Organizations Fighting the Democracy Deficit Disorder

Democracy Deficit Disorder

There is a scourge of disdain, distrust and disinterest people have for democracy right now. Motivated by a lot of different forces, this scourge is driven by politicians, media, and other engines of public pedagogy that teach, inform, lead, and compel people to hate the things we should care for the most for our collective good. Adam F.C. Fletcher of the Freechild Institute and J. Cynthia McDermott call this the Democracy Deficit Disorder. we’ve written a new book about it called Democracy Deficit Disorder: Learning Democracy with Young People, focused on how children and youth are fighting this disorder. The book comes out on May 31, 2023, from Peter Lang.

There are many other organizations that are struggling to challenge the democracy deficit disorder by engaging young people. Following are some organizations, programs and events that support young people building democracy.

Do you have something to add? Share it in the comments section!

African Youth Union for Democracy—A pan-African youth organization working in the field of Peace, conflict resolution, African integration. It brings together young leaders from the Ivory Coast, Mali, Congo Brazzaville, the Republic of Guinea, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Cameroon.

African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe (ADYFE)—A platform of nearly 110 youth organizations of the African Diaspora present in 31 countries of the Council of Europe. ADYFE aims to achieve Peace and Development through the 3 pillars of action: Entrepreneurship, Employability, and Civic Engagement.

Asian Youth for Civic Engagement—A national student-led organization dedicated to uplifting the voices of AAPI youth. Our mission is to increase political engagement and inspire activism engaging, informing, and activating Asian American youth. Ultimately, our goal is to prepare Asian American high school students to remain politically active as they enter adulthood.

Black Youth Vote! (BYV!)—The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s Black Youth Vote! Empowerment Program has successfully engaged and trained a new generation of civic leaders and political activists. Through BYV!, students, community advocates and young professionals have gained essential tools that enable them to lead their communities to participate fully in the democratic process, focused on attaining greater social and economic justice in the Black Community.

Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE)—A non-partisan, independent research organization focused on youth civic engagement in the United States. We conduct extensive research on youth participation, and we leverage that research to improve opportunities for all young people to acquire and use the skills and knowledge they need to meaningfully participate in civic life.

Childism Institute is a global network of researchers and advocates who develop childist theory, collaborate on research projects, organize events, generate media, consult with organizations, and catalyze social change.

Children’s Rights International Network (CRIN)—CRIN is a creative think tank that produces new and dynamic perspectives on human rights issues, with a focus on children’s rights. We challenge the status quo because the norms that dictate children’s place in society need radical change.

Children’s Voice Association—We support youth & children’s right to be heard and their inclusiveness in society in a broader sense. We aim to help youth & children to cure and grow their belief in democratic values and abilities to make a positive impact.

Dignity in Schools—The Dignity in Schools Campaign challenges the systemic problem of pushout in our nation’s schools and works to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. As a national coalition, DSC builds power amongst parents, youth, organizers, advocates and educators to transform their own communities, support alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment, criminalization and the dismantling of public schools, and fight racism and all forms of oppression.

Erasmus+Supports youth-driven local, national and transnational participation projects run by informal groups of young people and/or youth organisations encouraging youth participation in Europe’s democratic life.

Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO)—A dynamic collective of social justice funders and youth organizing practitioners dedicated to advancing youth organizing as a strategy for youth development and social change. FCYO’s mission is to bring funders and youth organizers together to ensure that young people have the resources, capacities and infrastructure they need to fight for a more just and democratic society.

John W. Gardner Center at Stanford University—Partners with communities, researchers, and practitioners to conduct rigorous research, support evidence-based practices to improve and strengthen the well-being of youth, and emphasize equity and capacity-building in youth-serving organizations.

Mikva Challenge—Mikva seeks to develop youth to be empowered, informed, and active citizens who will promote a just and equitable society. Mikva Challenge is envisioning a stronger, inclusive democracy that values youth voice.

National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC)—Transforms classrooms, empowers teachers, and captivates students by leading the way in providing high-quality, dynamic service-learning content to school districts, classrooms, after-school programs, and everything in between.

National Youth Rights Association (NYRA)—Fighting for the rights of all young people, NYRA was formed in 1998 by a group of young people who wanted to challenge the age discrimination and prejudice they were experiencing.

PowerU—We envision a society free from all forms of oppression in which decisions are made democratically and resources are utilized for the collective benefit of everyone. We are organizing and developing the leadership of Black and Brown youth and Black women in South Florida so that they may help lead the struggle to liberate all oppressed people.

Redefy—Redefy is an organization by teenagers for teenagers seeking to empower schools and communities worldwide with the resources and information necessary to be more inclusive and actively combat discrimination and hatred.

Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY)—RJOY interrupts cycles of violence and incarceration by promoting RJ practices and policies in schools, communities, and the juvenile justice system. Since 2005, RJOY has been a national thought leader, pioneering race-conscious restorative justice.

Street Law, Inc.—A nonprofit organization dedicated to providing practical, participatory education about law, democracy, and human rights. Through its philosophy and programs, young people are empowered to transform democratic ideals into citizen action.

The Alliance is America—A youth organizing network that supports two kinds of local organizations including Alliance Affiliates who drive our national strategy, and a larger extended network of Youth Organizing Partners who make our campaigns a reality at the local level.

Voices of Youth for Chicago Education—A youth organizing alliance for education and racial justice led by students of color from across the city of Chicago and Illinois. Formed in 2007, VOYCE focuses on developing a youth leadership pipeline of low-income youth of color to advance safe and supportive school climates and healing-centered approaches to teaching and learning.

Wernative—A website featuring youth action from Indian County.

Young Invincibles—Recognizing the importance of getting young adults more engaged in our democratic processes, Young Invincibles leads the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition, a group of over 90 non-partisan national, state, local, and student organizations dedicated to finding and scaling data-driven approaches to improving democratic engagement among college students.

YouthPower—A program of Making Cents International, YouthPower uses a positive youth development approach to implement programs within and across sectors. YouthPower seeks to improve the capacity of youth-led and youth-serving institutions and engage young people, their families and communities so that youth can reach their full potential.

Youth Engagement Fund—Aims to increase our funding partners to ensure the youth civic engagement sector is adequately resourced.

Youth Service America—A global nonprofit that activates young people, ages 5-25, to find their voice, take action, and acquire powerful civic and 21st Century skills as they solve problems facing their communities.

These are just some of the organizations at work against the Democracy Deficit Disorder right now. Do you have others to add? Please share them in the comments section below!

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Democracy Deficit Disorder
Action | Books | Media | Organizations | Training

Related Topics
Democracy | International development | Nation building | Involvement in decision-making | Popular education | Democratic education | Community development | Government involvement

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