The Andrew Goodman Foundation And The Harvard Kennedy School’s William Monroe Trotter Collaborative For Social Justice Host Strategic Summit, “Towards Freedom: Collective Organizing In The Legacy Of Andrew Goodman”
Strategic summit brings together students, faculty, and national advocates to consider key interventions for increased equitable campus democratic engagement and student voting access
The Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF) and Harvard Kennedy School’s William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice are collaborating to develop a national campaign framework to increase equitable campus democratic engagement and student voting access. Finalizing the framework will be the basis of a strategic summit, “Towards Freedom: Collective Organizing in the Legacy of Andrew Goodman,” to be hosted by AGF and the Trotter Collaborative at the Harvard Kennedy School on Friday, April 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET.
Throughout the Spring 2022 semester, Harvard Kennedy School students in Reverend Cornell Brooks’ class, “Creating Justice in Real Time: Vision, Strategies, and Campaigns,” have been grappling with the issue of how to use evidence-based strategies to increase equitable campus democratic engagement and student voting access. On an ongoing basis, AGF fields inquiries from students across the country seeking to learn about additional practical steps that they can take to increase their democratic participation. Reverend Brooks and Yael Bromberg, AGF’s Chief Counsel and Strategic Advisor (outside counsel), are collaborating to align the Harvard Kennedy School’s rigorous experiential academic model with AGF’s robust on-the-ground student engagement capabilities to yield meaningful insights into these long-standing challenges. Friday’s strategic summit will focus on addressing one such challenge — removing the barriers associated with obtaining on-campus polling locations.
“In 2018, I conducted a study of the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program’s then-59 campuses in 24 states and Washington, D.C. and found that campuses with polling stations on Election Day correlated with a voting rate increase of 5.3 percentage points, and those with them during both Election Day and the early voting period correlated with an increase of 7.39 percentage points. My research demonstrates that greater access to on-campus polling locations correlates with increased student voter turnout. That’s why I am excited to partner with the William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice, under the leadership of Reverend Cornell Brooks, to develop a critical national effort to advance student voting rights, including at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), where students face unique obstacles to the ballot,” says Bromberg.
The national campaign’s concept evolved from the learnings of AGF’s Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program. The program partners with America’s colleges and universities to provide resources, visibility, and mentoring to a national network of student leaders who involve their peers in participatory democracy through long-term voter engagement and public policy initiatives. Spearheading advocacy efforts to secure on-campus polling stations has long been a key intervention of the program, which now spans 85 campuses in 26 states and Washington, D.C., and a priority request of student leaders in the program. Alongside the grassroots efforts of Andrew Goodman Ambassadors, AGF has brought numerous polling stations to campuses through strategic organizing and advocacy.
Notably, AGF has also brought on-campus polling stations to Bard College and to colleges and universities across the state of Florida via successful student-led litigation. In April, AGF celebrated a statewide legislative victory in New York, which was the direct result of lawsuits filed by AGF and Bard College in 2020 and 2021 that brought a polling place to Bard’s campus. The New York State Legislature passed, and Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law, legislation that mandates polling places on college campuses with 300 or more registered students or at a nearby site proposed by the college, and that prevents the gerrymandering of college campuses.
Additionally, AGF’s 2018 precedential Twenty-Sixth Amendment lawsuit in Florida resulted in overturning a statewide ban on early on-campus polling stations, leading to the placement of polling stations on 12 campuses in 2018, when nearly 60,000 voters cast ballots with the new expansion. The research in our report, On-Campus Early In-Person Voting in Florida in the 2018 General Election, indicates that turnout — especially among young registered voters — in the counties that introduced on-campus early voting locations, was higher in 2018 compared to 2016. Additionally, Hispanic and Black voters used the on-campus locations at a higher rate than their peers, and voters of a variety of age groups availed themselves of the new mechanism.
The strategic summit on Friday will gather a think-and-do tank of students from the Andrew Goodman Network, academics, advocates, and activists to develop a framework for key interventions to advance student voting rights, including securing on-campus polling stations.
Among the 40 distinguished participants at Friday’s strategic summit are:
- Reverend Cornell Brooks, Director of the William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice, Harvard Kennedy School;
- Archon Fung, Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government, Harvard Kennedy School;
- June Park, Co-Chair of Harvard Votes Challenge, Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics;
- Jonathan Becker, Executive Vice President and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Bard College;
- Erin Cannan, Andrew Goodman Campus Champion and Vice President for Civic Engagement, Bard College;
- Bob Frigo, Andrew Goodman Campus Champion, Assistant Dean of Campus Life, and Director of the Kernodle Center for Civic Life, Elon University;
- Tiffany Seawright, Andrew Goodman Campus Champion and Director of Leadership and Engagement, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University;
- Evan Malbrough, Former Andrew Goodman Student Ambassador, Georgia State University and Current Board Member, The Andrew Goodman Foundation;
- Cyrus Commisssariat, Former Andew Goodman Student Ambassador, Arizona State University;
- and Christina Williams, Current Andrew Goodman Student Ambassador, Clark Atlanta University.
The public portion of the strategic summit can be viewed from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. ET on a livestream at trotter.hks.harvard.edu/all-events.
About The Andrew Goodman Foundation
The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s mission is to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy by training the next generation of leaders, engaging young voters, and challenging restrictive voter suppression laws. The organization is named after Andrew Goodman, a Freedom Summer volunteer and champion of equality and voting rights who was murdered, alongside James Earl Chaney and Michael Schwerner, by the KKK in 1964 while registering Black Americans to vote in Mississippi. To learn more, visit www.andrewgoodman.org.