We are excited to announce the new logo for the Youth As Civic Experts Network, the student voice campaign through iCivics. This year’s logo is designed by Sophie Li, a sophomore from Nashville, Tennessee who attends Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School. Sophie’s new logo will replace last year’s Americana themed logo that was also designed by a student. Sophie is part of this year’s class of Equity in Civics Youth Fellows, who were asked on their first day to come up with a logo for the program based on their understanding of what the program stands for and what the students hope to accomplish. Logos were then taken to iCivics staff members who ranked their favorite submissions. The winning logo was then sent to a designer for cleaning.
We sat down with this year’s winner, Sophie Li, to discuss her logo and her experience with the program thus far.
Can you share a bit about why you decided to join the Equity in Civics Youth Fellowship? What interests you most about this opportunity?
I joined the Equity in Civics Youth Fellowship because, for so many years, civic education has been pushed to the back burner, while subjects like math, science, and English have been prioritized. However, I argue that civic education, encompassing politics, government, civil rights, and social justice issues are equally, if not more, important subjects that should be covered in schools. As a recently deemed U.S. citizen, my first realization of these issues came during the coronavirus pandemic. While learning from home, I was also impacted by the events happening outside of school. The death of George Floyd prompted large (masked) gatherings to protest his death as well as centuries of institutionalized racism. This protest was the first time I, and many others left home during the quarantine. I educated myself about politics, government, civil rights, and social justice issues. From reading books such as Just Mercy and White Fragility, I learned about the heinous injustices people have historically faced and continue to face in America. Education on topics such as civil rights and social justice issues is crucial in reversing our own individual biases.
Additionally, education focused on politics and government is crucial in teaching the importance of voting and eventually reversing oppression in America. Although systemic changes cannot happen overnight, education on these topics can make drastic changes, leading to a more equitable society. What interests me most about this fellowship is the opportunity to have a deeper understanding of civic education and to meet new, diverse people from all over the country.
How would you define equity in civic education? What does equity in civic education mean to you?
To me, equity in civil education is a path toward an equitable society. America is a democracy, but there is no democracy without educational equity. Similarly, there is no educational equity without equity in civic education. Civic education empowers us to be well-informed, active citizens, and gives us the impactful opportunity to change the world around us. Equity in civic education also encompasses the inclusive commitment to provide high leadership roles in courts, governments, and conferences to marginalized groups disproportionately excluded from the positions of civic power such as people in poverty, people of color, immigrants, and everything in between.
Tell us about your logo. What elements did you include and why? What do you hope this logo inspires in others?
I made the logo a person speaking into a megaphone because this program and civic education, in general, gives the youth a voice. Learning about civics gives students the ability to champion causes, organize, disseminate information, and influence public opinion. Students have an opportunity to think, research, and get involved in issues they care about. Civic education is the youth’s megaphone and civics teaches us that we have a voice. I hope that this logo inspires others to be unafraid to be the change that they wish to see and to speak up for things that matter to them.
Your original design was sent to a designer for cleaning. What do you think about the final product?
The final product looks amazing! The designers did a great job digitizing the logo and preserving my original design.
Your logo will be placed on swag items and used to represent the program on social media. How does that make you feel?
I’m very excited to see the logo on all of the swag! This logo will hopefully connect all of the fellows from across the country; I hope that everyone likes it!
You’re obviously a multitalented individual. What are some of your other hobbies and extracurricular activities?
My other extracurricular activities include piano and Science Olympiad. I’m a swimmer and I run cross country. I also founded the Nashville Tutoring Coalition, a volunteer Zoom tutoring service. When I’m not doing these activities I enjoy painting, knitting, videography, and gardening.
What is one life goal or personal dream that you’re willing to share?
I’d like to travel the world, have a fulfilling and exciting career, and write and publish a book.
You’re such a rockstar… We’d like to know who inspires you most?
My parents inspire me the most because they gave up everything in China to give me and my brother better lives. They are the most compassionate, selfless, and hard-working people I know.
Before we go, can you tell us your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is by C. Joybell: “The only way that we can live is if we grow. The only way we can grow is if we change. The only way we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we are exposed is if we throw ourselves into the open.”
About the program:
The Youth As Civic Experts Network is a group of paid student ambassadors (Equity in Civics Youth Fellows), unpaid student interns (Equity in Civics Youth Amplifiers), and program alumni that represent a diverse cross-sample of young people in the United States lending their voice to the need for high-quality civic learning experiences.
Mark your calendar!
March 8th the #CivicsforUS social media campaign goes live!
June 25–27 Youth As Civic Experts Virtual Showcase