#CivicsForUS: New Class of Youth Fellows and Youth Amplifiers Ready for Change

In October, iCivics launched the second class of the Equity in Civics Youth Fellowship, part of the Youth As Civic Experts Network. 21 fellows participated in a weekend series of virtual meetings and workshops that kicked off the fellowship, including an inspirational session with guest speaker and Education Evangelist Jaime Casap, formerly from Google.

“I joined the fellowship because I was interested in the civic opportunities that could be provided as well as skills I could learn from this program,” says Aditto Showkat, Equity in Civics Youth Fellow from Florida. “For this country to accommodate the diversity it consists of, all citizens must be informed and involved in democratic processes,” says Camara Kelly, Co-founder and President of the Black Student Union at her school in Maryland. Kelly, a senior and an Equity in Civics Youth Fellow, leads an anti-racist initiative at her school.

Students from across the country engage in a lively discussion on civic education in their schools

“The reality is that our fellowship opportunity cannot serve every student in America through direct contact. Therefore we expanded our virtual mentorship and training again this year to include any student that applied or was nominated. We do not want to serve as gatekeepers to any students’ success”, says program director, iCivics Director of Social Engagement, Amber Coleman-Mortley. Coleman-Mortley will work closely with students to provide training and mentorship.

The Equity Fellows and Equity Amplifiers combine with alumni students to form the Youth As Civic Experts Network — a national virtual network of civic-minded students using their voice to make civic education more equitable. The overarching goal of the Youth As Civic Experts Network programming is to elevate equity deliberately and intentionally throughout the civic education field. Equity in Civics Youth Fellows are paid upon completion of the program in June. In a pre-COVID world, these students traveled to speaking engagements. For now, Equity Fellows will participate to support iCivics and CivXNow efforts virtually. Equity Amplifiers are students in the unpaid fellowship program, receiving virtual-only training and will only participate in some, but not all required campaigns.

The Youth As Civic Experts Network represents major urban centers on the east and west coasts, rural communities, suburban communities, and a crosssection of socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. Throughout the course of the 2020–2021 school year, both the fellows and the amplifiers will participate in virtual workshops designed to prepare students to tell their stories about equity in civics in compelling ways. By the close of the program in June, students will have launched a national student-led social media campaign; engaged in group discussions on equity, civic education, civic engagement; produced written pieces and media projects on equity in civics; and collaborated on a virtual showcase on student voice.

The #CivicsForUS social media campaign will launch on March 8th, 2021. Follow the program’s efforts throughout the school year on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Learn more about the program and the application/nomination process here.

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