YPP Network Description

The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

  • Chelsea Clinton Spotlights Youth Radio’s Efforts Towards Clinton Global Initiative Commitment

    by Youth Radio

    In an editorial featured in the Huffington Post on June 19, Chelsea Clinton spotlighted Youth Radio and its 2012 Clinton Global Initiative commitment as an example of an organization working to improve the youth unemployment problem by providing “tangible, real-world opportunities [that] make youth less apt to drop out of school and also more marketable to employers.”
    The article summarized Ms. Clinton’s key takeaways from the proceedings of the Reconnecting Youth working group at the June 2013 CGI America Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL on June 13-14. At each annual meeting, CGI America partners discuss progress towards their CGI commitments and ideas they have for others pursuing common goals. Youth Radio became a part of the working group as a CGI America partner with its 2012 commitment to create a Digital Media and Technology Pathway, connecting at least 60 low-income young adults to jobs in the technology and digital media industry. Additionally, Youth Radio committed to creating a Break Through news desk to examine our nation’s significant youth unemployment program through the lens of young job seekers.
    The Digital Media and Technology Pathway began in January 2013 by building partnerships with local and regional employers seeking low-cost employees with critical digital media skills. These relationships have proven fruitful, and so far this year, Youth Radio has been able to secure job and internship placements for 15 Youth Radio program graduates.
    The Break Through desk is a special reporting  hub that produces stories examining youth unemployment through the lens of young job seekers in Oakland, CA. With each story, policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders will learn more about why young people are having problems finding good jobs in today’s economy, and which programs are helping young people break through, offering hope where none before existed.
    At this year’s CGI America annual meeting, Youth Radio’s Executive Director Richard Raya interviewed former Youth Radio participant Genesys Sanchez, who talked about her struggle as a teen mother trying to find a job in today’s economy. After the interview in front of the CGI America crowd, Genesys took questions from the audience about her job seeking experience and the training that enabled her to begin building her career.
    Genesys’s story is a great example of how Youth Radio’s training and support programs offer young people the practical skills they need to secure quality jobs and build careers. We look forward to further progress on our Clinton Global Initiative commitment in the months to come, and to our continued involvement in the CGI America Reconnecting Youth working group.

  • The price of life on Florida’s Death Row

    by Ethan

    The world is slowly moving to abolish the death penalty. Around the world, 140 countries have either abolished the punishment in law or in practice, not executing a prisoner in the past ten years. The majority of US states still permit the death penalty, but the total people sentenced to death in 2012 dropped below 100 for the first time since the late 1970s, and executions are slowing as well.
    But not in Florida. The State of Florida has an unusual approach to the death penalty. They are the only state where a simple majority on a jury can vote to sentence a person to death. (In most states, unanimous agreement is required.) And they lead the nation in exonerations, where lawyers and activists uncover evidence that someone sentenced to death is innocent, according to an editorial in the Tampa Bay Times. (The figures in the editorial come from the Death Penalty Information Center, which lists 142 exonerations, with 24 from Florida.) In other words, Florida sentences a lot of people to death, and they seem to get it wrong quite often.
    This situation is about to get worse. Emily Bazelon wrote a powerful article for Slate examining Florida’s new law, the “Timely Justice Act”, which requires the governor to sign death warrants within 30 days of an inmate’s final appeal, and requires the state to execute the condemned within 180 days of that warrant. That’s a lot quicker than executions are generally carried out. Inmates remain on death row in Florida for 13.2 years on average, less that the nationwide average of 14.8 years.
    What’s the rush? The purpose of the bill, sponsors say, is to ensure that executions are carried out in a timely fashion, to increase public confidence in the judicial system. One of the sponsors of the bill, Florida Republican Matt Gaetz quipped, “Only God can judge. But we sure can set up the meeting.” But, as Bazelon points out, Florida’s death penalty system is so flawed that it often requires years to uncover evidence that would exonerate a death row inmate.
    There’s a brutal logic behind Florida’s bill. The Death Penalty Information Center calculates that it costs Florida $51 million a year more than holding them for life, given the extra costs of extra security and maintenance costs for death row facilities. Shorter stays on death row equal lower costs – the only downside is the likelihood of killing people who might well be found innocent with years to explore their cases.
    Consider the case of Clement Aguirre, on death row in Florida since 2006 for the 2004 murders of a mother and daughter found dead in their trailer home. DNA evidence obtained by the Innocence Project in 2011 strongly suggests that Aguirre is innocent of the murders, and he is still fighting to overturn his conviction.
    Fixing Florida’s criminal justice system requires more than building opposition to the death penalty or funding reviews of death penalty cases through the Innocence Project. It requires providing high quality public defenders to those accused of crimes. Bazelon reports that Florida’s death penalty defenders are some of the worst in the nation, and have allowed clients to go to death row without ever meeting them or responding to their letters.
    Unfortunately, this means spending more money on criminal justice, not less. Organizations like Gideon’s Promise are helping young lawyers become public defenders and trying to improve the profession. One modest saving grace in Florida’s atrocious law is modest funding for public defense in northern Florida, but it’s far less support than the state needs to ensure that people facing the death penalty get a fair trial.
    I had a conversation the other day with advisors to Northeastern University’s NuLawLab, which is dedicated to the idea of providing affordable legal services to all 7 billion people on the planet. One of the advisors expressed interest in the idea that new data sets could help make the case that failing to provide people with adequate representation has higher costs than representing them well – i.e., someone who might have fought for their home with legal counsel ends up creating societal costs through needing housing assistance. I’m supportive of the concept, but I worry that such an economic analysis needs to incorporate human rights. It’s cheaper for Florida to fail to represent indigent defendants and rapidly push them to execution than it is to represent them well and give time for the Innocence Project and others to try to establish their innocence. The only cost is the lives of people unlucky enough to be innocent but convicted of murder in Florida.

    I encountered Bazelon’s story through This American Life, which ran an excellent set of short, timely stories around the theme, “This Week”. I’m normally grumpy when TAL denies me the long-form stories I so love, but grateful they featured this story.

  • MEMO: Understanding the Latino Youth Vote in 2012

    by Dallas

    Today, the Black Youth Project releases its latest memo: “Understanding the Latino Vote in 2012.”
    This analysis pays special attention to how Latino youth engaged in the 2012 presidential election.
    The results show that Latino youth turnout increased for a third year in a row, and that they were very effectively mobilized.
    Latino youth also had a a highly polarized view of the Democratic and Republican tickets, and showed overwhelming support for Barack Obama.

    “Understanding the Latino Youth Vote in 2012″ is the 10th in a series of memos entitled Democracy Remixed: Black and Latino Youth: the Future of American Politics released by the Black Youth Project.

    Click Here for the Complete Memo 

  • BYP MEMO: Voter ID Laws Disproportionately Impacted Black and Latino Youth in 2012 Election

    by Dallas

    Today the Black Youth Project released its latest memo: “Black and Latino Youth Disproportionately Affected by Voter Identification Laws in 2012 Election.”
    The new analysis finds that voter identification laws are applied unevenly across racial groups and have significant discriminatory effects on Latino and Black youth.
    The results underscore the importance of Section 5 of the Voter Rights Act, which requires states with a history of discrimination to receive pre-clearance from the Justice Department before implementing voting law changes.
    The Justice Department had voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas struck down, but the Voting Rights Act provision faces a challenge in the Supreme Court.
    Specifically, research showed that:

    Nearly three-quarters (72.3 percent) of young Black voters were asked for some form of identification, compared with 50.8 percent of young white voters and 60.8 percent of young Latino voters.
    Young Black (64.5 percent) and Latino (57.0 percent) voters were considerably more likely to be asked to show photo identification to vote compared to young white voters (42.2 percent).
    Nearly two-thirds (65.5 percent) of Black youth were asked to show identification in states without ID requirements, compared with 55.3 percent of Latino youth and 42.8 percent of white youth.
    In states with voter identification laws, higher percentages of Black youth (94.3 percent) were asked for ID compared with Latino (81.8 percent) and white (84.3 percent) youth.

    “Black and Latino Youth Disproportionately Affected by Voter Identification Laws in 2012 Election” is the eighth in a series entitled Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics released by the Black Youth Project.
    Click Here for the Full Analysis

  • BYP MEMO: The Political Impact of Young People of Color in the 2012 Election

    by BYP

    Today, the Black Youth Project releases its latest memo: “The Political Impact of Young People of Color in the 2012 Election.”
    This new analysis shows that youth again increased their presence at the voting booth, and this increase was driven largely by high levels of turnout among young Blacks and Latinos.
    Young people of color played an especially important role in President Obama’s re-election. Young Blacks and Latinos supported Obama at rates similar to 2008, while support for Obama among white youth dropped by ten percentage points.
    In sum, focusing on youth as one voting bloc obscures these important differences across racial groups. Any valuable discussion of young voters must be attuned to these patterns.
    Because of the increased percentages of young people of color in the population and in the voting electorate, these populations have played an increasingly important role in selecting the nation’s president, and will continue to do so.
    “The Political Impact of Young People of Color in the 2012 Election” is the eighth in a series entitled Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics released by the Black Youth Project.
    Click here for the full analysis

  • BYP MEMO: The Impact of New Photo Identification Requirements on Young People of Color

    by Dallas

    Today the Black Youth Project releases its latest memo, “Turning Back the Clock on Voting Rights: The Impact of New Photo Identification Requirements on Young People of Color.”
    The new analysis finds that young people of color possess photo IDs at lower rates than whites. Therefore, they will be disproportionately demobilized by the recent spate of photo ID laws.
    Our estimates indicate that turnout amongst youth of color will be reduced significantly in states where such laws have been passed, and the consequences will be of particular importance in battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania.
    Extensive voter mobilization and education efforts will be crucial to ensure high levels of turnout amongst young people in November.
    “The Impact of New Photo Identification Requirements on Young People of Color” is the seventh in a series entitled Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics released by the Black Youth Project.
    Click Here for the Full Analysis

  • BYP MEMO: Race, Youth, and the Gender Gap

    by Dallas

    Today, the Black Youth Project releases a brand new memo; “Race, Youth, and the Gender Gap.”
    The new analysis shows that there is a considerable gender gap in political behavior amongst Black youth. Young Black women turn out to vote at higher rates than young Black men, and hold more liberal views on political matters.
    Heading into the 2012 election, The Obama campaign and other mobilization groups must re-engage young Black women to sustain their high level of political participation. For young Black men, increased mobilization efforts must be combined with an effective messaging strategy that can help convince them that President Obama is committed to working for their interests over the next four years.
    Increasing the turnout of young Black men would not only reduce the gender gap, but it could be an effective way to help secure the re-election of President Obama.
    “Race, Youth, and the Gender Gap” is the sixth in a series entitled Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics released by the Black Youth Project.
    Click Here for the full analysis

  • REPORT: Participatory Politics – New Media and Youth Political Action

    by Dallas

    According to a new report, Black Youth engage in participatory politics online at rates equal to or slightly higher than white, Latino, and Asian-American Youth.
    The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP), under the direction of co-principal investigators Cathy J. Cohen of the University of Chicago and Joseph Kahne of Mills College, today unveiled the findings of the largest nationally representative study to date of new media and politics among young people.
    The national survey questioned 3,000 young people, ages 15-25 on how they use the Internet, social media and engage in politics. Unlike any prior study on the topic, the YPP survey included large numbers of black, Latino, and Asian American respondents, allowing for unique statistical comparisons across race. The data present one of the most complete pictures to date of how young people are using new media in new ways to engage politically, providing relevant insights on both the long-term political picture in America and the upcoming 2012 election.
    The study report, Participatory Politics: New Media and Youth Political Action shows that contrary to the traditional notion of a technological digital divide, substantial numbers of young people across racial and ethic groups are engaging in “participatory politics” — acts such as starting a political group online, circulating a blog about a political issue, or forwarding political videos to friends.  Like traditional political acts, these acts address issues of public concern. The difference is that participatory acts are interactive, peer-based, and do not defer to elites or formal institutions. They are also tied to digital or new media platforms that facilitate and amplify young people’s actions.
    Check out the full report and an executive summary below!

    Participatory Politics: New Media and Youth Political Action
    Executive Summary
    Full Report

  • BYP MEMO: “President Obama and the Politics of Change”

    by Dallas

    Today, the Black Youth Project releases a brand new memo; “President Obama and the Politics of Change.”
    The new analysis shows that Black youth believe that significant changes have occurred during the Obama administration, but continue to believe that big change is needed in America. During this time they have also become increasingly skeptical about whether electoral politics can effectively bring about the needed changes.
    Black youth were responsive to the rhetoric of change in the 2008 election, but since then seem to have become more skeptical of whether politicians and political institutions can effectively deliver the change they believe is necessary.
    It will be the task of campaign and community organizations to find ways to both mobilize young people to vote while also engaging them in helping to effect change from the ground up.
    “President Obama and the Politics of Change” is the fourth in a series entitled Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics released by the Black Youth Project.
    Check out the full analysis here

  • BYP MEMO ‘Youth, Race, and Partisanship’: In 2012 No Party Can Take Young Voters for Granted

    by Dallas

    The Black Youth Project’s latest memo examines partisanship in youth voting patterns as we approach the 2012 elections.
    Analysis shows that while young voters are often believed to be overwhelmingly Democratic, partisanship and vote choice vary considerably across racial groups. These patterns have significant implications for how campaign and community organizations mobilize support and turnout among young voters in upcoming elections.
    The study casts doubt on the idea that all youth consistently support the Democratic Party. Youth are not a consistent voting bloc per se, with race, education, income, and gender all serving as important sources of variation in youth voting patterns.
    The memo, entitled “Youth, Race, and Partisanship,” is the fourth in a series entitled Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics released by the Black Youth Project.
    Click here for the memo