Our mission is to build a more just, democratic, and sustainable Miami by developing a local culture of civic participation for young people that is bold, creative, and impactful.
In our vision for Miami-Dade, every eligible young voter and leader is able to meaningfully participate in local, state, and national elections and civic engagement; there is a clear and accessible pipeline to civic and political power for young Black, indigenous and POC leaders; and there is a thriving civic culture that centers and activates the values and vision of young people. If we do our work well, young people in Miami will be known for and supported in their civic engagement and leadership and busy actively building a future that is more just, more sustainable, and more democratic because we have the power and influence we need in local governance. There will be housing justice, climate justice, safe communities that divest from policing and incarceration, transit that works for everyone, and democracy that does right by all in our cities and communities.
We take down barriers and build bridges to equity in civic power through voter activation, civic education, leadership development, and organizing around local issues that matter to young people in Miami. That’s why we’ve developed our voter engagement and activation programs, Civics305 learning and leadership programming, and the Young People’s Policy Priorities platform to drive our mission and vision forward.
Power at the Polls: Gen Z and Millennial Voter Engagement
We expand and protect access to the ballot in South Florida through nonpartisan voter registration, vote-by-mail sign up, voter education and peer-to-peer outreach focusing on voters ages 16-35. We’ve registered over 25,000 young people since we were founded and in 2020 we made 1,000,000+ phone calls, sent 500,000+ texts, and sent 250,000+ mailers, including 125,000 voter guides, to make sure young people were activated and ready to vote in Miami-Dade. In 2018 we led partners to achieve 2 additional Early Vote sites on Miami Dade College campuses, a key victory to ensure the participation and access of students in the US’s largest community college. Through voter outreach and education we are closing the gaps between young voters of color and the electorate as a whole in terms of registration, turnout, and engagement and making sure our power is felt every year at the polls. In 2020, the young people we engaged turned out at a rate higher not only than other young people, but Miami-Dade voters in general and we’re just getting started.
Our City, Our Future: the Young People’s Policy Priorities
The Young People’s Policy Priorities’ (YPPP) strengthens our collective power to create local change for housing justice, climate justice, safe communities, transit that works, and democracy done right, while building a bench of leaders to sustain and drive efforts for years to come. With a committed and growing base of young leaders, a powerful network of partner organizations, and a clear vision and platform for our city and our county, we are uniquely positioned to turn the tide. YPPP Fellowships for emerging organizers focus on local civic engagement and building organizing skills around our issue priorities, while our advocacy efforts activate the voice and leadership of Gen Z and millennials in shaping our future. In 2020, hundreds of young people spoke at the Miami-Dade County budget hearings and advocated for their vision and values being reflected in the allocation of public resources. In 2021, we’re building our membership base, continuing to advocate for a participatory, equitable budget, and deepening our partnerships so we can make our city just, sustainable, and democratic together.
Learning and Leadership: Civics305
For young leaders to take charge of the future, we need to democratize civic knowledge and know-how. Our education programming reaches thousands of students each year to activate civic imagination, democratize civic knowledge, and create a shared vision of possibility for our communities. We build up the understanding of local democracy and civic leadership, including county and municipal government, budgeting and zoning, public advocacy and community engagement, and leadership skills including research, public speaking, storytelling, engaging with elected officials, community organizing, and reflection. We also provide a paid leadership development fellowship for 25 South Florida students each year in which they conduct peer and campus outreach for voter engagement, lead research projects including peer focus groups, interviews with local elected officials, and surveys, and develop their own leadership skills while deepening their civic knowledge and analysis.
Over the last 5 years, Engage Miami has led Gen-Z and millennial civic engagement across South Florida. Engage Miami originated in 2015 from the combined efforts of local young people who wanted to organize against corruption in local government elections. Since then, Engage has registered and activated young voters, built leadership pipelines, and worked with coalitions to drive awareness and engagement on priority issues. We’ve registered over 25,000 voters, won early voting sites on campuses, handed out over 225,000 voter guides, educated thousands of students and brought our members together with partners to develop a platform that really represents Miami, the Young People’s Policy Priorities.
Cocreativity: The practice of engaging with others and our work by sharing a mindset of curiosity, possibility, and rigor, with a commitment to individual and organizational learning and development.
Equity: The practice of both building systems of power that promote equity and dismantling systems that create inequity – internally and externally – between people based on power, privilege and oppression, including race, class, gender and sexual identities, ability, and age.
Respect: The practice of respecting ourselves, our team, our work, our communities, non-human beings, and the earth by showing care, honoring every body’s innate dignity, and setting healthy boundaries, norms, and agreements.
Transparency: The practice of becoming increasingly open and trusting, and being honest and upfront about decision-making, roles, and goals.
Learning: The practice of deepening our understanding of self and community and actively building the abilities, mindsets, knowledge, and praxis needed to effect the change we seek, including the recognition that we are all learning together as both individuals and as a team.