You’ve seen the headlines over the last year - women have woken up, spoken-up stepped up, and declared it’s their turn to lead.
Now, meet some of the IGNITE young women who poured hours of time and energy in supporting women candidates, propelling them to victory on the ballot box in the 2018 midterms.
IGNITE interviewed young women in our programs to learn about their experiences on the frontlines and what motivated them to collectively work more than 10,000 hours* on campaigns and voter registration. Here is what a few had to share.
Q: What does it personally mean to you to see more women like you in elected office?
“I recently met a woman who was of the same nationality as me who is currently an assemblywoman. I am brought to tears by the idea that someone who looks like me, talks like me and was raised the same way as I was is in elected office. I will run for office in order to inspire another young girl who doesn't believe she can to step up and run.” - Jessica Rosario, Alumna, on campaigning for Catalina Cruz for New York State Assembly
“It is not just about winning. It is about running. Mya Whitaker's campaign had a bigger picture; we registered hundreds of voters, brought disenfranchised people into the democratic process and made politics exciting for people who previously did not care. Mya showed her son, youth in Oakland and me that women are fearless, determined and ready to lead. I will keep my head high and keep pushing for representation”. - Esmeralda Cortez Rosales, IGNITE Alumna and Facilitator, on campaigning for Mya Whitaker for Oakland City Council, California
Q: What was challenging about working on a campaign in the current political climate? What was rewarding?
“While working on my campaign for Gloria Partida for Davis City Council 2018, I found it challenging to keep my momentum going when members of the public were not as receptive to local politics or civic engagement, and thus not interested in the campaign or what I had to say. ” - Leanne Bolano, Alumna Ambassador and UC Davis Alumna
“I always feel like women have to prove themselves a bit more than the men do. We only had a handful of women running in my area.- Kacie Weicherding, Alumna, on campaigning for Cori Bush for Congress, District 1, Missouri
Q: You’ve worked on campaigns for both women and men this election cycle. What were some of the unique advantages/disadvantages the female candidate had?
“I've seen firsthand how female candidates can be criticized and I know the stigma and stereotypes can be changed if more women put themselves on the line and run for public office. I want to be one of those women who steps up and represents all of us." - Mia Muric, Alumna, Communications Director for Lillian Salerno for House of Representatives, District 32, Texas
Q: How has this experience shaped your personal ambitions to run for office?
“Though I've campaigned before, this was my first time campaigning for a female candidate. It was a great learning experience and gave me a lot more confidence in preparing for my own future campaign when I decide it's time to run for office. I think seeing firsthand how fundraising, marketing, and networking works and plays a role in the success of the campaign was helpful because those are the activities I feel could be the biggest hurdles for when I run for office one day.” - Leanne Bolano, Alumna Ambassador, on campaigning for Gloria Partida for City Council of Davis, CA
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*Date from a program-wide survey of participants. 2,354 were polled, 258 responded. The actual hours volunteered is likely well beyond 10,000.