Project Vote and Live launches

Project Vote and Live Launches
Posted on 09/04/2020
Youth Educating and Advocating for Voting Launches Project Vote & Live Campaign

Youth Educating and Advocating for Voting Launches Project Vote & Live Campaign

High school students across New Orleans develop city-wide campaign to increase voter registration, turnout

Youth Educating and Advocating for Voting (YEAV), a student-driven collation launched Project Vote & Live, a city-wide initiative to inspire and mobilize their peers to vote, kicked off with a press conference yesterday at McDonogh 35 High School.

“I am so happy to be here today and represent my peers on this very important campaign,” said Laci Jones, a senior at Landry-Walker High School and YEAV Representative. “This year has been a rough one for many people, especially people of color. We know it is now time to stand up and let our voices be heard. We must register to vote and become informed voters.”

YEAV, a group of 20 students selected from public and private high schools in New Orleans was convened by the Alliance for Diversity & Excellence in July. Project Vote & Live is a result of a four-week boot camp this summer where YEAV participants met with current and former political and community leaders and activists.

"Today is a very special day. These students standing behind me are targeting other students and youth age 18-25 to vote and really getting them energized around voting," said Jamar McKneely, InspireNOLA Schools CEO and Alliance for Diversity & Excellence Founder. “We are looking forward to seeing our youth galvanize our city for voting and change.”

The nonpartisan voter awareness campaign’s mission, solely developed by the students, is to ensure that every New Orleanian who is eligible to vote is registered, especially youth between the ages of 18-25 years old and that registered voters understand the importance of voting in every election.

“All the activities we have planned are geared to having 16-25-year-olds participating in the voting process,” said Gavin Johnson, a senior at St. Augustine High School and YEAV Representative.

Events planned include a drive-in movie night where admission is a voter registration card voter pledge card for 16-17-year-olds, a virtual candidate forum, and a food truck watch party on election day as results are announced.

“We will help our peers get to the polls,” Johnson said, adding that YEAV is working with partners to provide busing for early voting and they are organizing a bike ride to polling locations.

The teens are also taking to social media to help spread the word. Follow YEAV on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to get more information such as Friday Facts about past elections and Running Man Tuesday featuring candidate platform information.

They are also launching a text initiative. If you text YEAV to 31996, you will receive automatic updates on the voting process, including information on registering and voting locations.

“Voting is one of the most important things that we can do. We are so excited about this initiative. We encourage everyone to follow all the YEAV social media platforms so you can be a part of this as well,” said Kevin Barnes, Jr., KIPP New Orleans Schools Managing Director of Engagement, who also worked directly with the students in the summer.

“We all have a civic responsibility to make sure our students understand the democratic process,” added Kendall Crawford, St. Augustine High School Associate Director of Athletics and Activities.

“Being able to have leaders like these standing behind me, I’m clear that we are going to be okay,” said Ethan Ashley, a member of the Orleans Parish School Board. “They are the leadership for tomorrow that we need today. To see this project come alive like it has, I am elated.”