The power of the vote is at the heart of environmental justice. As advocates for change, we address the need for civic education in urban high schools that don't prepare young people to vote. Our initiatives are youth-led to empower more high school students to be civically engaged in the electoral process.
The youth voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election was the highest in 100 years, especially in Pennsylvania. WPYEJC nonpartisan voter registration drives give high school students the opportunity to have a voice in society and government policy.
Concerned youth who want to "clean and green" neighborhoods in West Philadelphia are motivated to become Junior Block Captains. We support a program for WPYECJ members to meet once a month to report issues, participate in clean-up activities and be mentored by community Block Captains.
WPYEJC members spent their 2021 summer vacation learning how green infrastructure is an approach to water management that prevents pollution from storm water runoff. As an outcome, the students created a plan to transform the grungiest alleys in West Philadelphia into green alleys to protect the local water supply.
Student members of the Youth Council view democracy and the right to vote as a way to advocate for social and environmental justice. Youth believe participation in civic life is essential to maintain a democratic form of government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”