The Andrew Goodman Foundation Honored 5 “Hidden Heroes” for Their Commitment to Protecting and Expanding Democracy in Their Communities through The Pandemic

On July 30th, The Andrew Goodman Foundation recognized 5 young “Hidden Hero” campus leaders from around the country for their exceptional commitment to civic engagement, student leadership, and service on their campuses as well as in their surrounding communities. The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s mission is to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy by training young leaders, engaging student voters, and challenging restrictive voter suppression laws. This year, the Hidden Heroes awards ceremony took place over Zoom.

“This year’s Hidden Heroes recipients have truly gone above and beyond the typical scope of AGF Ambassador,” said Alexandria Harris, Esq., Executive Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “The country is constantly evolving under the threat of the pandemic and the continually virulent strain of voter suppression efforts. Each of these recipients has stepped up to adapt their campuses’ voting strategy to ensure that every student has access to vote. We commend their efforts, and we are grateful for their strong passion for civic participation and advocacy. They have truly shown a commitment to protecting democracy and creating a just and sustainable future.”

The Hidden Heroes Award honors The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s outstanding Vote Everywhere Ambassadors and Puffin Democracy Fellows for demonstrating a commitment to continuing Andrew Goodman’s legacy of expanding civic engagement and defending democracy in their communities. More than 100 of these civic leaders from around the country were considered for the award. The Zoom ceremony preceded The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s 2020 National Civic Leadership Training Summit, “Take Your Power Back Weekend,” which took place virtually on August 1st and 2nd where thousands of students participated in workshops and lectures with activists, athletes, celebrities, and expert speakers.

2020 Hidden Heroes

Sophie Bertrand, Towson University

Sophie Bertrand is a student leader taking action addressing the issues of civic engagement and democratic participation. In the past 4 years, she has utilized campus resources to educate the student body about the significance of their roles in the community, especially in the democratic system. She has actively registered students to vote through drives, sought to educate her peers through creating and distributing “Voter Guides” with tools and resources, assisted in creating a campus-wide political engagement coalition, and hosted a conference pertaining to the state of democratic participation and civic engagement. She has even advocated for students’ voting rights within the Maryland State House and Senate. Her efforts have contributed to notable successes for Towson University, as recognized by TurboVote and the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge as a “Silver Seal Campus” in 2016 and as a “Gold Seal Campus” in 2018 for voter engagement. Even after graduating, she has continued her efforts by serving as a Summer Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation with VoteEverywhere to champion student voting rights and educate, empower, and engage the generation that will lead this country into the future.

Cyrus Commissariat, Arizona State University

Cyrus Commissariat is a proud Sun Devil majoring in Political Science, History, and French with minors in Sustainability and Public Service/Policy. At ASU he is a member of the Next Generation Service Corps, an organization committed to fostering the next generation of public servants and leaders. Through this program, he has earned a full 4-year scholarship and has taken classes on leadership and ethics. While working towards his degrees he has advocated for public education, civic engagement, and further explored his interest in education policy. He is going into his senior year and will continue in his role as Lead Ambassador to the Vote Everywhere program on ASU’s campuses.

Claire Hadlock, Louisiana State University

Claire Hadlock graduated from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication in May 2020. Claire is currently a digital marketing consultant at the Louisiana Dental Association, and she also manages several social media campaigns for local Louisiana businesses. In her roles as Director of Media and Communication and President of Geaux Vote LSU, Claire successfully launched the @GeauxVoteLSU social media accounts to encourage voter registration and civic participation online. As a “Vote Everywhere” Ambassador/Team Leader, Claire participated in various campus outreach programs including Leadership LSU, Greek Life, and the 2019 Miss LSU Pageant to share the mission of The Andrew Goodman Foundation at LSU.

Makenzie Mercer, Miami University

Makenzie is an alumna of Miami University of Ohio and a current JD Candidate at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Makenzie loves sharing her passion for civic engagement and social justice with others and is ecstatic to continue her work with AGF as a member of the Alumni Association Executive Board. She thanks AGF for the incredible honor of being a Hidden Heroes awardee, as well as the continuous love and support they have offered throughout her educational and professional endeavors.

Andrew Straky, Georgetown University

Andrew graduated from Georgetown University in 2019 with a degree in Government. As an undergrad, he spent 3 years leading GU Votes, Georgetown’s student-run voting rights initiative. Working closely with The Andrew Goodman Foundation, Andrew and the GU Votes team launched several programs designed to increase absentee voter participation on campus, culminating with the integration of my.VoteEverywhere into Georgetown’s main student portal. A proud Michigander, Andrew worked on Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign after graduating and plans to attend law school in the near future.

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 Foundation’s Vote Everywhere 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, public policy, and social justice initiatives. The organization is named after Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old Freedom Summer volunteer, and champion of equality and voting rights who was murdered by the KKK in 1964 while registering African Americans to vote in Mississippi.