Leading Progressive Groups Urge Young Voters to “Defend the Future” in Advance of Midterm Elections

For Immediate Release
Contact: [email protected] 

WASHINGTON D.C. – In the lead up to the November 8th midterm elections, progressive groups advancing reproductive, labor, civil, human and voting rights are launching a joint campaign urging young people to vote and support their generation’s commitment to true equality and justice. The campaign will highlight the profoundly different visions of America held by the rising generation of voters and those who have pushed the kind of extreme agenda exemplified by the Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Led by a steering committee comprised of Voto Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), EMILY’s List, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, March For Our Lives, and Planned Parenthood for America, the Defend the Future campaign will target six states, engaging local leaders and rallying people under 35 through virtual and on-the-ground events. Kicking off with a rally in Philadelphia, PA on Thursday, September 22, the campaign will also visit Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Texas where leaders of the organizing groups–with organizing support from RISE–will make the case to young people that their participation in November’s election is needed to counter the reactionary agenda of supporters of the Dobbs decision, the January 6th insurrection, and the related attacks on LGBT, minority, and voting rights. The groups leading the Defend the Future campaign have historically advocated for rights and justice across a diverse range of issues; their decision to join forces at this critical moment for our democracy illustrates the urgent need for a rising generation of voters to assert its values: justice, opportunity and true equality for all people.

“This November, young voters have the opportunity to help build a democracy that represents the values of their generation: justice, opportunity and true equality for all people. The Defend the Future campaign is bringing people together to put a stop to the radical and intolerant forces that championed the Dobbs decision, cheered the January 6th insurrection, and want to impose their reactionary agenda on the rest of us,” said Voto Latino’s President and CEO, María Teresa Kumar. 

“Democracy is supposed to be a shield that protects our civil and human rights from white supremacy and injustice. As our country looks more like the world, white supremacists have been waging a battle to build hate and drive division through lies. We can give in and let them win, or, we can fight back! Peaceful protest is an act of courage these days, and voting, an act of resistance. We can save our democracy, win justice, and fight for our right to an abortion, to say gay, to save our planet, protect workers, and so much more. That means recognizing our power as the majority of this country. And young people are the most diverse and a big and growing part of that majority. Young people have real power! The power of numbers comes from the power of calling out the big lies about so-called voter fraud and the demand to protect the right to vote, making demands, and voting for them. The Leadership Conference is proud to join this effort to preserve our democracy,” said Maya Wiley, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

The AAPI community is facing increased anti-Asian hate and violence, discrimination, and stereotyping. 76% of young AAPI voters specifically feel under attack in America because of their racial background. In response, they took action, went to the polls, increased their vote turnout 17% in 2020 — more than any other racial group — and demanded change! Young AAPIs are angry, fired up, and motivated. Together with other young voters, they have the opportunity to make history again in 2022, altering the course of this election to not just protect their communities, but to defend and strengthen our democracy. This cannot happen, however, if their freedom to vote is eroded. APIAVote is proud to stand with this coalition of allies to activate young people to cast their ballots and defend our future,” said APIAVote’s Executive Director, Christine Chen.

“Throughout our history, young people have been the activists who have helped make change in this country. As our rights have been eroded, we need them once again to change this election and the course of our government. I am proud to stand with our progressive allies to build this effort and defend our future,” said EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler.

“Young people are inheriting the future right now, and we won’t sit back and let others define it for us. We aren’t fighting for an imperfect past, we’re fighting for a vision of justice and equity that says unequivocally—all of us have the right to live free of gun violence, of racism, of sexism, of ableism, of classism, of transphobia and homophobia. It’s time for us to stand up and fight back together to build that future. If you’re a young person, you don’t have to sit back and accept society as it is. This is our opportunity to fight back together. Rise up with us on November 8th to defend the future with your vote,” said David Hogg, gun violence prevention activist and a founder of March For Our Lives

“Young Americans have consistently been at the forefront of our nation’s history, relentlessly organizing and advocating for progress, even in the face of adversity. At a time when our rights are under attack – our reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and voting rights – it’s critical now more than ever to mobilize Equality Voters to elect leaders who will protect democracy, strengthen our civil liberties, and promote equality for all. HRC is proud to join the Defend The Future campaign because we know young Americans are the backbone of our country’s progress, innovation, and humanity. Our strength is in numbers, so let’s get to work,” said Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison

Visit the campaign website at defendthefuture.org

Defend the Future’s first event will be a virtual press conference with speakers including Voto Latino’s María Teresa Kumar, David Hogg of March For Our Lives, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Maya Wiley, and Christine Chen of APIA Vote on September 20th at 1:00 PM ET.  To register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_haUKtSRNSR26uwdleYgr1g

The campaign’s first on-the-ground event will be at 5:00 PM on Thursday, September 22nd at Philadelphia’s Love Park.


About the Defend the Future Campaign

Defend the Future is a non-partisan, multi-stakeholder effort aiming to increase youth participation in the November 8th midterm elections. Defend the Future does not endorse or oppose candidates for office.