Other Group

Black Youth Vote! (BYV!)

Location:

Washington, DC

Formation:

1996

Type:

Non-profit

Black Youth Vote! (BYV) is the organizing arm of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) conducting outreach to youth and young adults. Black Youth Vote! Encourages electoral participation among Black American youth, broader civic engagement, and organizing around left-of-center issues. [1] BYV claims that the issues most affecting Black youth are criminal justice reform, affordable college,[2] gun control, and jobs. [3]

BYV has launched various campaigns since its founding in April 1996. In conjunction with Rock the Vote and other left-of-center and progressive-aligned organizations, BYV was part of “Youth Vote ’96,” a coalition to mobilize young voters. [4] Other mobilization initiatives have included the iThink 2012 campaign, [5] 2016’s #VoteYourPower social media challenge, [6] and the #CountMeBlack Youth Census 2020 Week (Count Me Black Youth Week), encouraging Black youth to participate in the 2020 Census. [7]

BYV, along with NCBCP’s Unity Voter Empowerment Campaign, claims to have registered 200,000 voters for the 2004, 2006, and 2008 national elections. [8]

Activities

Black Youth Vote! was launched by National Coalition on Black Civic Participation in April 1996. The goal of BYV and its initiatives is to engage Black American youth to vote, as well as to encourage civic engagement, organizing around left-of-center issues, and voter empowerment and protection. [9] BYV claims that the issues most affecting Black youth are criminal justice reform, affordable college,[10] gun control, and jobs. [11]

In its first year, BYV worked with Rock the Vote, the progressive-aligned organization engaging American youth to vote. [12] BYV was part of “Youth Vote ’96,” a nationwide coalition whose goal was to mobilize young voters aged 18 to 24. Support for Youth Vote ’96 came mainly from left-progressive advocacy groups like Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) from various states, Campus Green Vote, and Rock the Vote. [13]

That same year, BYV also worked with the Southwest Voter Registration Project (SVRP), going into majority-minority high schools, educating students on the civil rights movement of the 1960s and voting rights. [14]

Some of the stated goals of BYV are to educate Black youth about voting and public policy and how this can affect them personally, create an aggressive organizing movement online promoting the value of voting, and to establish BYV networks throughout the country to keep Black youth mobilized to participate in voting. [15]

In 2009, BYV formed the Youth Policy and Process (YPP) Initiative, a think tank organized to educate young people about public policy and how it affects them. [16]

The iThink 2012 Campaign aimed to continue motivating, engaging, and training Black youth within their communities. Partnered with other left-of-center organizations like Generational Alliance, BET VOTE 2012, Hip Hop Caucus, Black Men Vote, 100 Black Men of America, and the Cost of Freedom Project, the iThink campaign sought to increase voter registration among Black youth and young adults, motivate youth to vote, and recruit Black men to work as poll monitors and workers in targeted states. [17]

In 2016, BYV created the #VoteYourPower social media challenge. Partnered with students at more than 30 historically black colleges and universities, the campaign challenged young people to verify their voter registration via social media, vote in the 2016 election, and encourage friends to vote. [18]

In 2020, BYV and the Unity Diaspora Coalition (UDC) launched the #CountMeBlack Youth Census 2020 Week (Count Me Black Youth Week). This initiative was meant to encourage Black youth to participate in the 2020 Census. [19]

BYV, along with NCBCP’s Unity Voter Empowerment Campaign, claims to have registered 200,000 voters for the 2004, 2006, and 2008 national elections. [20]

People

Deven Anderson was a lead organizer with BYV from 2016-2018. Anderson went on to work as a regional organizing director for the Pete Buttigieg 2020 presidential campaign. Anderson is a former senior program associate for National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, a former regional field director for the Obama 2012 Presidential Campaign, and a former state coordinator for Organizing for Action (OFA). [21]

Felicia Davis was a founding director of BYV and an organizer for controversial Nation of Islam figure Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March[22] on Washington in 1995. [23] Currently, Davis is the director of the HBCU Building Green Initiative, a project of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and serves as a representative of Gender CC (Women for Climate Justice). Davis is a former Program Manager for the Mothers and Others for Clean Air and former director of the Georgia Airkeeper. Davis serves on the advisory board of Green 2.0 (formerly the Green Diversity Initiative), and on the boards of the Georgia Coalition of Black Women and the Black Women’s Roundtable. [24]

References

  1. “Black Youth Vote.” National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.unitycampaign.org/blackyouthvote. ^
  2. Owens, Donna. “A Push to Engage Black Millennials Without Obama on the Ballot.” NBC News, November 7, 2016. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/2016-election-day/push-engage-black-millennials-without-obama-ballot-n678781. ^
  3. “Youth Radio: Young people still plugged into politics on social media.” KALW, February 18, 2013. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.kalw.org/post/youth-radio-young-people-still-plugged-politics-social-media. ^
  4. “Youth Vote ’96 Will Combat Apathy.” The Harvard Crimson, February 9, 1996. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1996/2/9/youth-vote-96-will-combat-apathy/. ^
  5. “Black Youth Vote! Hustles Hard to Keep the Swagger Going with iThink2012 Campaign.” National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, October 16, 2012. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.ncbcp.org/news/releases/ithink2012/. ^
  6. Barber, Rebekah. “Mobilizing the critical Black youth vote in the South.” Facing South, November 3, 2016. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.facingsouth.org/2016/11/mobilizing-critical-black-youth-vote-south. ^
  7. “NCBCP’s Black Youth Vote.” The Dallas Weekly, April 21, 2020. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.dallasweekly.com/articles/ncbcps-black-youth-vote-to-encourage-generation-z-and-millennials/. ^
  8. “Black Youth Vote!” National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, 2019. Accessed July 5, 2020.  https://www.ncbcp.org/programs/byv/about/index.html. ^
  9. “Black Youth Vote.” National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.unitycampaign.org/blackyouthvote. ^
  10. Owens, Donna. “A Push to Engage Black Millennials Without Obama on the Ballot.” NBC News, November 7, 2016. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/2016-election-day/push-engage-black-millennials-without-obama-ballot-n678781. ^
  11. “Youth Radio: Young people still plugged into politics on social media.” KALW, February 18, 2013. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.kalw.org/post/youth-radio-young-people-still-plugged-politics-social-media. ^
  12. Szerlag, Heather. “Getting Out (Half!) ‘96’s Youth Voters.” Spark Action, May 1, 1996. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://sparkaction.org/content/getting-out-half-%E2%80%9896%E2%80%99s-youth-voters. ^
  13. “Youth Vote ’96 Will Combat Apathy.” The Harvard Crimson, February 9, 1996. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1996/2/9/youth-vote-96-will-combat-apathy/. ^
  14. Szerlag, Heather. “Getting Out (Half!) ‘96’s Youth Voters.” Spark Action, May 1, 1996. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://sparkaction.org/content/getting-out-half-%E2%80%9896%E2%80%99s-youth-voters. ^
  15. “Black Youth Vote.” National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.unitycampaign.org/blackyouthvote. ^
  16. “Black Youth Vote!” National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, 2019. Accessed July 5, 2020.  https://www.ncbcp.org/programs/byv/about/index.html. ^
  17. “Black Youth Vote! Hustles Hard to Keep the Swagger Going with iThink2012 Campaign.” National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, October 16, 2012. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.ncbcp.org/news/releases/ithink2012/. ^
  18. Barber, Rebekah. “Mobilizing the critical Black youth vote in the South.” Facing South, November 3, 2016. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.facingsouth.org/2016/11/mobilizing-critical-black-youth-vote-south. ^
  19. “NCBCP’s Black Youth Vote.” The Dallas Weekly, April 21, 2020. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.dallasweekly.com/articles/ncbcps-black-youth-vote-to-encourage-generation-z-and-millennials/. ^
  20. “Black Youth Vote!” National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, 2019. Accessed July 5, 2020.  https://www.ncbcp.org/programs/byv/about/index.html. ^
  21. “Deven Anderson.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/deven-anderson-a8328110/. ^
  22. Grant, ByTeddy. “On This Day: Black Men Assemble in D.C. for Million Man March.” EBONY, October 16, 2019. https://www.ebony.com/news/on-this-day-black-men-assemble-in-d-c-for-million-man-march/. ^
  23. Szerlag, Heather. “Getting Out (Half!) ‘96’s Youth Voters.” Spark Action, May 1, 1996. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://sparkaction.org/content/getting-out-half-%E2%80%9896%E2%80%99s-youth-voters. ^
  24. “Felicia Davis.” Diverse Green. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://www.diversegreen.org/people/felicia-david/. ^
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Black Youth Vote! (BYV!)


Washington, DC