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  • Anthony Betori, Eleni Pacheco

Texas Organizations that are Changing the Map for Youth

As the nation approaches the end of another presidential election cycle, we want to take a moment to reflect on ways the world will continue to change after the election. Around Texas, there are visionary leaders making movements and leading communities to establish real change for Texas youth. This week, we want to focus on the orgs who are making long term changes for Texas youth.

MOVE Texas has had explosive growth since its founding in San Antonio in 2013. They are working in communities across Texas to make sure the state reflects the values of young people who live here. MOVE Texas has fundamentally changed the map for Texas youth through several critical strategies. Their voter registration efforts have led to hundreds of thousands of Texas youth added to the rolls. Their get out the vote campaigns, which they’ve adapted seamlessly through the pandemic, are turning out thousands of voters each election.

On a structural level, they’ve brought lawsuits against those who would harm people’s right to vote, and they run iconic campaigns like the Don’t Mess with Vote by Mail campaign.

Head over to their website to learn more about their Civic Leadership Program, their volunteer and service learning opportunities, and their merch, which is amazing.

We can’t wait to see where MOVE Texas moves next!

Founded by students in 2009 as a response to the erasure of youth voice in healthcare reform, Young Invincibles is deeply rooted in student testimony and grassroots organizing. Their political priorities are healthcare, higher education, and economic security for young adults. They work to share political power with underrepresented populations throughout the nation, and here in Texas with their local chapter.

Young Invincibles has engaged tens of thousands of young adults across the country, successfully winning security for college healthcare plans, Federal Pell Grant protections, and the right for undocumented students to receive in-state tuition. They’ve also increased grant accessibility and community college funding.

Texas joined the Young Invincibles coalition in 2013, prioritizing state needs for workforce development, education, and mental health services. The local chapter has trained over 4,500 young adults to date. You can read more about their 2020 policy agenda here.

Their policy agenda includes:

  • Healthcare: Working to access mental and reproductive healthcare

  • Higher education: Working to increase state aid and support and resources for students who are parents; Ensuring protections for student loan repayment

  • Workforce development: Connecting students to jobs and designing development opportunities

One final resource: we love their Healthy Adulting toolkit. Check it out!

Ignite recruits and supports women running for office. Launched in 2010 as a response to the overt political devaluation of women’s experiences and needs, and the subsequential cultural implications, they develop language, imagery, and safe spaces for women to create and reinforce ideas and values around women in politics.

A non-partisan group, Ignite builds connections with elected officials who model women in politics and share inspiring, relatable testimonies. They also connect with Texas grassroots leadership.

Ignite’s innovative work creates a pipeline for women and girls to access political power, both through civic engagement and running for office. Their work to train young women in high school and college, as well as universities, through education and networking is effective and a major force changing the political landscape in Texas. They also have a K-12 curriculum that teaches civic engagement and governmental education - currently piloting in 15 schools in Texas and California.

Join the conversation by advocating for electing women to office, supporting women’s political priorities, voting for strong women candidates, and empowering the women in your life to be politically engaged by visiting their website and getting involved!

Jolt is harnessing the power of Latino culture to empower young Latinos and transform Texas. Their work includes a summer institute called Arriba las Mujeres, the Levantate Leadership Institute, artist residencies and more, all of which provide unique opportunities for youth to transform Texas.

Here’s how they tell their story: “Jolt doesn’t stand for any one party or politician — it stands for the Latino community, families, and parents who worked hard to give their children everything they didn’t have.”

Join their work by learning more on their website! They’ve also got great merch available with some must-have buttons.

Jolt is changing the map for Texas youth by ensuring that Latinos and Latino culture are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve throughout the political process. Their statewide work is transformational and essential to a more equitable Texas.

Anthony Betori is the Program Director at Healthy Futures of Texas. He is a MPH candidate at John Hopkins University and a Bloomberg Fellow. He has two great loves: public health and baking. Anthony resides in San Antonio, Texas.

Eleni Pacheco is the Texas Foster Youth Health Initiative Project Coordinator at Healthy Futures of Texas. They support neutral, inclusive, medically-accurate, sexual health education for preteens, teens and parents of teens.

Healthy Futures of Texas, The Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, and the North Texas Alliance to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy in Teens (Ntarupt) have teamed up to form Texas Is Ready, a movement advocating for improved sex education curriculum standards for Texas youth. In November 2020, the State Board of Education will update the basics of sexual health education in Texas, and leading up to that decision, representatives from each of the organizations making up Texas Is Ready will release regular blogs explaining the broad range of issues related to sexual health education in Texas.

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