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Fixing Democracy

Envisioning a just, representative, democracy that centers the lived experiences of girls, young women, and gender-expansive young people of color.

The system has failed. It’s time to Fix Democracy.  


In the past few years, we have felt grief and frustration over the steady dismantling of our rights. Many of the hard-won policies protecting reproductive and gender-affirming health care; culturally-responsive, inclusive education; and affirmative action were rolled back, leaving the most systemically marginalized among us even more vulnerable without these basic protections.   

The overturn of Roe v. Wade was a turning point for our organization. We felt the grief and despair. Then, we turned our rage into action.  

We believe that authentic intergenerational activism tenaciously grounded in the powerful, brilliant, fierce, and creative leadership of girls, young women, and gender-expansive young people of color is the pathway to enduring social, economic and political justice, and a truly just and representative democracy. It is time that our democracy reflects the people who are too often invisible and ignored in mainstream polling data. The young people Justice and Joy advocates with and for—girls, young women, and gender-expansive youth of color who have been system-impacted and/or experienced chronic adversity—are rarely seen in the data, even though their lived experiences inform the solutions to our social and systemic problems.  

To this end, we have partnered with Lake Research Partners and HIT Strategies, two notable progressive polling firms that understand the importance of the growing and powerful young, diverse electorate. From February to March 2024, they conducted focus groups virtually and in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles among young women, transgender, and gender-expansive Black, Latine, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Native/Indigenous people ages 16-25 who identified as young mothers, survivors of sexual exploitation, immigrants/refugees eligible to vote, having experience with adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s), and with the child welfare, foster care, juvenile/adult justice systems. 

Through polling and listening intently to these focus groups, we identified 9 key findings. Click to read them down below!

We are working with young people to mobilize their peers to the ballot box and provide the pathway for girls, young women, and gender-expansive young people of color to step into their power as catalysts for change through long term civic involvement. This initiative at scale and overtime will work to build capacity for a youth-led movement that will strengthen the way young people show up and participate in democracy over the long haul, ensuring that future generations do the same. 

We invite you to sign up for our newsletter to learn about our focus group findings as we enter the national surveying and message testing phase of the Fixing Democracy initiative this summer!  

Project Partners

Lake Research Partners and HIT Strategies

Project Funders

The New York Women's Foundation and Tides

Learn more about how we focus on policy and system change, national organizing, and collaborative research and innovative thought.