Mobilizing Millennials is priority number one

150 150 Caroline Vance

In previous blogs I have explored my own millennial friends not voting in California’s June primary and gleefully announced that the Secretary of State says online voter registration will be available this September – meaning that more millennials are likely to register and (hopefully) vote. 

However, as we know from historical voting patterns and our own selves – habits (including not voting) are hard to break. This week I have the pleasure of featuring an organization that is working hard to reverse the unfortunate trend of Millennial non-participation in civic life – the aptly named – 

“The 2012 presidential election has generated a lot of momentum among millennials, but our generation’s power goes beyond registering voters,” said Maya Enista Smith, CEO of 

“The aim of our work is to capitalize on that momentum and ask ourselves, ‘What does the future of millennial civic engagement look like?’”

California Forward has been a supporter and follower (on Facebook as well as in real life!) of’s effort to empower and invest in Millennials to create and implement solutions to social problems.  

As a national all-partisan nonprofit organization, has invited Millennials across the country to answer that question in a recent online competition where young leaders submitted ideas for increasing civic engagement in their community.  Two semi-finalists from California were selected to attend their Millennial Civic Engagement: Our Generation, Our Communities. Summit on August 24-26, 2012 in Charlotte, NC. 

You can tune in to the summit where participants will discuss the unique challenges facing their generation, meet with local, state, and federal elected officials, and propose strategies to increase civic participation on their campuses and in their communities. 

“Civic engagement is about thinking big and acting locally. It’s about getting our friends and families involved in making our communities more just, more transparent, and more sustainable,” said Smith.

Just imagine – coming to a train stop near you in 2013 may be Nick Troiano and Patrick Dowds’ Millennial Trains Project (MTP) which will orchestrate three transcontinental train journeys for 300 of America’s most promising Millennial entrepreneurs and civic leaders. The MTP will include site visits, discussion forums and community workshops to highlight examples of local challenges and solutions that can be used as a lens to demonstrate where our country is today and what opportunity there exists to help get it back on that.

That is a welcome whistle blow to Californians of all ages.


Caroline Vance

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