Vote for Equity with YES! for Equity

The Partnership for Southern Equity’s ‘Vote for Equity’ is a movement to educate and support Black and historically disinvested communities of color to cast their vote during national, state and local elections, not simply along party lines, but to be proactive in getting their voices heard about the equity issues and policy changes that impact their lives the most. YES! for Equity launched the first Vote for Equity Community Activation Mini-Grants with support from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. PSE received 10 applications from youth-led or youth-serving nonprofit organizations, interested in strengthening our democracy in the lead-up to the 2022 elections. PSE awarded seven eligible nonprofits with mini-grants for $5,000.00 to support Metro Atlanta youth leaders to educate their communities about the voting process, new Georgia voting laws, and the social and policy issues that matter to them.

Youth leaders ages 14-24 were charged with planning and facilitating at least one in-person and one virtual community activation event that engaged at least 100 youth (ages 18-24) and adults in their communities. Community activation activities were required to take place between September and Election Day on November 8th. The collective youth-led grantee efforts below yielded # youth utilizing their power to engage over 140 in the Metro Atlanta Area.

21st Century Leaders

73 youth leaders civically engaged more than 760 youth and community members.

21st Century Leaders challenged four (4) of their nineteen (19) school and community-based 21 Clubs to initiate Vote for Equity democracy strengthening leading up to the November 8th election. 21 Clubs at Midtown High School, Clarkston High School, DeKalb Early College Academy, and Innovation Academy organized initiatives and events to register youth and adults in underrepresented communities to vote and lift their voices. Seventy-three (73) active high school students led, planned, and executed six (6) Vote for Equity projects and initiatives that spanned across DeKalb County and Fulton County, including one of the most diverse areas in the state, Clarkston, GA. More than 760 young people ages 15-18 and some community members ages 19-60 were engaged. Ninety-five percent (95%) of the population served were high school students, including over ninety (90) high school students getting registered to vote and over 400 students engaged In other voter education and equity awareness engagement events. SEE GET OUT THE VOTE VIDEO FOR CLARKSTON HERE.

COR Inc.

20 youth leaders civically activated 20 High School Seniors as registered voters and engaged over 1,000 community members.

COR Inc. engaged 20 youth leaders that conducted Vote For Equity community engagement events that covered the zipcodes of 30315 and 30316 and raised awareness about the dates and deadlines for voting, the importance of showing up to vote, and utilizing individual voices to strengthen communities. Youth leaders were comprised of Carver High School students ranging in age from 15-18 and registered Seniors 18 and 19 years old during school lunch periods. COR youth leaders, alongside representatives from New Georgia Project, staffed a table at the East Atlanta Strut festival on Saturday, September 24th that was attended by over 10,000 people. Youth had an opportunity to register new voters, distribute materials about polling dates and times, provided food and drinks, and share information about health equity and social issues important to them.

Multi-Agency Alliance for Children, Inc. (MAAC)

7 youth leaders civically engaged more than 140 youth and community members.

MAAC youth leaders launched a Drop the Mic campaign and hosted 6 in-person and virtual community engagement events to get youth and families they serve to exercise their right to use their voice civically. Youth-led Drop The Mic events invited and engaged members of the foster care community in voter activities where they received voter engagement education on who is in office, elected officials’ political platforms, and what they plan to do when they get in office. They also conducted a survey on voting that was distributed to 300 people and they received 140 responses. This survey assessed voting practices and awareness of the people MAAC and its partners serve. Data gathered will help inform how MAAC can support youth-led civic engagement efforts in the future.

Shape the Culture

More than 500 AUC Students engaged in youth-led GOTV community activation activities.

Shape the Culture used the grant funds to educate young voters on the importance of their vote and voice. They do this by creating a documentary that explores black voter suppression within the South and informs young black voters of the significant contributions of their ancestors, inspiring them to use their power to make a difference through their votes. Young leaders at Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, and Howard University discuss the issues of importance for millennials. Seasoned leaders – Barry McNealy of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Tharon Johnson – discuss historical insight into past and present voter suppression tactics in Birmingham, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia. SEE DOCUMENTARY HERE.

On November 7, 2022, Shape the Culture partnered with Woke Vote to host a get-out-the-vote block party and rally on the campus of Morehouse College. Over 500 Atlanta University College students were encouraged to amplify their voices through their votes in the November 2022 election. The rally and block party included a DJ, live performances, voter registration opportunities, swag, food trucks, 360 photo booth, inspirational speeches from leaders on the local, state and national levels.

Ubuntu Community Catalyst, Inc. Live Well South Fulton Youth Council (LWSFYC)

8 youth leaders civically engaged more than 300 youth and community members.

The LWSFYC Vote for Equity Project strengthened democracy by educating and empowering individuals in the SW Atlanta community to fully participate in the decision-making of the government by exercising their right to vote. On October, 8, 2022, the LWSFYC hosted a voter registration and voter education rally at the Gardens Camp Creek Apartment Homes Complex. This was their first community engagement event as a youth team. They reported to have increased their leadership, event planning and communication skills. They registered 7 individuals to vote and two hundred residents attended rally activities. Youth leaders also kicked off Vote for Equity social media campaign that had over 100 views.

Usher’s New Look (UNL)

37 youth leaders led community engagement events touching over 130K people.

Usher’s New Look youth team led and participated in text banking parties resulting in 137,489 texts to registered voters to encourage them to participate in the mid-term elections. During the October 27th event, 20 college students from the UNL program connected via Zoom. The event on November 3rd was held in-person at Slim & Husky’s Pizza and was attended by 12 high school seniors and 5 college students. Of the 36 participants, 36 of the youth leaders were Black, 1 student identified as both Black and Latino, and 1 student was Latino.

VOX Teen Communications, Inc.

24 youth-led civic actions making over 800 youth impressions and written articles that were distributed to 30,000 students across 300 schools to strengthen democracy.

Vox youth team hosted two in-person events. At our community dialogue, all 17 youth attendees participated in content creation, including a facilitated conversation, podcast, video and collages representing their feelings about politics in the state of Georgia. For Vox’s digital community activation, Vox published a variety of digital content for their VOX Investigates (VI) Election 2022 project. This included three written pieces for, one written piece published in Vox’s September print edition, one podcast, two videos and two pieces of content specifically for Instagram.

Sample of Vox Youth-Led Digital content created:

Rising to the Occasion: How Midtown High Votes is Pushing Youth to Polls

VOX Investigates: Should the Legal Voting Age Be Changed?

If You Could Talk to Any Political Candidate, What Would You Say?

VOX Investigates: How To Contact Your Elected Officials

Voter Registration Facts

Did You Know? Voter Registration Facts

The Walker-Warnock Georgia Senate Debate Had More Losers Than Winners [opinion]

The Future of Our Democracy: Q&A with Youth Voter Movement Co-founder Julie Dunkle

Looking Beyond Our Government: Why Voting Won’t Save Us