At YVote, we looove to partner with other orgs to build their capacity and commitment to voting and civic engagement. Here are some highlights of our recent and upcoming partnerships:
There’s no better way to celebrate Martin Luther King Week than with voter motivation and mobilization workshops, as MLK deeply understood the power of the ballot, as articulated so memorably in his iconic Give Us The Ballot speech, which we opened our workshop with for the fantastic youth of Global Kids.
And there’s no more fun way to learn facts about voting–facts that can help youth understand that the right to vote has always been a fight to vote, and a fight they want to win–than through a good Kahoot. Amazing how excited youth can get about learning fun facts like when the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18, and how many states introduced voting suppression legislation than when competing in a Kahoot
Fully fired up, some of our YVote peer facilitators introduced Global Kids to YVote–and why vote–and how and why to pre-register their peers:
Of course it doesn’t become real until it’s applied. Before heading out to the mean streets of NYC (and they can indeed be quite mean when you’re trying to get people’s attention…), we engaged in roleplays. It’s more challenging than you might think, as came out in our debrief:
Next up was a critical ingredient in ALL movement building and activism: sign making
And out we went, splitting up to test out our strategies in three places: the subway, the park, and Baruch College. Would you have been able to resist us?
We all learned a lot
It was an exhilarating day! And there will be many, many more to come throughout the spring
Raise the Age Coalition
At YVote, we engage youth in voting by engaging them around the issues they are most passionate about. For many, that’s criminal justice. As such, we are huge proponents of the Raise the Age Coalition. And on Jan 29, we headed to Albany in the wee hours (rewarded by a spectacular sunrise) to advocate for VERY sensible concerns with the State Assembly and State Senate. Thank goodness, in 2017 New York passed Raise The Age law, effectively ending the practice of automatically charging 16- and 17-year-olds as adults (we were one of only two states in the country that did that) but much more is needed to provide even basic human rights. Our asks/demands:
- It is (past) time to stop arresting and prosecuting children under age 12.
- It is (past) time to strengthen and expand protections for court involved youth up to age 25.
- It is (past) time to END adult incarceration of teenagers.
- And it is (past) time to end solitary confinement for teenagers in adolescent offender facilities.
The day was a rich mix of experience, from meeting with a number of Senators and Assembly Members (and their awesome aides)
to rallying on the Million Dollar Stairs
to getting a personalized tour of the State Senate Chamber, courtesy of Senator Velmanette Montgomery
The day’s events provided a great tie-in to “why vote” and the importance of registering (and pre-registering) and turning out to hold elected officials accountable for enacting this platform. We’re confident these are young people who WILL vote.
Oh and yes, we made some time for photo opps as well.
YVote is honored to be running the Cadette Advocacy track of the Girl Scouts’ first GIRL–(Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ Guide to Taking Action Seminar series for 35 dynamic middle school girls. This is enabling us to take our near peer leadership model to a new level and start pipelining earlier by working with 6th-8th graders. No surprise: these tweens are very passionate about making their communities better and how they can play a role in being change agents. We’re honored to help them build skills and knowledge over the course of five weeks focusing on Voting, Mapping Community Needs and Assets, Advocacy 101, and Organizing, Direct Action, and Base-building culminating in the creation of advocacy projects.
This five week institute is on Saturday so you know we’ve got to make it full of fun as well as full of learning. And we do:
Our brilliant Lead Facilitator Melody made the link between our interactive exercise having the Girl Scout Cadettes reflect on rules and which ones they’d like to change, and the importance of advocacy, in creating change
Do YOU know the difference between Community Service, Activism, and Advocacy? Our Cadettes do know and you will now too. They rotated through stations, writing down and discussing their thoughts about each
They GOT it, as the demonstrated in the debrief