Mayor de Blasio Launches Youth Vote NYC Registration Drive And First Ever Civics Week

The de Blasio Administration today launched its most robust civic engagement effort at schools of all grade levels and colleges across New York City. The effort will encourage students to register to vote and participate in the Citys first-ever Civics Week program, which aims to increase civic participation and empower the voices of New York City students.

Civics Week and the student voter registration drive are part of Mayor de Blasio’s 10-point democracy agenda known as DemocracyNYC, which aims to increase civic engagement and strengthen democracy locally and nationally.

During Civics Week, students at Department of Education schools will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities that will help students hone their public speaking skills, encourage them to participate in Participatory Budgeting, connect students with community leaders and elected officials, and give students an opportunity to participate in town halls to discuss issues that matter to them and their communities. Hundreds of high schools also will be hosting student voter registration events, with the goal of registering thousands of young New Yorkers. Civics Week and the student voter registration drive are part of Mayor de Blasio’s 10-point democracy agenda known as DemocracyNYC, which aims to increase civic engagement and strengthen democracy locally and nationally.

In order to strengthen our democracy and mold the next generation of leaders, we need to begin teaching our kids the importance of civic engagement early in their lives, said Mayor Bill de Blasio. With Civics Week and programs such as Participatory Budgeting, we’re empowering our kids and reminding them that they have the power to spark change in their communities by using their voices. I encourage everyone to participate in Civics Week to continue creating a fairer and stronger democracy at home and across the nation.

The best way to achieve real civic participation is by connecting with each community to learn what people need from their elected officials and to have an ongoing dialogue on ways they can get involved, said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson.

The best way to achieve real civic participation is by connecting with each community to learn what people need from their elected officials and to have an ongoing dialogue on ways they can get involved, said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson. That is exactly what Civics Week and the Student Voter Registration Drive will bring to young New Yorkers in hundreds of schools and colleges this week. I commend Council Member Helen Rosenthal for pioneering student voter registration drive efforts in our city since 2015 and the Democracy NYC team, the Department of Education, CUNY and everyone involved for ensuring our students have the information and tools they need to make their voices heard, especially in these critical times.”

New York City public school students have the ideas and passion to improve our communities, and we want their voices to be heard, said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. Through the first-ever Civics Week and our year-round Civics for All initiative, we are removing barriers that keep students from participating in the democratic process and fostering the skills and knowledge they need to make a difference.

Youth of every age are key stakeholders in this process and Civics Week and the Youth Vote NYC registration drives are ideal platforms to help engage and empower them. I am thrilled to work with the Department of Education, the City University of New York and other partners in these efforts.

Giving every New Yorker a voice involves working closely with government and community partners to develop and strengthen structures for people all over the City to engage in our democracy, said Chief Democracy Officer Ayirini Fonseca-Sabune. Youth of every age are key stakeholders in this process and Civics Week and the Youth Vote NYC registration drives are ideal platforms to help engage and empower them. I am thrilled to work with the Department of Education, the City University of New York and other partners in these efforts.

We must give the next generation the tools to take an active role in their community”, said Marco A. Carrin, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. “Student Voter Registration Drive is part of our broader commitment to empowering and engaging young people here in New York City.

“Today’s students are the future of our society and we must make it as easy as possible for them to participate in our democracy,”

“Today’s students are the future of our society and we must make it as easy as possible for them to participate in our democracy,” said Omar Khan, Director of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit. “Whether it’s taking a leadership role at school or voting, being civically engaged is the best way to ensure our community and government hears all of the diverse voices that make this city so strong.”

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“CUNY has a long history of voter registration on our campuses. This week’s Student Voter Registration Drive is a continuation of that history and yet another opportunity for our students to register to vote. It is important for our students to recognize that their voice is in their vote,” said Staci Emanuel, CUNY’s University-wide Voter Registration Coordinator.

Schools interested in participating can access the guides here and here. Civics Week is part of the Department of Educations Civics for All initiative, which teaches students about the foundations of American government and the democratic process.

To support Civics Week and participating schools, the Department of Education developed instructional guides to help schools host voter registration drives and design activities that encourage civic participation. Schools interested in participating can access the guides here and here. Civics Week is part of the Department of Educations Civics for All initiative, which teaches students about the foundations of American government and the democratic process.

Some of the activities schools across the City will host include:

Participatory Budgeting: Civics for Alls Participatory Budgeting In Your School will provide $2,000 for high school students to identify priorities and direct spending at 48 New York City public high schools. Students at these schools will engage in a participatory budgeting experience by identifying and proposing projects that are voted on by the entire school community. Each participating school will receive:

  • A $2,000 allocation to fund the selected proposal.
  • Training on how to integrate the project into a social studies course and, in partnership with the Participatory Budgeting Project, how to successfully engage students in generating and voting on ideas.

SoapboxNYC: A K-12 public speaking competition that calls on students to speak out on issues that affect them and their communities. SoapboxNYC is led by Mikva Challenges Project Soapbox and helps students develop, practice and hone their public speaking skills. School winners will compete in borough-wide contests later this year.

Poster Contest: Students will have an opportunity to participate in the Citys Civics for All poster competition in which students are invited to showcase their artistic talent and civic engagement beliefs by exploring and creating posters that speak to important social issues, exercising student’s voice and examining the importance of voting and civic participation.

Guest Speakers: A variety of schools will host forums where student activist groups can connect with other students to speak about the importance of civic engagement and a variety of issues, including racial and gender equity, the environment, social media, how to write a petition and gun violence. Teams of activists from other American cities will also be visiting schools throughout the week to discuss issues of national significance and their related activism.

Town Halls: Students will be able to participate in town halls hosted by their schools to talk about issues that matter to them and their communities.

Additionally, the City will be working with DOE Schools, CUNY and other colleges to host Youth Vote NYC voter registration drives. College students will also have the opportunity to take a Civic Engagement Pledge to make a commitment to become more involved in their communities. For more information, visit nyc.gov/youthvote to download “how to host a drive” toolkits and watch videos of student activists speaking about the importance of participating in our democracy. Outreach specialists from the Mayors Public Engagement Unit also will be at 70 high schools to support voter registration efforts.

It cannot be overstated how vital it is to our democracy that young New Yorkers understand the many ways they can make their voices heard. In 2015, my office launched Student Voter Registration Day, which brought thousands of New York City high school students on to the voter rolls, and thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s DemocracyNYC initiative, opportunities for youth civic engagement only continue to grow, said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

This week, high school and college students across New York City will have an incredible opportunity to learn firsthand about civic participation both in and out of the voting booth. It cannot be overstated how vital it is to our democracy that young New Yorkers understand the many ways they can make their voices heard. In 2015, my office launched Student Voter Registration Day, which brought thousands of New York City high school students on to the voter rolls, and thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s DemocracyNYC initiative, opportunities for youth civic engagement only continue to grow, said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

“As a former Government teacher, I believe that we need to do everything we can to empower students, who are the next generation of leaders, through civic engagement. Civics Week will show our students how they can participate in our local democracy and make a meaningful difference, from registering to vote to make fiscal decisions through Participatory Budgeting,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, the Chair of the Education Committee. “New York City students are already leaders, and it’s important for our students to know all the ways they can impact their community, city, and country.”

“I urge all NYC youth to register to vote and become active participants in our democracy,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “As we have seen in recent years, great things happen when young people become engaged in the electoral process. I am grateful to the administration and to CUNY for spearheading this important initiative.”

“Youth must register and vote in order to have their say in decisions today over their tomorrow,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, author of Student Voter Registration Day legislation. “Thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio for his commitment to DemocracyNYC.”

“Its imperative to have students lead their peers to register to vote in celebration of 2019’s Student Voter Registration Drive. We understand the issues our peers face and the power we have to address those issues. Registering to vote is a first step we can take towards actualizing that power,” said Ajani Jamieson, BMCC student and NYPIRG Democracy Campaign Project Leader.

“We are thrilled to welcome 125 young change-makers from around the country to New York this week for our Youth Voice, Youth Vote conference in conjunction with the NYC Department of Education’s inaugural Civics Week and Youth Vote NYC. These civically-minded teens, including teams from three NYC Schools Brooklyn College Academy, International High School at LaGuardia Community College, Middle College at LaGuardia Community College have completed an eight-month process of investigating an issue of social, political, or economic concern in their communities and mapping out how it connects to voting. This week they will be visiting NYC high schools and delivering presentations about selected issues like environmental protection, gun violence, opioids, and racial equity; sharing what they’ve done in their communities; and modeling how their peers can become more civically involved. We applaud Civics Week and Youth Vote NYC for creating this powerful week-long opportunity to invigorate and elevate civic participation for youth at such a vital time in our city and country, said Terry Born of the Middle College National Consortium and Sanda Balaban of YVote.

Civics Week is a fantastic way to build excitement around one of our most fundamental rights and responsibilities as Americans, the right to vote. We hope that all of New York students graduate not just with the ability to exercise this right, but with a desire to use it as an entryway to a lifetime as engaged citizens, said Louise Dub, Executive Director of iCivics, the country’s largest civic education platform.

Facing History and Ourselves believes that a strong foundation in a civics curriculum that empowers young people to become active participants in our democracy will ensure a just and equitable society, free from bigotry and hate.

Facing History and Ourselves believes that a strong foundation in a civics curriculum that empowers young people to become active participants in our democracy will ensure a just and equitable society, free from bigotry and hate. We enthusiastically urge educators and students alike to support Civics Week, said Pam Haas, Executive Director at the New York Office of Facing History and Ourselves.

Photo credit: Nyc.gov

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