Bard Center for Civic Engagement Hosts Online Talk, “Young People Can Change America: Youth Voting and Political Power,” on September 19
Panelists include David Hogg, founder of Leaders We Deserve and cofounder of March for Our Lives; Maisie Brown, youth program director at the Institute for Democratic Education in America and high school youth civic engagement coordinator at Mississippi Votes; Brianna Cea, executive director and founder of GenVote; and Evan Malbrough, managing organizer at Our Turn and a member of the board of directors at The Andrew Goodman Foundation.
This panel discussion is part of a new collaborative course Student Voting: Power, Politics and Race in the Fight for American Democracy—codeveloped and taught jointly by faculty from Bard College, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Tuskegee University, Prairie View A&M University, and legal experts—that uses the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 and outlawed age-based voter discrimination, as a prism through which to understand the history of voting and disenfranchisement in the United States and the role of college communities in the fight for voting rights.
The class was developed under a broader applied learning research project on voting rights, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, that highlights how academic institutions and their leaders can also serve as important civic actors in promoting and defending democratic principles. The four institutions centrally involved in this course and project offer unique insights into the role of colleges in the fight for voting rights, particularly the fight against discrimination based on race and age. Read more about the project here.
Students taking this course will prepare questions for the panelists. The talk is also open to students and faculty of Bard College, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Tuskegee University, Prairie View A&M University; Andrew Goodman Foundation student ambassadors, who are situated on more than 80 institutions across the country; as well as students and faculty from New College in Florida through a partnership between the Open Society University Network (OSUN) and Alt-New College. Members of the public may also view the talk.
Professor of Political Studies at Bard and Bard’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, Jonathan Becker, who is the project’s principal investigator, said: “We are thrilled to have students engage with such a diverse group of motivated and engaged youth leaders who will be able to link theories discussed in our class on student voting and engagement to contemporary practice. These young leaders disprove myths of disengaged youth and offer hope for a better future.”
Henry E. Frye Distinguished Professor of History at North Carolina A&T State University Dr. Jelani M. Favors said: “College youth have historically played a vital role in shaping and reshaping the political contours of America to be more inclusive and to represent the voices and concerns of all citizens. We are excited to invite some of the nation’s leading youth activists into this critically important and innovative course to help our students understand how we can continue to utilize discourse and dialogue in the ongoing fight to preserve and expand American democracy.”
Executive Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation Rashawn Davis said: “We are excited that our Andrew Goodman Ambassadors — student civic leaders at college campuses across the country — have the opportunity to hear from these impressive speakers, including our very own Board Director, Evan Malbrough. As a former Ambassador himself, Evan became a poll worker and launched the first totally student-operated on-campus polling place at Georgia State University. His experience as an activist and advocate is nothing short of inspirational, and his participation as a speaker is sure to be instructive.”
Associate Professor of History at Tuskegee University Dr. Lisa Bratton said: “Our students are very excited to learn not only about the 26th Amendment and what it means for them as young people, but also Tuskegee’s role in securing voting rights for African American citizens. They will be engaging with young voting rights activists which we hope will influence their own lifelong activism.”
Yael Bromberg, Esq., a constitutional rights attorney, leading legal scholar of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment and lecturer at Rutgers Law School who helped shape the course said: “Brianna, Maisie, Evan, and David are bringing vitality to the promise of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment through their efforts to engage young people into the political process—be it in super-localized efforts in Jackson, Missississippi or Atlanta, Georgia, or in state and federal races and issue campaigns across the nation. Their efforts as democracy practitioners epitomize the lessons that we are exploring through this innovative new course on the historic and contemporary power of youth practitioners in the fight for American democracy.”
Director of the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice at Prairie View A&M University, Melanye Price said: “The belief that students don’t care about and are not impacted by the politics of the spaces just outside their dorms has never been true. Prairie View students and the students at the other colleges have been warriors in the fight for fair access to the ballot and this class helps them learn more about their own history and to assess their role in the current voting rights struggle.”
This event is sponsored by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Open Society University Network, the Andrew Goodman Foundation, and Alt-New College.
Post Date: 09-12-2023