by Iris Morrell
YEA members and Jason Wyman worked to organize our first campaign luncheon.
On Saturday, August 13, artists, youth activists, and community members gathered together to discuss the importance of youth in democracy. Held at the Pacific Felt Factory’s gallery space in San Francisco’s Mission District, the event brought together a wide range of people, all with some donations, collaboration opportunities--and yes, food--to contribute.
The event was a potluck, and started with a question activity that invited people to talk to strangers about topics relating to Vote16. Questions ranged from “how do you know if a democracy is working?” to “what do you want to change most about San Francisco?” and all were met with powerful, lucid answers reflecting the diversity of our participants. From here, the conversation segued into a discussion of Vote16’s ins and outs, from the function of the YEA to the process of implementation once the ballot measure is passed. Finally, after a great discussion with contribution and ideas from every participant, we left with a concrete contribution and a way to keep in touch with each community member who was present. Several new hosts were identified as well!
I am very glad we were able to host this inaugural event with our good friend Jason Wyman! Jason, founder of 14 Black Poppies, has been a great community ally of Vote16 since it got on the ballot. From joining with us at the NAMAC conference, to leading three YEA workshops over the summer, he’s become a reliable member of our community and a major factor in the success of our grassroots campaign.
At this dinner party, much was discussed, but one idea became the center of our conversation: Vote16 is a community movement. Organized just two years ago by young Bay Area high school students, this campaign has always relied upon the kind contributions of San Franciscans of all ages. Once Vote16 got on the ballot, it didn’t stop relying on the community. In fact, we now need your help more than ever.
As the November polls grow closer, we continue to look for more adult allies who can become liaisons between our youth leaders and their communities. Less than 90 days left until election day--let’s make them count.