LOS ANGELES - With the 2020 US presidential election just days away, in this episode, Culture Conversations focuses on young leaders supporting voter efforts.
Tiffany Loftin: For almost three years Tiffany Loftin has worked with 360 chapters of NAACP youth members across the country who are under the age of 24 on training, leadership development and civic engagement.
"My job is to give them the training and the resources that they need, so that they can be the best versions of leaders that they want to be," she explained.
Created in 1936, the NAACP has one of the largest groups of young people of any secular organization in the country.
These young leaders are actively supporting voting efforts within their communities whether it’s through physically mobilizing voters or virtually through their text message system and virtual homecoming, expressing how important the vote is.
Loftin expands on the current generation of young people (Gen Z) being more "woke" than those of the past. She credits this increase of awareness about social and political issues amongst young people to their accessibility to certain things saying, “those young people have just as much proximity to the police violence, to racial injustice, to the economic downturn, to the health disparities and the over 220,000 people in the country who have been killed by coronavirus...this is their everyday lived experience”. Loftin also discusses the connection between representation within politics and the civic engagement of youth who may have not believed that those spaces were initially for them.
Recently, President Trump has made an appeal targeting young Black men to gain their vote. In response, the NAACP has partnered with different organizers to create safe discussion spaces for Black men regarding the election as well as offer opportunities for them to work the polls and combat voter intimidation.
Loftin also, addressing the concern of getting too comfortable with trying to reach potential voters digitally, expressing that the people who need to be reached are not all on Zoom or IG Live, they’re outside. “...don’t forget, and don’t get lazy, and don’t get comfortable.”
The Los Angeles native and University of California, Santa Cruz graduate began her political career at a young age, realizing that her voice and actions did in fact invoke change. Directly after graduating college in 2011, Loftin served in the U.S. Student Association where she coordinated a college affordability campaign to break contracts between the Department of Education and student loan providers like Sallie Mae. In 2013, Loftin was the youngest advisor appointed by President Obama to serve on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans in Higher Education. It was within this role the former president encouraged her to run for office.
In this episode of Culture Conversations, Host Mimi Brown speak with the National Director of the NAACP Youth & College division, Tiffany Loftin about activism amongst Generation Z, the impact of young black voters, and the organization’s final push in encouraging these young voters to go to the polls this election.
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Culture Conversations Voter Survival Guide
Following our mission of examining the issues that our nation is grappling with at this moment and how they will affect our future, Culture Conversations has assembled a panel of experts to answer all of your questions regarding voting during the presidential election. Each week leading up to the election, host Mimi Brown will discuss different voting topics such as Mail-In Voting, Voter Suppression and Fraud, Swing States & The Electoral College.
This week marks our last installment of our Voter Survival Guide. Our focus this week is on Voter Suppression and Voter Fraud.
Our panel includes:
• Gloria Browne-Marshall, a constitutional law professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; an expert frequently tapped to provide commentary on national news programs.
• Kristen Clarke, President of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a national civil rights organization laser-focused on equal justice in housing, civil rights, and voting.
• Bilal Sekou, PhD, is a board member of Common Cause, the non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to American Democracy. He also teaches political science at the University of Hartford.
• Vanessa Tyson, PhD, is a political science professor at Scripps College. Dr. Tyson's work primarily focuses on Black Americans and the Political System, and Women and Public Policy.
Mimi Brown: Culture Conversations is hosted by Mimi Brown. She is a Segment Producer for Good Day LA and has also worked for NBC News, US Weekly, and ABC News. Brown earned her Bachelor's degree from Howard University and also holds a Master's degree from American University. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
To contact us about this program, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the conversation on social media #cultureconversations.