by Amanda Wake, Forward Together Youth Organizing Manager
It’s safe to say that almost everyone is going to feel the outcomes of the election on Today. Whether it’s personal, because of a local school board election, a state proposition or the Presidential run off, we all have something at stake. And even though they aren’t old enough to vote, youth may feel it the most. But their age isn’t keeping young people from getting involved in the election and making sure that their voice is being heard.
Wednesday, October 31st in Oakland California, Advocates for Youth CAMI organization, Forward Together took to the streets for Trick or Vote! Prepared with Get Out The Vote materials, tally sheets, signs and costumes they called on their community to Vote for Youth this election. Trick or Vote is a fun way to engage youth in the elections and practice talking about the issues that they care about with adults in their city.
Another way to engage youth is through the Strong Families Vote for Us picture frames where you can put pictures of your friends and family in an electronic frame and share it online. The network of Strong Families members are using these frames to remind folks that we are not just voting for policies and politicians, we are voting for our families, friends and our community. So put your picture in the Vote for Us frame and ask your community to get to the polls on Tuesday.
If you are looking for a way to start the conversation around civic engagement and the elections with youth in your organization, classroom or home, check out the Strong Families Youth Vote for Us Guide to Civic Engagement. To access it click here and then click on “Youth Guide.”This guide outlines ways that young people and folks who cannot vote can be involved this electoral season. There’s also a translated Spanish guide available.
Additionally Forward Together engaged local, cultural artists to create images that boost morale and support folks in being civically engaged. Check them out, find the one that speaks to how you feel about the elections and share it on your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or blog.
When it comes to the elections unfortunately youth don’t get a lot of attention because they aren’t always the ones who are filling out ballots at the polls or donating to campaigns, but their voice still matters. Adults and youth need to make civic engagement accessible, we need to train future voters and we need to make sure that youth aren’t silenced in the process.