An update from Executive Director Stephanie L. Young
As the kids say, I have some ~ personal news ~
I have some bittersweet news to share with you today. After five years with When We All Vote, I am leaving my role as Executive Director.
Being a part of this organization from the beginning, and leading it for the last two years, has been one of the most transformative and rewarding experiences of my life. I am so grateful to Mrs. Obama for trusting me with her mission — increasing participation in each and every election and changing the culture around voting — for half a decade.
During my time with When We All Vote, I lost my dad who was and is my guiding light. It is because of him and my mother I spent part of my childhood in South Africa, witnessing firsthand what it was like to build a democracy from scratch. I carry that experience with me each and every day, and it continues to influence the way I look at the world and approach this work. That passion for civic engagement, paired with my love of all things pop culture, have made When We All Vote the perfect place to explore how politics and culture influence each other to create a more fair, progressive, and just society.
The last few years have been nothing short of amazing. We hosted our inaugural Culture of Democracy Summit, a first-of-its-kind convening that brought together more than 1,000 artists, athletes, academics, grassroots organizers, and business leaders to discuss how different industries can protect and strengthen democracy. We organized the #FightForOurVote pledge that brought together 30 organizations to fight for voting rights and access to the ballot box.
We expanded the #VotingSquad volunteer program, which laid the foundation of our robust organizing program and major partnerships with community, civic, and media organizations, and leading corporations. We showed up to engage with our communities and reach people where they are, participating in cultural events across the country, including the Roots Picnic, where more than 8,000 people started or completed the voter registration process in just one day.
And when the world threw us a curveball with a global pandemic less than eight months before a presidential election, we adapted and hosted impactful virtual moments, including our partnership with DJ D-Nice, which led to more than 19,000 people registering or checking their voter registration status after our first #CouchParty; Verzuz battles that centered voter registration; a virtual prom with MTV; and more events and activations that led to more than 250,000 people starting or completing their voter registration with When We All Vote in 2020.
I am experiencing two big feelings with this decision — I am grateful, and I am proud. This beautiful community of staff, volunteers, partners, supporters, and voters has been out here doing the work and showing up for our communities. I continue to be blown away by the difference we’ve made for our country’s future and inspired by each and every one of you!
So if you’ll indulge me just one more time — after you read this email, head to weall.vote/check and make sure you’re registered to vote. Then text three friends and ask them to do the same.
For When We All Vote, the work will continue, and I know you are in great hands with this team. The organization will be launching a national search for a new executive director committed to this work.
Remember, our democracy is owned by all of us. It’s a team sport. And while I may no longer be in the starting lineup at When We All Vote, I will be rooting hard for this incredible team and the work you do to increase participation in each and every election.
With gratitude and faith,
Stephanie L. Young
Former Executive Director and Forever Supporter, When We All Vote