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The Center for Youth Political Participation celebrates and supports political learning and engagement among young people through research, public service and education, driven by the potential impact of “Generation Z” on American democracy.
The Eagleton Institute of Politics’ Center for Youth Political Participation at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, advances the political learning of young people and equips them to be active citizens and leaders. For young people to assume their place in the political process, the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of political participation must be taught. Through education, research, and public service, the Center for Youth Political Participation plays a lead role locally and nationally in fostering and promoting the active citizenship and leadership of future generations.
Politics matters to you and you matter to politics. This theme runs through the Center for Youth Political Participation’s teaching, research, and outreach efforts. We recognize though that politics is not always equal.
Our Center believes that Black lives matter, the lives of our students matter, young adults matter, and politics matters.
The Center for Youth Political Participation deplores the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the untold number of Black Americans who have been murdered throughout the nation’s history. These killings highlight the tragic shortcomings of our democracy and American politics. They reflect years of systemic discrimination and institutional racism that have pervaded our democratic institutions and practices, not only in systems of law enforcement but in systems integral to a healthy democracy including access to the ballot. Such systemic discrimination has resulted in generations of inequity based on race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation. The political process and the decisions made by those in power have consequences, some of them deadly.
At the same time, the courageous acts of protest and expression by young people across the country, including our Rutgers students, have been absolutely inspirational, underscoring the political impact of speaking up and taking action. As they have on so many occasions and on so many fronts, young adults are leading the way – pushing us to put our democratic ideals into practice.
We take this moment to reflect on the ways in which we’ve failed to do enough to support diversity and inclusion in our own work to equip and encourage young adults to be democratic citizens. We also take this moment to critically examine how our Center can make anti-racism and equitable access to all facets of democracy a reality in our teaching, our research, and in our efforts to register, educate, and mobilize young adults.
This statement is just a first step.
Elizabeth C. Matto, Ph.D.
Associate Research Professor
Center for Youth Political Participation, Director
Program Coordinator, Center for Youth Political Participation
Eagleton Institute of Politics
Our work is driven by a team of faculty, staff and Rutgers students. Working as interns, participating in the Darien Civic Engagement Project and assisting as volunteers, students are at the heart of our team. Meet them here.
Thank you to our generous sponsors:
KPMG Foundation on behalf of Salim Allibhai
Maury Lieberman and Leslie Scallet
Nevin Kessler and Mark Skesavage
New Jersey Education Association
Office of the President, Rutgers University
Office of the Chancellor-New Brunswick, Rutgers University
Office of Student Affairs, Rutgers University
Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Rutgers University
Professor Edith Neimark
Steven and Susan Darien
The Darien Fund for the U.S. Constitution, Citizenship, and Civic Engagement
The League of Women Voters of New Jersey
For information about how to contribute to the Center for Youth Political Participation, contact Sue Nemeth at (848) 932-8593 (work), (609) 647-7961 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org.