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Your Monday night plans and a Gen Z push to distribute condoms on college campuses
Your Monday night plans
Wondering what Gen Z representation could look like at the federal level? Tonight at 7pm, I’ll be chatting with Democratic candidate for Congress in Florida’s 10th congressional district Maxwell Frost, Eve Levenson of YouthinGov, a coalition of more than 100 youth-led and serving civic focused organizations, and Sam Weinberg of Path to Progress, one of the organizations in the coalition.
If elected in November, Maxwell could become one of the first Gen Z members of Congress.
Tonight we’ll talk about Maxwell’s goals for Gen Z representation in Congress and the ways organizers like Eve and Sam plan to work with him and others like him to create a federal government more reflective of Gen Z and its values.
Tune in at 7pm on Instagram Live: https://www.instagram.com/path2progress/?hl=en
Voters of Tomorrow to give out thousands of condoms to college students in response to talk of contraception restrictions
Voters of Tomorrow will distribute thousands of condoms to college students in Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas, as the Gen Z led voter engagement and education organization looks to push back against contraception restrictions that could disproportionately impact young Americans.
In September, Voters Of Tomorrow tested the idea for the program – which it’s calling ‘Project F*ck Fascism’ – with a condom distribution at University of Texas at Austin, where the group preemptively warned against the type of restrictions now being threatened on campuses like University of Idaho. In addition to giving out condoms, Voters Of Tomorrow is distributing brochures with information about abortion access, sex education, and voter registration with its official launch.
ICYMI, the general counsel at University of Idaho sent employees a memo last month warning that promoting abortion resources or birth control is against state law, the Idaho Capital Sun reported. Though condoms can be distributed for STD prevention, they cannot be given as a measure of birth control.
The restrictions around on-campus access to contraception come after the Idaho Legislature last year passed a law prohibiting the use of public funds for abortion, and as the country acclimates to its post-Roe reality (Idaho’s post-Roe trigger law banning abortion went into effect August 25).
The instance at the University of Idaho has served as a warning sign, signaling what could become commonplace on college campuses in a post-Roe America.
Asked why Voters of Tomorrow is focused on GA, AL, VA, TN, FL, and TX, Jack Lobel, spokesperson for the group said:
"These states are ones where we fear far-right anti-contraception measures, similar to those we saw put in place at the University of Idaho, could soon be implemented. We must take immediate action there in particular, which is why it was so important that we already had the infrastructure in place to launch our operation. This includes chapters with on-the-ground organizers ready to distribute condoms beginning this week."
Voters of Tomorrow plans to host its next condom distribution on Tuesday at Georgia State University.
“Students loved our pilot event in Austin, and it’s clear that we need immediate action at the local level across the country to fight for reproductive rights,” Maya Mackey, Southeast Regional Organizing Director for Voters of Tomorrow, said in a statement Friday.
“Access to education and resources to prevent pregnancy is crucial even as we work towards a full restoration of bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. Young people like me will use our voices and votes to demand our rights are fully protected.”
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A must listen
If you haven't listened yet, Jon Favreau of Crooked Media spoke with nine Gen Z voters in Orange County, California for an episode of his podcast ‘The Wilderness’ earlier this month. He also chatted with NextGen America’s Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, Harvard Kennedy School pollster and author of ‘FIGHT’ John Della Volpe, and Data for Progress’ Evangel Penumaka about the trends they’re seeing with young voters this cycle.
Check it out here: https://crooked.com/podcast/chapter-4-gen-z-voters-in-orange-county/
Spoiler alert: In the episode, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez says she disagrees with the claim that young people are politically apathetic.
“People think of young people as apathetic, and I don’t find that at all. Especially in Gen Z, you find a generation that’s very tuned in, that cares a lot about the future of the country, that’s participating, whether it’s in protests or voting at higher rates than we’ve seen in a long time in American history,” she said.
Favreau in the episode says that to get through to Gen Z voters, it requires going through the media. The group discusses the role that media (either social media or traditional news) can play in reaching young voters with civic information and helping to assuage youth voter disillusionment — so I checked in with Crooked Media’s political director, Shaniqua McClendon to see how their operation, Vote Save America, is working to connect with and empower young voters this cycle.
“We have to remember that young voters showed up in historic numbers in the last two elections, so we shouldn’t reduce their displeasure with what’s going on to apathy. We just have to continue making an effort to reach them through programs like Vote Save America, which is growing its efforts to reach young voters. This year we launched Gen Zave America, where we’re training young organizers to mobilize young voters,” McClendon said.
“We have nearly 100 Gen Z organizers who are working to mobilize young voters this year. They’ve developed creative social media content to reach young people about the election, and meeting these voters where they are.”
She added that the organizers are being trained on relational organizing as well.
Ring ring 📱
Calling all first time voters, Alliance for Youth Action wants to hear from you.
Last week, Alliance for Youth Action, the national network of grassroots youth-focused civic organizations, launched “Democracy Debut,” an initiative to gather stories about Americans’ experiences voting for the first time.
About 8.3 million young people have turned 18 since the 2020 general election, according to an estimate from the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts (CIRCLE), including nearly 3.8 million youth of color.
“Democracy Debut is about hearing from the nation’s next generation of voters who will be a decisive electoral force this November and will again play a crucial role in saving our democracy and defeating candidates that threaten our future of free and fair elections,” said Alliance for Youth Action’s Executive Director Dakota Hall.
“And it is local youth organizers in the Alliance Network who are crucial in protecting first-time voters’ democracy debut. Youth organizers from coast to coast will continue to fight voter suppression in their states and for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and youth of color to have access to the ballot box in their states. However, electeds must not take this voting bloc for granted and work for their support this November by centering the demands of young people.”
Youth vote in the news 🗞
Biden gave young voters a win on student debt, but abortion tops midterm motivations, Elena Moore for NPR, Oct 17
Voter Registration Isn’t Enough, Youth Organizations Say, Rainesford Stauffer for Teen Vogue, Oct 13
Is it apathy or anxiety? What’s keeping some young Californians from voting, Priscella Vega for the Los Angeles Times, Oct 10
And Gen Z’s activism around the world 🌍
“No going back:” Gen Z at the forefront of protests in Iran, Ivana Saric for Axios, Oct 17