Generation Next: Looking Forward to 2012
“We can turn our back on the future, or we can invest in the next generation of leaders who are poised to change the world. It’s up to us.” – Biko
2011 was a tranformative year for us.
We expanded, we struggled, we grew up together and we thrived. With your love and support, 2012 is set to be a banner year for the League to connect with our generation on an unprecedented level.
On the Eve of 2012
As 2012 approaches, we are on the path to reach our most ambitious goals to date. The League’s 2012 field program consists of an innovative hybrid of online and offline organizing, dedicated to reaching young voters in cities nationwide.
The League of Young Voters works where we live: communities most often defined as low-income communities and communities of color. We work with, train and empower dynamic young leaders every day.
Our innovative training programs teach tenacious young people on-the-ground leadership skills, so that they can become proactive visionaries in their communities.
Why Growing Deep Roots Matters
What sets us apart from other organizations is that we aren’t the type of organization to parachute in during an election and close up shop immediately after. That’s why, in 2010, we decided to expand, push the organization and struggle to grow in the communities that needed us.
Hard Work Pays Off
Now, we are proud to say that we have full-time programs in Columbus and Houston, a burgeoning arts-oriented program in Atlanta, and a dedicated grassroots organization in San Francisco.
As 2011 winds down, we reflect on the moments that tested us and those that reminded us of what we’re capable of achieving. Thanks for believing in us.
Ohio League Presses Forward
In Columbus, we turned out 1,900 voters to help defeat Issue #2 and protect workers’ rights.
Milwaukee youth united to march for economic and social justice. They occupied the bridge on 7th and North Avenue along with a diverse crowd of activists on November 17th.
Life-Long Voters Campaign Hits the Streets
In Texas, the Life-Long Voters training campaign was launched by 25 energetic, young organizers targeting 1,000 new voters in the Houston area for the local municipal election.
Meet the Candidates: Houston Edition
The Texas League and HYPE provided the opportunity for voters to be face-to-face with the mayoral candidates just days before the election by hosting a mixer at the Downtown Aquarium.
We trained 16,000 voters on Ranked Choice Voting prior to Portland’s first mayoral election in 88 years. 50 volunteers testified at legislative hearings and organized campaigns against attacks on reproductive rights, anti-bullying laws and more. Our sister 501(c)4 organization, saved same-day voter registration.
In April, Powershift 2011 brought thousands of young people together to work for a better climate future for our country. League organizers participated as facilitators, leading groups of young people in an intensive organizing training.
[Video] CJ & Jermaine Dupri Speak Out
CJ, our Deputy Director, teamed up with Rock the Vote and Jermaine Dupri to hit up Atlanta high schools to talk about what it means to stand up for your right to vote.
Girls Day at City Hall
The Wisconsin League partnered with City Hall and Alderwoman Milele Coggs to give a few young women the opportunity to come and learn about local government in Milwaukee. Everyone who participated walked away with a piece of positive empowerment to make changes in their lives.
[Video] #BarackTalk: The League Does the State of the Union
#BarackTalk reached more than 10,000 viewers, who tweeted questions to our panel. #BarackTalk became a trending topic on Twitter in both DC and New Orleans, and the live-stream was featured on the front page of UStream.
From #BarackTalk to #TalkToBarack
From President Obama’s Twitter Townhall: “We are the most powerful and connected generation in American history. We can show our government the power, and the priority, of our united voices.” – Biko
Since its wildly successful inception during #BarackTalk, we’ve grown YoungVoterLive.com as a platform for live chats with varied personalities in the world of hip-hop, politics and social media. The live stream has featured Russell Simmons, Paradise Gray, Jasiri X, Rashad Robinson, Chloe Hilliard and many more influential role models.
99Problems is a portal for empowerment and a spot to share powerful, provocative ideas that can go viral. With more than 250,000 annual visitors, our blog is an asset that no other non-profit has: a pipeline for daily communication on everything from hip-hop to politics to pop culture.
The League is tenacious. So, when Voter ID laws passed and mandated a modern-day poll tax, we introduced #gotID, a program focused on getting young people IDs. Since the #gotID launch, we’ve helped 2,000 Milwaukee youth get IDs and have educated thousands more on its implications.
Department of Justice Halts Voter ID Law
After Texas passed a Voter ID law that disenfranchised young voters by banning student IDs, we issued a joint letter to the DOJ to reject it, along with the NAACP. After receiving more than 450 letters from voters, the DOJ halted the law until the state could prove that it doesn’t threaten the right to vote.
Breaking Barriers with Online Organizing
Our digital team is working to establish the League as an influential voice in the progressive blogosphere as well as within young, urban communities. We’ve broadened our social media reach to include Tumblr, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, UStream and Google +.
From Music to Mobile
We pioneered an unparalleled texting program that we use year-round as a hotline for questions about Voter ID, general voting information and exclusive giveaways.
“The soul of hip-hop is born in the recording booths, but it lives in the streets.
If we want to rewrite our futures, we must turn our dreams into actions and mobilize. As Ohio counted down to Election Day, we put together #HiTekTalk to provide a platform for young voters to think critically about their roles as advocates.” – Biko Baker
CJ, Atlanta League
“We must march on toward justice and not just wait around until the next reactionary moment. Let us use tragedy as a catalyst to continue to educate, inspire and… commit civil disobedience. I will never stop thinking about Troy Davis, Sean Bell… and the judicial system that failed them. Let us not fail them!”
DJ Willie Shakes, Wisconsin League & Sean, Brooklyn League
“Despite these new challenges that face us, The League enters 2012 with the most strategic, unified and purpose-driven staff we’ve ever had. We’re ready. Bring it.” – Sean
Jayme, Wisconsin League
“The sacred covenant of our democracy is that on election day, all Americans have an equal say in shaping their government. We cannot let that right be taken away. The very soul of our nation’s character depends on it” – Jayme
LaShunda, Atlanta League & Sarah and Rachel, Brooklyn League
“The key to winning everything? Teamwork (and maybe an awkward victory dance or two).” – Rachel
[Video] Summer Leadership Cohort Program
The SLC Training program, is an incredible opportunity to open doors for young leaders to grow and make a difference in Wisconsin. This program helps motivated kids learn the skills that they need to build power around the issues that they care most about.
Sunny, San Francisco League
The SF League elevates the combination of fun and politics to an art form by hosting regular bar crawls and parties.
Kwesi, Ohio League
“In 2010, my first year organizing, the majority of the work I responsible for was designed for me and I simply had to go out and make it happen. In 2011, I became an organizer.” – Kwesi
Christina, Texas League
“We can’t play political games with anybody’s access to their right to vote. Been there, marched for that!” – Christina
Biko, Wisconsin League
“The only way that we can start dreaming again is when the everyday citizens believe that their leaders are willing to go to the mat for them.” – Biko
Biko, Executive Director
“My position as a leader of a national youth organization has put me in contact with thousands of young people under the age of 25 working to rebuild their community through the power of their creativity.” – Biko
Wisconsin On Fire
The introduction to our year was the Governor’s repair bill, which just about erased unions in the public sector and brought about drastic cuts to Medicaid and foodshare programs.
Sam Patton, National League
“When I started as an unpaid intern… in 2007, I was lost. I knew there were problems that no one was talking about, but I didn’t know who to turn to. As I met my coworkers… I realized that I was part of a family, and that I wanted to make these amazing people proud.”
Nicola, Maine League
“Damn, it feels good to win.” – Nicola
Oscar, Atlanta League
“This was the first time I ever attended a Powershift convention and trained a group of young high school kids how to be future facilitators. It was very exciting to be in DC doing this kind of work and being a part of an event I didn’t even know existed until I was invited to come out.”
Cierra & Cidney, Wisconsin League
“The League of Young Voters has helped me to become confident, resourceful, a community organizer, and civically-engaged. It has opened doors, and has changed my life forever.” - Cierra
Biko Planking at the White House
This is Our Future
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.