Youth leaders have been instrumental in leading progressive movements throughout American history. During the Civil Rights Movement, young people played a pivotal role in ending segregation through nonviolent sit-ins and walk-outs. Youth organizers in the late sixties were responsible for lowering the voting age to 18. And more recently, Parkland students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School organized one of the largest youth-led protests to date, mobilizing over 1.2 million people for the March for Our Lives protest.
Young people are still using their collective power to lead change-making movements. Our series – Following Their Lead: Youth in Action – spotlights youth-led advocacy groups across the country who are creating positive change on critical social and political issues.
Young people are experts on their lives and the change they want to see in the world; they also bear the consequences of today’s decision-making. Their voices are powerful and should be heard. The youth voice needs to be at the decision-making table for all issues. Their help is essential for an inclusive and responsive democracy.
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Youth Rise Texas
Historically, Black, Latinx and young voters have had the smallest turnout rates in U.S. elections. So, leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, Youth Rise Texas organized a voter mobilization event for young people and minorities in east Austin.
Youth Rise Texas is an Austin-based nonprofit comprised of young leaders directly impacted by incarceration and deportation. For more on how this organization works to create inclusive and compassionate communities, go to youthrisetx.org.
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