Los Angeles, CA – In what will likely be the most important presidential election of their generation, more than 5,000 young women from middle and high schools in Southern California and throughout the U.S. are working together to form civic engagement “teams” to mobilize voters in their communities for the upcoming election.
The Las Sonadoras team at James A. Garfield High School has spent hours each week phone banking to mobilize voters in California and Arizona. Their efforts have reached hundreds of voters in particularly hard to reach areas to help talk through key concerns of voter registration and how to safely vote. Additional teams have mobilized communities creatively through unique strategies that often use digital technology to get their messages across to voters. That includes the Radical Roses at King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science who had one of their members interview Secretary of State Alex Padilla via Facebook Live to help first-time voters understand what’s at stake this upcoming election. Additionally, the PLP Girls Gen team at Palmdale Learning Plaza, adhering to social distancing guidelines, painted voting messages on stones like “Vote 2020” and “Rock the Vote” and placed them around the neighborhood for their communities to see.
These teams form part of a year-long GirlsBuild Challenge, an initiative of LA Promise Fund, that challenges young women to be leaders in their community by identifying critical issues and creating innovative, community-driven solutions. All projects incorporate civic engagement with an impact extending beyond their school,s and must center around three-pillar issue areas: Civic Engagement; Health & Wellness; and STEM and College Access. Teams interested in applying can click here.
The GirlsBuild Challenge was launched via the GirlsBuild’20 Virtual Summit, hosted in partnership with Michelle Obama’s voter participation nonprofit, When We All Vote, which brought together a diverse group of women leaders from across the country to inspire and propel the young leaders into action. In past years, the Summit has featured speakers including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, actor Octavia Spencer, labor leader Dolores Huerta, and others. This year’s summit, held virtually on October 15th, reflected the event’s transition to online programming in light of the global health pandemic and called for increased voter participation just weeks ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Guest speakers included L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez; U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass, City of Compton Mayor Aja Brown; Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation CEO Nichol Whiteman, global superstar, and activist Becky G, and others. Watch a recap of the virtual summit here.
“Los Angeles, California, and the nation need strong leaders across every sector that reflect America’s beautiful diversity,” said LA City Council President Nury Martínez. “GirlsBuild is cultivating tomorrow’s leaders by instilling in them leadership skills through interactions with powerful women of color from the private, public, and non-profit sector. They also teach these girls to put that leadership into action by moving their networks of families, friends, and neighbors to vote in the most important election of our lifetime,” added Martinez.
For the last five years, GirlsBuild has served more than 157,000 community members, partnered with more than 1,000 local organizations, and hosted thousands of community events around civic engagement. GirlsBuild inspires young women from public middle and high schools across the country to make an impact in their community and ensure that their voices are heard. These young women have tackled important issues such as healthcare, immigration, civic engagement, the enviro