As Youth Community Organizers (YCOs) of the Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) we realize the importance of bettering our community. We’ve launched the “Vote for Me!” campaign in order to educate our community on the importance of voting and civic participation. We have worked on many campaigns in an effort to change our neighborhoods and schools, but we are too young to vote for change, which is why we need people who can vote to vote for us.
We see elections as an opportunity to build more community power and bring about the changes that we as youth want to see in our schools and neighborhood, which is why we are mobilizing those of voting age to become more engaged in civic life.
As youth leaders of the “Vote for Me!” campaign, we, along with the other YCOs, have taken the initiative to increase the voter turnout in our community by registering new voters, mobilizing community members who rarely come out to vote and educating others who fail to see the importance of voting. We do this work through targeted door-knocking every week and by showing new voters how and where to vote in both the state primary election on Sept. 16 and the presidential election on Nov. 4.
Registering to vote and voting are important because they give people a voice and a say in who holds the power in our community. We encourage anyone who has not registered to vote to do so, and those who are registered should commit to getting out to vote in the upcoming elections and help us in our efforts to make a difference.
Our work to increase the number of new voters, as well as increase the percentage of registered voters who actually come out to vote, have already shown results. Since the start of summer vacation, we have successfully knocked on 1,538 doors, received 658 commitments to vote in the upcoming elections, and have registered 125 new voters.
“I haven’t seen numbers like these in 10 years,” said our supervisor, Mark Pedulla, manager of organizing and policy initiatives at the HSTF. Coming from an experienced organizer, this gave us even more motivation to continue doing this type of work. We hope to see change in our community in the near future, which is why we will continue encouraging others to make a positive change while doing so ourselves.
The writers are both high school students. The “Vote for Me!” campaign is part of the Coalition to Educate, Mobilize, and Vote—a partnership of the Hyde Square Task Force and the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation.