FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3, 2018
Contact: Aileen Berquist
Youth-led Activists of The Future Coalition Lift Banners Across the U.S
Compelling Youth to Exercise Their Right to Vote in the Midterms
Washington DC – Washington, DC – On Thursday, Nov 1st, students across the country are unfurling banners in six locations recently struck by violence and tragedy. This nationwide call to action is challenging young people to cast their ballots in the midterm elections on Nov 6, by asking, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
The initiative is being coordinated by The Future Coalition, a fast-growing national alliance of over 25 youth-led organizations (including 50 Miles More, March For Our Lives, National School Walkout, and Zero Hour), bringing together a generation of young people exposed to the realities of gun violence, climate change, failing education systems, growing racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and hate.
According to Katie Eder, a founder of the Future Coalition, “In a world where attacks on our civil and human rights are all too frequent, we want everyone to vote and for our generation to seize voting as a special right of passage, where our voices are heard and our ballots counted.”
The Coalition’s inaugural initiative Walkout To Vote, is expected to bring a wave of students and youth all walking out on election day—realizing their power to make important changes by voting in this election.
“We want every 18 year old to know that we have an important role in selecting our leaders, in accord with our beliefs and values, electing officials who represent our viewpoints, using our inalienable right to vote in our Democracy,” said Peyton Klein of Squirrel Hill, PA and a member of the Tree of Life Synagogue.
Each banner contains a URL that directs to the Walkout To Vote website where first-time voters and students of all ages can join or initiate their own walkout with their peers. Each of the banner sites were chosen because of their connection to gun violence.
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood near The Tree Of Life Synagogue where 11 lives were lost and others injured in the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in American history.
- Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed and many injured in a mass school shooting earlier this year.
- Newtown, Connecticut, the location of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting where 26 adults and children lost their lives.
- Oakland, California, which had the third highest gun violence rate in the country in 2016.
- Chicago, Illinois, where over 1,400 people have been shot in 2018.
- Salt Lake City, Utah, where gun reform advocate and Olympic medalist, Adam Rippon spoke out today against community violence at the University of Utah following the domestic violence-related shooting that took place on October 22.
Jaysa Harrison of the Youth Empower Coalition, another coalition member says, “We refuse to let our government degrade, deprive of dignity, or dehumanize our fellow human beings. We refuse to be relegated to the shadows. We will continue to speak out and lift up those who would be silenced. And, we will wield our power through direct action in our communities, and at the ballot box on November 6th.”
Photos and details about participating organizations can be found below.
The Future Coalition
The Future Coalition is a national network and community for youth-led organizations to share resources, ideas, and a common goal of making the future a better, safer, and more just place for everyone. Young people are not just our future—they are the present, and the Future Coalition empowers them with the skills and support they need to make a difference in their communities and our country.
A Chicago based organization teaching everyday citizens ardant activism to create social change by practicing nonviolent actions.
Women’s March Oakland
Women’s March Oakland is a women-led movement that envisions an East Bay free from systems of oppression and rooted in inclusive structures guided by autonomy, dignity and respect for all self-identified women and other vulnerable populations.
A Sacramento-based organization that works directly with families impacted by police murder and community homicide, specifically providing mental health services to children.
East Oakland Youth Development Center
East Oakland Youth Development Center’s mission is to develop the social and leadership capacities of youth so that they achieve excellence in education, career, and service to their communities.
Love Not Blood Campaign
The Love Not Blood Campaign (LNBC) is a fiscally sponsored grassroots social justice organization that supports families that have been traumatically impacted by police violence, racism, or communal violence.
Families United 4 Justice
FU4J’s goal is to UNITE families affected by police violence. Every case of police murder is important, but the amount of evidence exposing the violence, corruption, and negligence of the police, the courts, and our elected officials is undeniable when all of our loved ones’ cases are combined. Thus, unity amongst the families is necessary for achieving justice in this nationwide movement against police brutality.
Black Organizing Project
Black Organizing Project is reviving the spirit of Oakland’s Black community through relationship building, leadership development, political education and policy-change.We’re working for racial, social and economic justice through grassroots community organizing and policy-change.
Newtown Action Alliance
Newtown Action Alliance is a Newtown-based, national grassroots organization formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Our mission is to achieve the steady and continuous reduction of gun violence through legislative and cultural changes.
Jr Newtown Action Alliance
The Junior Newtown Action Alliance (Jr. NAA) is a youth led offshoot of the Newtown Foundation. The Jr. NAA students lead a movement among their peers in Newtown and beyond. The students work to raise awareness about gun-violence prevention through various educational activities and actions.
Change The Ref
Manuel and Patricia Oliver founded Change The Ref (CTR) in memory of their son Joaquin who was one of the 17 victims of the MSD High School shooting in Parkland, FL. Change The Ref empowers our Future Leaders to make changes to critical issues that affect our nation, through education, conversation, and activism using urban art and nonviolent creative confrontation.