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Justice + Joy National Collaborative Launches ‘Fixing Democracy’








Justice + Joy National Collaborative Launches ‘Fixing Democracy’ to Survey & Mobilize System-Impacted Gen Z Young Voters of Color in 2024 Elections

June 19, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Justice + Joy National Collaborative (Justice + Joy), an intergenerational gender and racial justice advocacy nonprofit, in partnership with Lake Research Partners and HIT Strategies, announces “Fixing Democracy,” the only youth voter study and civic engagement initiative focused on system-impacted girls, young women, and gender-expansive young people of color aged 16-25. 

At 41 million strong, Gen Z is the largest and most diverse generation and will determine the outcome of elections from the president to the mayor. Despite their influence, the voices and views of marginalized girls, young women, and gender-expansive Gen Z voters of color are largely invisible in traditional polling, the media, and political campaigns, even though they are disproportionately affected by public policy. 

Fixing Democracy introduces and centers an invisible segment of the electorate and provides unprecedented insight into the perspectives and issue priorities of young people with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their views on civic and political participation. It also offers a blueprint for systemic change, democratic reform, and intergenerational activism as current and future voters transition to adulthood. 

“Since 1883, we have been at the forefront of supporting the people who hold our country together but are ignored and underserved by mainstream institutions,” said Jeannette Pai-Espinosa, President of Justice + Joy, formerly National Crittenton. “It’s clear that older generations have failed to pass on knowledge and protect the rights of younger generations. In this critical election year, we could not sit idly by, so we formed an intergenerational movement to listen to the young people on the margins and work together to fix democracy.”

“We’ve hosted hundreds of focus groups, and Fixing Democracy is the most significant study of this critical segment of the Gen Z electorate,” added Lake and Nedungadi in a joint statement. “We recently completed the focus groups, and the initial findings have broken every stereotype of what this election cycle means for the future of our country, especially with abortion rights on the ballot in many states. Partnering with Justice and Joy is not just an opportunity; it’s our responsibility as women and leaders in politics. We look forward to how the findings will reduce the invisibility of this demographic.”

Fixing Democracy has garnered support from prominent women, girls, and youth-serving organizations, notably The New York Women’s Foundation and Tides Foundation Advancing Girls Fund. The multi-phase project consists of nationwide focus groups to gauge the issues and values important to this group of voters of color, message testing, and a toolkit and civic engagement campaign for young adults, activists, policymakers, and philanthropic leaders. 

All participants in the focus groups identified as cis, trans, or gender-expansive Black, Latina/Latine, Native/Indigenous, Asian, and Pacific Islander impacted by the child welfare and/or the juvenile justice system, are immigrants or refugees who are eligible to vote, experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), experienced sexual exploitation,  and/or had their first child before 25, and life situations. 

The focus group findings will be released in the summer of 2024. 


About Justice + Joy 

Justice and Joy National Collaborative (Justice + Joy) is an intergenerational, gender, and racial justice advocacy and organizing nonprofit advancing social, economic, and political equity with and for girls, young women, and gender-expansive youth. Our goals are to achieve collective power to advance justice, establish affirming social narratives, and build ecosystems of support. We envision a world where all girls, young women, and gender-expansive youth of color can achieve their potential and live unapologetically liberated lives without fear of violence or injustice.

About Fixing Democracy

Fixing Democracy is a one-of-a-kind study and civic engagement campaign on system-impacted girls, young women and gender-expansive Gen Z voters of color in partnership with Lake Research Partners and HIT Strategies.  From February to March 2024, Justice + Joy conducted nationwide in-person and virtual focus groups among cis and trans girls, young women and gender-expansive young people of color aged 16-25. All participants identified as Black, Latina/Latine, Native/Indigenous, Asian, and Pacific Islander, or immigrant or refugees who are eligible to vote, and volunteered that they live in low-income situations. Fixing Democracy will uncover their issue priorities, values, and perceptions about democratic reform, work with young people to mobilize their peers to the ballot box, and promote intergenerational activism with pathways for young people to step into their power as catalysts for change and lead sustained civic engagement movement. 

About HIT Strategies

As Washington’s leading millennial and minority-owned public opinion research company, HIT Strategies helps leaders and organizations translate their target audiences’ values into real-time insights. We understand America’s fastest-growing electorate and consumer groups and specialize in targeting communities under-represented in public opinion data, including Black Americans, Latino Americans, Millennials + Genz, LGBTQ+, Women, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders. For more information, visit and follow @HITStrat on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  

About Lake Research Partners
Lake Research Partners (LRP) is a nationally recognized qualitative and quantitative research firm with offices in Washington, DC, New York, and California. We have over 25 years of experience in all phases of public opinion research for public entities and private enterprises—from survey research design to analysis and reporting. Our principals are leading strategists with experience serving as tacticians and senior advisors to a wide range of government agencies, advocacy groups, universities, labor unions, non-profits, and foundations across the United States. LRP is a Woman-Owned Small-Business (WOSB) and is certified through the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

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