Five “Hidden Heroes” Honored for their Commitment to Democracy
(Upper Saddle River, NJ)— The Andrew Goodman Foundation will recognize five young leaders for their dedication to voting rights and social justice with the 2018 Hidden Heroes Award. The awards will be presented at the Hidden Heroes Awards Ceremony on Friday, July 13 at Ramapo College of New Jersey.
The Hidden Heroes Award recognizes exceptional Vote Everywhere Ambassadors and Puffin Democracy Fellows for their devotion to the mission of The Andrew Goodman Foundation, “to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy.” Award recipients have demonstrated outstanding commitment to expanding civic engagement and defending democracy on their campuses and in their surrounding communities.
The awardees have distinguished themselves amongst a pool of over 100 Vote Everywhere Ambassadors and five Puffin Democracy Fellows from across the country. Vote Everywhere Ambassadors work to register voters, spearhead Get Out the Vote efforts, and remove barriers student voters face on their campuses. As part of The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s newest program, Puffin Democracy Fellows work on high impact projects to expand voting rights and social justice on a local and national level.
“We have so many outstanding Vote Everywhere Ambassadors and Puffin Democracy Fellows that it’s always a difficult decision,” says Sylvia Golbin-Goodman, the Executive Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “As in the past, this year’s five awardees stand out in their commitment to enhancing voter access through a variety of initiatives on the campus, local, and state levels.”
The Hidden Heroes Award Ceremony will take place during the fourth annual National Civic Leadership Training Summit, which The Andrew Goodman Foundation convenes each summer to train Vote Everywhere Ambassadors for the coming academic year. Students from 56 campuses will participate in workshops and lectures with staff, alumni, and expert speakers. Through the week-long Summit, they will learn best practices, share ideas, and plan collaborative efforts in preparation for the upcoming year.
Meet the 2018 Hidden Heroes:
Abree Dominguez, University of San Francisco ’18
Abree was a member of the inaugural Vote Everywhere team at the University of San Francisco and helped to bring voter engagement to the forefront of campus. During the 2017-18 academic year, Abree and her team registered over 1000 voters on campus. The team helped institutionalize voter registration by coordinating with the Office of Student Housing and Residential Education to bottleneck during New Student Orientation and register new students to vote. They also supported a large-scale initiative by the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good as they brought every California gubernatorial candidate to campus to have conversations with students about their goals for California. In launching USF Votes, a collaborative group of campus stakeholders committed to voter engagement, Abree and her team made massive change toward a prominent focus on voting at the University of San Francisco.
Louis Gremillion Jr., Louisiana State University ’18
Louis led a team effort to procure and implement TurboVote, an online voter registration service, for the Louisiana State University student body of over 30,000. In Spring 2018, Louis and the LSU campus team lobbied LSU’s Student Government to pass SGFB No. 1, a bill that allocates funds for the service. Through Louis’s and the team’s work with Residential Life, the Office of Orientation, and the Office of the President, the service will be integrated into LSU’s Welcome Week for all incoming students and will make voter registration more accessible across the LSU campus.
Usjid Hameed, Towson University ‘17, Puffin Democracy Fellow
Usjid joined the Andrew Goodman Foundation in 2016 as the first Team Leader at Towson University. With the Office of Civic Engagement and Leadership, Usjid led his team to register over 700 new voters at Towson during his time as Team Leader. He established collaborations with groups and offices like Greek life, student affinity groups, and Residence Life, and led initiatives for innovative programming, particularly around GOTV efforts. One of the programs Usjid created, “The Wheel of Wokeness,” inspired the Vote Everywhere network and has even been adapted and used by teams across the country. Continuing to exemplify Andy’s legacy, Usjid is now an inaugural Puffin Democracy Fellow, focusing on voter access for non-native English speakers.
Joseph Hill, Queens College ‘18
Joseph has contributed immensely to Vote Everywhere and The Andrew Goodman Foundation on his campus and beyond. As an Ambassador and Team Leader at CUNY Queens, Joseph has worked to grow knowledge of the Andrew Goodman story and legacy and linking this to Andy’s time as a student at CUNY Queens. Joseph also began working toward institutionalizing voter registration by participating in Welcome Day. He has partnered with campus collaborators such as NYPIRG to conduct on-campus voter engagement events and went beyond campus to conduct Midnight Runs providing meals and voter registration opportunities to people experiencing homelessness. In support of The Andrew Goodman Foundation, Joseph used his musical talents and Vote Everywhere experiences to engage, entertain, and educate attendees of AGF events.
Megan Newsome, University of Florida ’17, Puffin Democracy Fellow
Joining Vote Everywhere in 2015, Megan has been one of the longest-standing Vote Everywhere Ambassadors and continues to be involved with The Andrew Goodman Foundation in her new role as a Puffin Democracy Fellow. During Fall 2017, her final semester with Vote Everywhere, Megan penned an opinion piece for The Gainesville Sun that advocated for college students to have equal access to early voting. Megan is now a plaintiff in the lawsuit League of Women Voters, Inc., The Andrew Goodman Foundation, Inc., Megan Newsome, et al V. Kenneth W. Detzner, in his official capacity as the Florida Secretary of State, which was spurred by her piece and seeks to ensure that public college and university campuses in Florida can host early voting locations.