Civics Week 2022 Kicks Off Civic Engagement And Voter Registration Drive In NYC Schools

Mayor Adams and Schools Chancellor Banks today kicked off Civics Week.

Civic Week is a week-long celebration of youth voices and civic empowerment to encourage New York City students to become active participants in their community.

Civics Week is made possible by representatives of DemocracyNYC (DNYC), the NYC Civic Engagement Commission, the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU), and the Department of Education (DOE).

Civics Week 2022 launched with a Student Voter Registration Drive at Grover Cleveland High School in Queens, taking place from March 7–11.

The program is part of the city’s ongoing commitment to teaching K-12 students the skills of civic engagement and active citizenry.

“Civic engagement is critical to creating a society that reflects the voices from all backgrounds. By educating and empowering students on their civic duties today, we encourage them to become engaged citizens of tomorrow,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “This year’s Civics Week allows students to register to vote, participate in town halls, or conduct debates which will better prepare our students for the realities of the world waiting for them post-graduation.”

Civics Week is about uplifting the voices of our young people and empowering them to become positive forces for change. It underscores my vision that our students have a responsibility to become more active participants in their communities, in our city, and across the nation,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “I’m so proud of the fantastic work our schools are doing this week and every week to nurture active citizenry in our students, and I look forward to the bright future they’ll create for us as our leaders.”

“Investing in youth to ensure that their voices are heard at the ballot box and in civic discourse is paramount. That’s why I am proud of Civics Week and NYC Speaks, two initiatives that will not only register and pre-register young voters, but also empower students to speak about the issues that matter most to them and their families. At a time when it’s hard to think about the future, knowing these students will be entrusted with the tools needed to take action in their communities gives us all hope,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright.

Beyond Civics Week, the Department of Education’s year-round Civics for All initiative teaches students about the foundations and function of local, state, and federal government, and the importance of engaging in the democratic process.

During Civics Week, civic engagement resources are brought directly to students in city schools and educators present lessons on civics, issues related to voting rights, and the importance of voting.

Students also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities, including youth voter registration drives, participatory budgeting for their schools, public speaking competitions, and town halls on issues that matter to them and their communities.

Through the annual Student Voter Registration Drive, started in 2015, tens of thousands of students have been registered to vote at hundreds of high schools across New York City.



In just the past four years, DemocracyNYC, the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit and the Department of Education registered approximately 60,000 new student voters.

Since 2020, 16- and 17-year-olds in New York can pre-register to vote, meaning they are automatically registered voters when they turn 18-years-old, allowing more students to participate in future elections.

16-, 17-, and 18-year-olds can utilize the same registration form when registering or pre-registering to vote in their classrooms.

“We’re honored to be partnering with the DOE on Student Voter Registration Day, by sending hundreds of PEU Outreach staff to classrooms across the city where they will walk students through the voter registration process,” said Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit Director, Adrienne Lever. “The outreach work we do at PEU to empower New Yorkers and connect them to critical resources extends to all generations, and we are proud to be part of this effort to engage a new generation of voters.”

“At a time when democracy abroad and right here at home is under direct attack, I am so proud to be part of New York City’s Civics Week and the annual Student Voter Registration Drive in our City’s high schools,” said Laura Wood, Chief Democracy Officer at DemocracyNYC, “Our future depends on engaging more youth in the democratic process, and Civics Week gives young people the tools to empower themselves and their friends to participate fully in New York City’s democracy. After a fully virtual Civics Week last year, it is especially exciting to be back in person in schools throughout the City this year, and interact face to face with the next generation of leaders.”

“The Civic Engagement Commission is excited to collaborate with our agency partners on this week-long initiative to build youth voice in our democracy,” said Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Chair & Executive Director of the Civic Engagement Commission.  “We look forward to being present in classrooms with students over the week, to be inspired by youth leaders, and to work with educators all across New York City to boost youth civic participation in all communities.”

“We welcome every youth voice to the city’s electorate ahead of the general election where there will be three ballot proposals to change the City’s Charter,” said Harold C. Miller, Executive Director of the NYC Racial Justice Commission. “Civics Week offers young people an access point to civic opportunities and education on their power to influence change. We are proud to partner with the Department of Education, Civic Engagement Commission, Public Engagement Unit, and DemocracyNYC on this important effort to activate youth in the civic process.”

“Young people are the leaders of today and tomorrow,” said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “Transformational change starts with just one person, a single building, or block — and we’ve seen so many young people raise their voices to demand, and to create, that change. We need your experiences, your voices, your efforts to make New York City all that it can be. Thank you for registering to vote to make your voices heard, and thank you for all of the unseen work you do to make your communities better every day.”

“Civics education is a core building block of our democracy,” said Comptroller Brad Lander. “Especially in a moment when democracy is threatened around the world and across our country, it is vital that young people are empowered to play an active role in shaping the government that represents and serves them. This week will empower and inspire a new generation of leaders to contribute their voices for positive change.”

“Young people are the future of New York City, and their voices should always be uplifted, promoted, and empowered,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Civics Week is an outstanding initiative to teach students the importance of civic engagement and participating in our local democratic process. I thank Mayor Adams, Chancellor Banks, and all the partners in this initiative for continuing to engage our youth to be active in our city and their communities.”

“Encouraging civic engagement among our youngest generations, the future leaders of Queens and New York City, could not be more critical to the overall health and strength of our city. I’m thrilled that Ridgewood’s Grover Cleveland High School will host a voter registration drive to help launch this initiative and I look forward to seeing thousands of our students get involved in the political process,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “These efforts and others will help supplement our existing Civics in the Classroom initiative to encourage young people to make their voices heard, and I encourage all our school communities to make the most of Civics Week 2022.”

“I commend our City’s Department of Education for more meaningfully incorporating civics engagement in their curriculum and encouraging our youth’s voices,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “When given the opportunity, children and young adults will impress any adult with their ideas, compassion, and innovation – all of which we need more of as a society. We’ve seen how eager young adults are in not just taking to the voting booths, but also leading and joining public protests and demonstrations, and speaking up with ideas to make their communities better. I’m excited to see what these young innovators will accomplish.”

“I’m thrilled to support Civics Week and the Student Voter Registration Drive. Our democracy doesn’t just depend on adults; we need new, young voters to become engaged in our political process, learn their rights and hold elected officials (like me) accountable to the communities we serve,” said State Senator Zellnor Myrie, Chair of the Senate Elections Committee. “I’m grateful to DemocracyNYC and the Mayor’s Office for prioritizing this initiative and encourage all of New York’s young people to register to vote– and, thanks to our laws, pre-register as early as 16!”

“I get so excited when I hear about young people getting involved in civics education. It’s never too early. I encourage 16-year-old and 17-year-old students to pre-register so that they can be automatically registered to vote at 18. Get active. Stay active. Make a difference,” said Assembly Member Latrice Walker, Chair of the Assembly Election Law Committee.

“Our young people represent the future of New York City—and this data from our young should shape that future,” said José Serrano-McClain, Co-Executive Director of NYC Speaks and Partner at HR&A Advisors. “Young New Yorkers spoke up with incredible unity about the actions they want to see on public safety, housing, health, and more.  I am confident that young people will share meaningful insights, powerful stories, and innovative ideas around these issues through our Community Conversation events during Civics Week and beyond.”

“As an educator, I understand the power of experiential learning. Civics for All in conjunction with NYC Speaks is providing this opportunity for project-based experiential learning” said Dr. Shango Blake, Co-Executive Director of NYC Speaks. “Our NYC Speaks Community Conversations provides and to bring data back to the community. As a Queens educator in particular, I find it fitting that the young leaders at Grover Cleveland High School are kicking off the Community Conversations program tackling the pressing youth issues in our city.”

“With all that the young people of our city and country have endured over the past two years, it is more important than ever that they make full use of their voices and their votes,” said Mayor’s Office of Youth Employment Executive Director David Fischer. “Civics Week puts a valuable spotlight on the work that goes on every day in our schools and communities to support our youth toward fulfilling the responsibilities and claiming the privileges of participation in a democracy.”

“There is nothing more important than ensuring young people are educated on the ways they can influence their local, state, and federal governments,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. “During Civics Week, schools will be empowering students on how to make their voices heard and give them the tools they need to make the change they want to see. It makes me so proud to see our city’s schools help future generations become active in our country’s democracy.”

“Encouraging civic engagement among our youngest generations, the future leaders of Queens and New York City, could not be more critical to the overall health and strength of our city. I’m thrilled that Ridgewood’s Grover Cleveland High School will host a voter registration drive to help launch this initiative and I look forward to seeing thousands of our students get involved in the political process,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “These efforts and others will help supplement our existing Civics in the Classroom initiative to encourage young people to make their voices heard, and I encourage all our school communities to make the most of Civics Week 2022.”

“Just 23% of eligible voters cast ballots in last fall’s election. It’s clear that as a city, we must do a better job of getting young people excited about the democratic process,” said City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “When I taught at PS 6, every week was Civics Week for my students, and I’m glad that the Mayor and Chancellor are giving this critical topic the energy and attention that it deserves. Our young people are our future, and the importance of getting them eager to be involved in the democratic process cannot be overstated.”

The next citywide election in New York City will be the New York State Primary Election on June 28, 2022, with early voting from June 18 to June 26.

The General Election is on November 8, 2022, with early voting from October 29 to November 6.

There is also a special election for the vacant 43rd Assembly District seat in Brooklyn on March 22, with early voting running from March 12-20.

New Yorkers who need to register to vote can do so through the DMV online, by mail or in-person at a New York City Board of Elections Office.

They can also use the PEU/DNYC Turbovote portal, available at https://democracynyc.turbovote.org/.

New Yorkers who are interested in registering to vote, need to update their existing registration, or want more information on the upcoming elections can call 311 or visit www.voting.nyc.

The Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit

The Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU) is pioneering a new model of government that proactively educates New Yorkers about and connects them to key City services.

PEU Outreach Specialists provide individualized, in-person, and long-term case management across a broad range of policy issues.

In the process, PEU helps New Yorkers build stronger relationships with their government. PEU’s core programs include the Tenant Support Unit, the Rent Freeze Unit, Universal Access to Counsel, the Home Support Unit, GetCoveredNYC, and DemocracyNYC.

To contact any of these programs for assistance or to learn more about PEU, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/MayorsPEU.

DemocracyNYC

DemocracyNYC’s mission is to increase voter access, foster civic engagement, and promote voter turnout for all New York City residents..

DemocracyNYC was created in 2018 as a mayoral initiative, and pursuant to an Executive Order signed at the end of last year, is now a program of the New York City Civic Engagement Commission (CEC).

Since its creation, DemocracyNYC has closely collaborated with the CEC on multilingual resources, communications strategy, and in-person and virtual events and workshops.

This merger will further streamline these efforts and ensure that we have maximum impact through closer coordination.

Visit nyc.gov/democracynyc and https://www1.nyc.gov/site/civicengagement to learn more.

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