2023 Democracy Camp

Meet our 2023 Democracy Campers!

Aarmeen Khan
The Brooklyn Latin School
"I want to take a stance for the government officials who would want the choices that are the best for me and others like me. I want to discuss with peers my age about their stance on democracy today and how it's changed from what we've imagined it to be."
Adedoyin Abimbola
The Brooklyn Latin School
"I believe the biggest threats to democracy today are voter fraud, lack of education regarding our voting system, and racist and anti-immigrant policies."
Amanda Chen
Millennium High School
"Voting starts with young people realizing that we have to use our voices to vocalize our opinions and creating solutions to encourage people to take action. I feel as if our democracy isn't as strong and we need to rebuild it."
Amelia Poor
The Beacon School
"I want to not only learn more about how I can help others, but meet new people who share my interests such as politics and activism. I cannot wait to vote, because it is something almost anyone can do to make a change!"
Amy Beloume
Bronx High School of Science
"By joining [Democracy Camp], I will gain an even better insight into the state of democracy, the challenges that many different groups are facing currently, and what I can do to potentially alleviate these issues/challenges."
Ananna Das
Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School
"As James Baldwin once proclaimed, "I love America, but I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually," it is impossible to not reflect upon the conditions and issues that heave from our country. As someone part of multiple groups YVote aims to create change for, I felt the inevitable urge to be apart of this community as well."
Andre Barnett
Marble Hill High School of International Studies
"I think that biggest issue is corruption, that even though things are said to be equal, in many instance it isn’t."
Angelique Annan
"I believe that currently more than ever, democracy is in grave danger. Our voices are not being heard while rights are being taken away one at a time."
Angello Manzanares
"I believe that democracy has changed much over the year and have worsened. I believe that it is no longer the way it used to be in the past which is why I would like to take part in the discussion of the political ideologies."
Ariba Rafi
John Dewey High School
"Due to the widening gap between the wealthy and the poor, power is beginning to concentrate in the hands of the few, which is the last thing we want in a proper democracy."
Arjun Agostinho
Beacon High School
"It is imperative that individuals educate themselves around their fundamental right to vote and the policies of those campaigning, remain aware of and combat disinformation, and lastly, hold politicians accountable for their actions."
Barnaby Oliver Williams
Institute for Collaborative Education
"In a country where every election is met on both sides first with everything that was unjust and unrepresentative about it, those concerns and conspiracies are what's most troubling about democracy."
Brenda Belen
Forest Hills High School
"I am interested in how today's democratic system is attempting to resolve social issues and what can be done to become more involved in that process."
Charibel Ramirez
The Beacon School
"The state of democracy today is becoming very poor and unstable and one of the causes/threats seems to be a disconnection from public opinion."
Chisom Eke
The Beacon School
"I am concerned about our future generations and what their society will be like. I aim to create a society free of prejudice and inequality."
Clementine McCoy
Grace Church School
"As social media begins to infiltrate every aspect of life, the spread of misinformation is rampant. As misinformation spreads, people become extremely biased and divided."
Dawood Hashmi
John Dewey High School
"One of the biggest threats is the growing disillusionment and lack of trust in democratic institutions among the general public, especially among young people."
Eashaan Singh
Bronx Science
"I think the biggest threat is influence spending in politics by big companies. When it comes to even the highest offices of the United States government, a candidate will not solve the problems their donors do not want them too."
Ebony Stapleton
Francis Lewis High School
"By dividing ourselves into different political groups like tribalism and extremism, we contradict the sense of unity by placing labels on ourselves based off of the loyalty we have for our government."
Emily Gamble
Midwood High School
"There is a lack of reliable and unbiased resources in the mainstream media and people are often left uninformed and only with a sense of duty to vote that's been pushed on them from a young age."
Emily Munoz
Harry S. Truman High School
"The greatest problem facing society is a lack of unity. No one person has all the answers to the issues we face, yet through unity we don't have to face it alone. Collaboration is not just important but rather integral to maintaining democracy."
Emmanuel Annan Jr.
Brooklyn College Academy
"The state of democracy is in more peril now today more than ever... We face more social and environmental issues, however without the right people in charge, we will not see any change."
Ezra Holzman
Millennium Brooklyn High School
"Not enough people are voting, and in order for a democracy to work, people need to use their voices and vote. Voter discrimination also plays out here, as many people are kept from voting and it is not accessible to them."
Fariha Tahia
Long Island City High School
"In my opinion voting is very important for shaping a better society. I anticipate to vote after I turn 18 because the person that is gonna get elected will affect me as well."
Francisca Owusu
High School for Health Professions and Human Services
"I believe that there are numerous issues that democracy is currently dealing with, such as political polarization, misinformation, and the impact of money on politics."
Heba Elkouraichi
Yonkers High School
"The biggest threat to democracy today is the lack of urgency stemming from bi-partisan politics and the inability of the government to come to compromises that benefit the people and create meaningful change."
Jaiydalyn Santos
Beacon High School
"Persistent socioeconomic inequalities, including income disparities and limited access to resources and opportunities, can undermine the inclusivity of democratic systems."
Jakha Cham
Bronx Lab School
"Over the years, the "democracy" of this country has not helped the situations of inhabitants of this country. I feel that there is a lot of conversation happening but no follow-through."
Jeshua Jimenez
Fordham High School for the Arts
"Our governmental system is full of corruption left and right and hearing from advocates all over this wonderful city could actually make a change. As this generation and I rise into these positions, new ideas are coming through where change is actually starting to happen."
Kelechi Onyia
High School for Health Professions and Human Services
"Since I am a teenager of this generation, I feel like I must take interest in fixing today’s democracy and government in general. Later on in life, when I’m older with more knowledge, I wish to have an actual voice in government."
Manuella d’Almeida
Park East High School
"Over the years I've learned about the importance of voting and the difference each and every single vote makes; voting should be taken more seriously and it goes beyond just the Presidential election."
Meidjina Adonis
New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities
"The biggest threat is that when it comes to voting, it’s usually party-wise. Everything seems to be so extreme and instead of choosing what’s best for the country, things seem to be more about whether you are a republican or a democrat."
Muzahidul Fahim
Quran Academy For Young Scholars
"I support and cherish democracy in that it provides everyone an equal voice to be heard in political issues and matters. However one major issue in our democracy even today is the lack of, or misrepresentation, of certain communities and populations."
Nafi Abubakar
Democracy Prep Charter High School
"I believe that we have the power to make a difference. By being informed, engaged citizens, we can work to protect and strengthen our democracy for generations to come."
Natalhia Dauphin
Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
"In recent years around the world, there has been a rise in authoritarianism and the erosion of democratic norms and institutions... These governments have been accused of restricting freedom of speech, limiting the independence of the judiciary, and suppressing political opposition."
Nehemie Dabire
Brooklyn Technical High School
"I feel that democracy cannot be taken for granted, and must be a continual effort by the American people to maintain it; that creeping authoritarianism and illiberalism, disguised as democracy, is the most pressing threat to a vibrant democracy."
Nino Shalamberidze
Millennium Brooklyn High School
"To ensure a democracy where the society acts civil and the government prioritizes the best interests of the people, various concepts must be considered. For instance, media literacy should be endorsed."
Nya Diop
Beacon High School
"There is a big lack of representation.That makes minority voices less heard and less talked about. The state democracy has done some good things but I feel as though it's done more harm than good."
Phoebe Buckwalter
Stuyvesant High School
"As someone who is nearly of voting age, it can be daunting to think about how I will find a way to meaningfully participate in American democracy, and how I will make informed decisions."
Raziya Palmer
Success Academy High School Of The Liberal Arts
"I believe that as it stands today, our democracy is falling apart. Every year less and less people (more specifically young adults) chose to vote. This is leading to the demise of American Democracy."
Reandra Romain
Manhattan Village Academy
"Close-mindedness and the inability to be open to differing points of view regarding an issue are detrimental to the very concept of democracy and what it means in our society."
Ruby Hyland
Millennium Brooklyn High School
"We need to shift to caring more about the well-being of our people, instead of profit. This is important regarding democracy because democracy should not be impacted by how much money one has."
Saleisha Jean-Charles
Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice
"I love the idea of voting because it makes us (the people) have a voice on who should rule and it makes us have the power in our hand."
Samari Beauford
Beacon High School
"The state of democracy today faces significant challenges, including erosion of public trust, increasing polarization, the spread of disinformation, rising populism, democratic backsliding, inequality, and global authoritarianism."
Sarah Otmani
Beacon High School
"Democratic processes have been undermined by growing divides, false information, and the spread of misinformation over social media. Democratic institutions' inclusivity and effectiveness are also seriously threatened by economic inequalities, political ignorance, and discriminatory actions."
Savannah Samuels
St. Vincent Ferrer High School
"I would describe myself as an aspiring activist because I believe that I want to enact certain things to change our community."
Shuvarthee Barua
Townsend Harris High School
"I feel as if democracy today is extremely polarized, which threatens the stability of our democracy. I perceive one of the biggest threats of democracy to be the difference in public opinion and policy."
Shyann Rampaul
Stuyvesant High School
"Compared to democracy in society a decade ago, we as a whole, have definitely created a change that is extremely impactful. The biggest threat to democracy today still remains the unfair advantages to those of minority groups."
Waemary Waeyakoh
Beacon High School
"The biggest threats to our democracy include voter suppression. In marginalized communities, voting is already difficult, so further restrictions are threatening the purpose our democracy is supposed to serve."
Zaima de los Santos
Fordham High School for the Arts
"I think that the democracy that exists in the United States is not fair, they do not listen to the voice of the citizens, only those of the important people and that is not right."
Zoe Gupton
The Young Women's Leadership School of Queens
"People need to become educated in the laws and who they're voting for in order to make a just vote. I do plan to vote because it influences the country that I live in. Before I vote, I want to make sure that I am knowledgeable."

2023 Democracy Camp Leaders

Faith Vieira
"I'm looking forward to seeing the participants' passion and creativity in action as they explore and tackle the challenges of democracy.”
Helena Gelman - Intern
Trinity College Dublin
"In our world of increasing polarization and deadlock, democratic participation can sometimes feel a little hopeless to young people. I hope to contribute a bit of my conviction that, with community-level participation, a more perfect democracy is always possible, and I am looking forward to learning from this year's cohort."
Jolina Jimenez
The Ohio State University
“Young people aren’t the future — we’re the present”
Kenisha Mahajan
Yale University
"The most powerful tools we have to build our democracy are our voices—use them."
Ma-Sadio Faye
University at Albany
"Hi! My name is Ma-Sadio but I go by Macy. One thing I’m looking forward to this year for Democracy Camp is hearing everyone’s thoughts and opinions on the state of democracy, and what they think needs to be done about it. I look forward to hearing this every year because answers can change in response to current events!"
Mukilan Muthukumar
Hunter College High School
"Last year, I had the honor of facilitating the inaugural Democracy Camp and I hope this year's version will be even more powerful. I look forward to meeting the new group, hearing about their diverse experiences, hosting productive discussions, and seeing the positive change they will inevitably bring to our democracy."
Sonja Aibel
Brooklyn Technical High School
"As a participant in YVote's inaugural democracy camp last summer, I gained a new understanding of what democracy means to my community and the connections between history and current democracy-related issues. I am looking forward to sharing this with the 2023 cohort this summer and learning from the group's varied experiences as well."