Civic Influencers Press Conference and Town HallRachael Houston
Civic Influencers Press Conference and Town Hall
October 21, 2021 — Civic Influencers, a national nonpartisan nonprofit operating locally across the country, on and off campus, in local communities and states, that empowers young people to build their civic power and increase voting rates amongst their peers, hosted a virtual press briefing via Zoom on October 21, 2021 at 12:00 pm EST to announce its relaunch as an organization and a new partnership with Tableau Foundation. This press briefing addressed exactly how Civic Influencers’ innovative and funded data driven strategies will empower young people in the upcoming years “so that by pulling together, young people can increase their civic and voting power and help control their own destiny,” says Maxim Thorne, CEO of Civic Influencers.
Civic Influencers is immediately responding to the dozens of legislatures that are shutting off young people and communities of color from accessing our democracy. All across the country, young voices and votes, especially for Black, Indigenous and Youth of Color (BIYoC), are being silenced. “We are seeing state legislatures shut off young people and especially young people of color on our civic power grid that supports our democracy through voting,” said Maxim Thorne, CEO of Civic Influencers. “We see attempts to limit access to voter registration and voter mobilization efforts. We’re also seeing attempts at discouraging engagement of eligible voters through restricting engagement of eligible voters through voter ID laws and access to polling sites on college campuses.” said Thorne. “These shut offs are causing cascading blackouts of our voting and civic power grid. Our Civic Influencers intend to stop that, reconnect young people to their civic power and increase their voting rates and impact.”
According to the Brennan Center, in 2021 425 bills with provisions that restrict voting access have been introduced in 49 states, 33 of which have already been signed into law. One notable example that Thorne was directly involved with is the continued attempts at banning polling sites on college campuses in Florida in 2018, and 2020, both of which the federal court has overturned. These types of bills are seen as targeting BIYoC populations, including gerrymandering of predominantly Black colleges, banning polling sites, prohibiting voter registration on campuses and rejecting student IDs as voter IDs. Their perceived intent is to discourage BIYoC voters because of their success in impacting important elections in 2020 and beyond. To combat these efforts, and to restore the voices of millions of young people, Civic Influencers’ relaunch is focusing on protecting, preserving and expanding the civic power of young people.
To ensure that these nonpartisan efforts are the most effective, Civic Influencers is strategically driven by new data initiatives. With an exciting partnership with Tableau Foundation, Civic Influencers is examining data and publishing dashboards on youth voting to bring greater visibility to areas where youth voting rights are most under attack. “We are very excited about the Youth Democracy Index and putting data at the heart of the work to build a more civically engaged college community,” said Channing Nesbitt, co-lead on Tableau’s Racial Justice Data Initiative. “Together, we have a chance to encourage safe, fair, and trustworthy access to voting for young people and help set them on course for a lifetime of civic participation.”
FEATURING: Liz Ricci, Chair of Civic Influencers Board of Directors
Maxim Thorne, CEO of Civic Influencers
Neal Myrick, Global Head of the Tableau Foundation
Channing Nesbitt, Co-lead on Tableau’s Racial Justice Data Initiative
Members of Civic Influencers Board
Ariana Khan, Senior at Eastern Michigan University studying public administration, mathematics, and statistics, one of our Civic Influencers since January 2020
MODERATED BY: Sharon Bloyd Peshkin, Professor of Journalism in the Communication Department at Columbia College Chicago and creator of Columbia Votes.
Now that you’ve heard our big plans from now until the 2022 midterms, I hope that you’ll consider making a gift to Civic Influencers™.