaits a Trump-appointed judge to rule over our access to abortion medication, youth organizers in the Alliance Network have been fighting to protect reproductive freedoms everywhere. A few of these fights:

  • Youth organizers with New Hampshire Youth Movement (NHYM) are playing offense and defense this legislative session, supporting a proposed state constitutional amendment to protect the right to bodily autonomy while also working to defeat bad bills that would enact further abortion bans and restrictions.
  • After successfully turning out youth voters to defeat a historic abortion ban in Kansas, Loud Light is continuing their fight against any further efforts to restrict abortion access.

Protecting Our Generation and Communities

From protecting transgender youth to limiting the unchecked authority of police, young people are demonstrating what it means to take care of our communities and promote true public safety. Here’s how our Network is doing just that on a local and state level:

  • The Virginia Student Power Network (VSPN) is opposing legislation that would prevent transgender athletes in schools from participating in sports based on gender identity, organizing against legislation that would increase law enforcement presences in schools, and is working to shut down a bill that would allow police to stop drivers for things like a burned out light on their license plate or driving with a brake light out, creating more dangerous opportunities for law enforcement officers to interact with drivers. The organization’s members are also supporting a bill that would offer a pathway for those incarcerated with marijuana-related crimes to be resentenced or have their sentences vacated.
  • Youth organizers with Forward Montana are fighting several anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ bills this legislative session, including SB 99, which would prohibit gender-affirming medical care for minors and prevent public employees from supporting a minor’s social transition if passed. Back in January, Forward Montana gathered volunteers who made over 300 calls and sent nearly 1,000 texts urging Montanans to voice their opposition to this bill and other anti-trans legislation.
  • Engage Miami was in Tallahassee last week to participate in #DadeDays—their opportunity to bring the needs of young people directly to decision-makers. They’re attending hearings, speaking with legislators, and working with partners to fight for many things including the protection of trans and queer kids.

Young people, particularly Black, Indigenous, and youth of color, serve as the moral compass of our nation. As legislatures continue their work and elections ramp up, our Alliance Network will continue paving the way for our generation to hold true power and enact real changes. We’re fighting for a better future—by young people, for all people.

If you are interested in speaking with leaders from the Alliance for Youth Action Network, please reach out to Carmel Pryor, Vice President of Communications and Engagement: