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Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x235,  Cell Phone: 413-687-5160,  E-mail: tyaku@nyic.org
New York  (Wednesday, October 5, 2016)


On October 6th, SVRD will Register Students Ahead of Voter Registration Deadline

Today, the New York Immigration Coalition, in partnership with New York City Council,NYC VotesBoard of Elections, and the New York City Department of Education announced Student Voter Registration Day (SVRD) to be held on October 6th in high schools across New York’s five boroughs.

SVRD is a one-day program to help New York City students register to vote and educate them on civic participation. On Thursday, eligible students will be registered to vote ahead of the October 14thvoter registration deadline in order to participate in this November’s Presidential Elections. The program will inspire and prepare all students to become active members of their communities beyond Election Day. SVRD was also held earlier this year in March and succeeded in registering 8,500 students. The program will be held bi-annually, with the goal of registering 10,000 students’ in 125 schools.

[Left to Right Front Row] Andre Mozeak, New York Immigration Coalition; DOE Chancellor Carmen Fariña; Council Member Helen Rosenthal; Director of Political Engagement Murad Awawdeh, New York Immigration Coalition; Onida Coward-Meyers, director of voter assistance at the NYC Campaign Finance Boar; Council Member Peter Koo; Omar Suarez of Domincanos USA.

 Steven Choi, executive director at New York Immigration Coalition said, “We are proud to be the lead organization for the City's Student Voter Registration Day. SVRD doesn’t just register students to vote; it engages students in a conversation about the importance of being active members of their community through a comprehensive civics curriculum. In New York City, the vast majority of public school students are either immigrants or the children of immigrants and it is essential that they are engaged. This October’s SVRD involves schools in all five boroughs, 16 community partners, and hundreds of students. With the voter registration deadline to vote in this year’s Presidential election coming up on October 14th, this SVRD is a crucial time to ensure that students get a voice. We thank City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, Council Member Rosenthal, NYC Campaign Finance Board, and the Department of Education for their hard work to excite New York City's future electorate and empower our city's young people."

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said, “Voting matters. As a pillar of democracy, a right enshrined in our constitution that people have fought for, voting shapes our future. And yet too little of us vote, especially our youth. That’s why in my State of the City address, I called for the Council to fund civic engagement programs, so students can advocate for issues that matter in their communities by expanding support for voter registration and education in our City’s high schools, with the goal of registering 10,000 new youth voters. And that’s why today with Council Member Rosenthal, the New York Immigration Coalition, the Department of Education and many CBOs, we are kicking off our second annual student voter registration day initiative.”

“Preparing our students to be active and informed citizens is a critical part of our work as educators, and that’s why I’m thrilled to partner with NYC Votes and the City Council on Student Voter Registration Day,” said New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “This initiative is already having a great impact – educating and registering over 8,000 young New Yorkers to vote this spring – and I look forward to the work ahead.”

Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña

 "It has been a pleasure to work with NYC Votes, the New York Immigration Coalition, and the NYC Department of Education to launch Student Voter Registration Day. We registered over 10,500 teens to vote through two events in the past year, and we aim to repeat that with another 10,000 students in the next year. SVRD is all about empowering teens so they can get engaged in advocacy and make sure their representatives truly represent them," said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

City Council Member Peter Koo stated, “We have seen unprecedented involvement and awareness by young people in this year’s election, and it is important that we capitalize on this momentum and continue to encourage young people to vote. Now more than ever, it is important to that every American, regardless of age, race, or creed, has the opportunity to weigh in on the future leadership of our country.”

City Council Member Helen Rosenthal  City Council Member Peter Koo

 “The classroom is a critical venue for cultivating a culture of voting and engagement. Before graduating and heading out into the world, young people should understand their rights and responsibilities as citizens and be motivated to act on them. On Student Voter Registration Day, we aim to instill in our young people true excitement about participating in civic life,” said Onida Coward-Mayers, the Director of Voter Assistance at the NYC Campaign Finance Board.

"The youth voice is one of the most underrepresented in our current political system. Making sure that they have the opportunity to vote enables them to influence key policies on the issues that matter to them, from immigration to education" said James Hong, interim executive director, MinKwon Center for Community Action.

DeNora Getachew, executive director, New York City, Generation Citizen said, "Our mission is to ensure that young people participate in our democracy as active citizens.  SVRD is the perfect complement to our core civic education programming in the City's high schools and middle schools, which we view as a "driver's ed" for civic engagement. We applaud the City Council for funding this initiative and thank New York Immigration Coalition for putting it all together." ​

James Hong, interim executive director, MinKwon Center for Community Action

DeNora Getachew, executive director, New York City, Generation Citizen

 "It is absolutely vital that young people register to vote because it leads to a life of meaningful civic engagement," said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York. "New York State consistently ranks near the bottom of all states for young voter turnout, and we must be doing more to increase voter participation in this important demographic. Common Cause New York is pleased to partner with the New York Immigration Coalition, NYC Votes and the New York City Council to register eligible high school students to vote."  

​“The League of Women Voters, founded in 1919, is a nonpartisan organization whose purpose is to promote informed and active participation in government. This begins with voting. We look forward to educating and registering all eligible students, and to encouraging these newest NYC voters to develop a lifelong habit of civic engagement,” said ​Fannie Conner and Ruth Altman, Co-Chairs, Voter & Information Services Committee, NYC League of Women Voters.

Linda Sarsour, executive director, Arab American Association of New York said, "Last March, the Arab American Association of NY participated in Student Voter Registration Day registering over 900 students in Fort Hamilton High School. Our organization has been dedicated to building the political power of the Arab American community who is often marginalized in the political arena. Therefore we understand the importance of engaging under-represented communities such as youth in the civic process and look forward to having the opportunity to do this on October 6th just in time for the upcoming elections.”

Michelina Ferrara, deputy director, Atlas DIY said, "SVRD activates youth power and gives youth a voice in the civic engagement process! We hope that SVRD will be the first step in a lifelong commitment to supporting their communities through advocacy and action!" 

"NAACP is Fighting for Democracy Stand With Us because our votes matter," said Christina Brown, NAACP​ of Mid-Manhattan.

Annetta Seecharan, executive director, Chhaya CDC said, "Chhaya is proud to take part in Student Voter Registration Day. Registering students to vote, educating them early on and getting them civically engaged builds a strong foundation for upholding our democratic institutions."

​Jean R. Henry, director, Sistas & Brothas United​ said, "​Sistas & Brothas United supports the student voter registration day. Because it’s an opportunity to get youth to become more civically engaged".​

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The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.



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