A Local Nonprofit Works To Keep Young Voters Empowered In 2020
A local nonprofit is creating ways to keep San Diego's Youth engaged as the 2020 political campaign season approaches. Warsan Artan with Youth Will, sat down with KPBS Evening Edition’s Ebone Monet to talk about her work keeping young voters tuned in, and their voices heard.
Q: What is the Objective of Youth Will?
A: At the beginning of this year we rebranded and became Youth Will in order to create a youth-centered approach to everything that we did; to give an opportunity and an environment to youth in our community, in our county. We advocate for and fight for a future where every young person has everything that they need to be happy, healthy and prepared to reach their full potential.
Q: Youth Will led an effort to come up with a Youth Bill of Rights for San Diego County. Can you tell me about the objective of this bill of rights?
A: Some of our fellows were the authors who put together the Bill of Rights. The way they did that is they met with youth organizations, and youth members in our community, and asked them "What do you need in your community?" and "What are the issues that you're facing that you feel needs to be addressed in our community?” From those discussions came the Youth Bill of Rights. The Youth Bill of Rights addresses a lot of issues including food security, healthcare, environmental justice, and so on.
Q: Tell me about the watch parties happening this week.
A: We are having presidential debate parties. We want to give youth an environment where they can have fun. They can have food, play games. We have presidential debate bingo. We have a photo booth where youth can have fun and take pictures. So we want to create a fun environment where youth can enjoy themselves, but also watch the presidential debate, and afterward have a conversation as to what we did hear from the candidates, and what we didn't hear from them as well.
Q: One of the founding principles of Youth Will is protecting the youth of San Diego. How is encouraging civil engagement to help with that?
A: If I could describe it in one phrase, it would be “youth empowerment.” Not only are we creating environments, such as the birth control debates, where youth are politically aware and politically engaged, but we're also making sure that youth who are the future leaders of our community are part of the decision making process. A lot of times when we speak to youth, I think one of the main things that they identify is that they feel like their voices are not being heard. They feel like the adults around them are making decisions. And I think a lot of times we sort of dismiss the youth, because we feel like they are not politically engaged and that they're not aware of what is going on. And this is sort of to show--no, we are politically aware. We are watching the debates and we are aware of what is going on with our community. We demand that we are part of the decision-making process and that our voices are included.