Spring 2021 Roundup: Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere’s Semester Highlights
While 2021 has been described as an “off-year,” for our Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Network, it was anything but that. Andrew Goodman Ambassadors continued the momentum from the 2020 Election and quickly pivoted to meet the multiple crises that the country faced at the beginning of 2021. This semester included an insurrection, impeachment, and inauguration; holding our elected officials accountable to the voters and to their promises; continued violence against communities of color; and targeted and systematic attacks against the right to vote. At the same time, our Ambassadors continued to navigate the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and changing university procedures and local ordinances as some states began to re-open.
In fact, in January, 33 new Andrew Goodman Ambassadors joined our movement and were onboarded as a part of the Andrew Goodman HBCU Cohort. These young leaders aim to increase voter registration, participation, and engagement among HBCU students and their surrounding communities and continue the history and legacy of Black activism. Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at HBCUs quickly put this mission into action, hosting their first-ever Black History Month celebration, “The Continuation of our Legacy,” and organizing a community service day with local elementary school students in April.
Our Ambassadors successfully and skillfully completed the 2020-2021 academic year—the first to be completed in a pandemic—proving time and time again the power and resiliency of these youth activists. Throughout this tumultuous semester, the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Network hosted 377 events, registered 945 students, and engaged 8,756 students. Check out some of the highlights below!
Voter Registration & Institutionalization
- Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville helped students prepare for local elections by tabling on campus and at events, as well as by educating students on campus how to register through my.VoteEverywhere.
- At Simpson College, Ambassadors successfully petitioned to have voter registration and engagement included in the curriculum for first-year students.
- University of California-Berkeley’s Andrew Goodman Campus Team collaborated with senior university officials to make Election Day a holiday on campus.
Civic & Voter Education
- In light of the rise in anti-voter laws across the country, Ambassadors at the University of Alabama hosted “The New Fight For Voting Rights: A Panel Discussion on Election Law Post-2020,” in partnership with Blackburn Institute, Crossroads Civic Engagement Center, and the Graduate Students Association, that focused on the history of voter suppression, tactics and developments in 2020, information on current or forthcoming legislation, and redistricting fights. (add pic)
- East Carolina University’s Campus Team hosted “Citizen U,” an eight-part event series to educate students on topics such as everyday civic engagement, voting, their rights, community organizing, leadership, media literacy, and how to run for office.
- In honor of the 50th anniversary of the 26th Amendment, Binghamton University held a tabling event to inform students about the 26th Amendment and its impact on the youth vote.
- Ahead of the Georgia Runoffs, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at Morehouse College managed four car rallies including ones that focused on the East African American and Pacific Asian American communities to encourage people to vote.
- Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted 27 live student chats to answer student questions ahead of their student council election season, educating students how their vote matters in all forms of government.
Youth Voting Rights Advocacy
- Andrew Goodman Ambassador at Huston-Tillotson University Jeffrey Clemons was appointed Chair of the College Student Commission for the Austin City Council, in which he will guide the council’s agenda to improve student quality of life. Clemmons also gave over a dozen testimonies to the Texas State Elections Committee.
- At Alabama A&M University, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors hosted a Vote and Civic Engagement Education week which connected voting with issues students care about, such as criminal justice reform.
- Elon University Andrew Goodman Campus Team held an event with elected officials to educate students on how they can hold their representatives accountable.
- In response to Georgia’s anti-voter law that passed in April of this year, the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program hosted “Georgia Voter Suppression Briefing: Jim Crow 2.0,” an event to discuss the law’s impact on student voters and to mobilize Andrew Goodman Ambassadors to take action.
- In partnership with the Brennan Center for Justice, the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program hosted “Voting Rights Briefing: The Bills That Could Change The Game,” an event to educate Andrew Goodman Ambassadors on the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
- The Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program hosted the “For the People Act Action Hour” event, where Andrew Goodman Ambassadors made 45 calls, and sent 79 emails to their Senators, and sent 203 text messages to their peers in support of the For the People Act.
In 2021, young people continued to make headlines with their activism and engagement. As we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the 26th Amendment, which banned age discrimination in voting, young people are facing specific targeted attacks on their right to the ballot box. In spite of the hundreds of anti-voter laws occurring at the state and local level, our Ambassadors are still rising up, advocating for change at all levels of government, including advocating for the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. There have been many challenges in the voting rights space, but our Ambassadors have made clear that they will continue to rise up to the challenge and expand voting access for all Americans.
About the Author
Rachel Sondkar is the Communications Associate at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. She is a UC Berkeley graduate, and a former Andrew Goodman Ambassador.