The Equal Voice Youth Empowerment Project is a nationwide effort to build on the Equal Voice for America's Families Campaign, in which 30,000 people came together to create the Equal Voice for America's Families Platform to advance family-friendly policies. Developed by Marguerite Casey Foundation and Active Voice, in partnership with dozens of community organizations across the nation, young people (age 12-22) around the country are identifying, and tackling the issues that mean the most to them. Supported by a host of activities and resources-including the documentary Maria Full of Hope: An Equal Voice Story, discussion materials, strategic community events, and leadership exercises-the Equal Voice Youth Empowerment Project seeks to:


• Lift up young voices by providing a platform to express concerns, opinions and hopes around issues most relevant to them.

•  Provide young leaders and youth-focused organizations with tools and resources that enable them to better engage and inspire young people.

•  Inspire young people to join community organizations that are addressing systemic community challenges.

•  Increase civic participation and voter registration among young people.

•  Build coalitions between organizations devoted to empowering youth and/or sparking more youth involvement in their programs.


The Need

Young people have been at the forefront of human rights movements in the United States for the past 50 years, from the Civil Rights Movement, which began in the 1950s, to the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 70s, the gay rights movement, the environmental movement and, most recently, the movement for economic justice. With their hope, determination and resilience, young people play an essential role in advancing social change.

Some of our nation's most pressing social issues- such as immigration, education, criminal justice and community violence - directly affect young people, yet there are few opportunities for them to voice their concerns and propose solutions. Young people, like so many Americans, are feeling frustration and anger about these tough economic times: this campaign is designed to help youth harness that energy and participate in the democratic process, integrating their voices into community change efforts nationwide.

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