Advancing Youth Voter Participation and Civic Engagement in the Bay Area

Dear Atlas users,

Throughout American history, youth-led movements have brought about significant social transformation. Our latest feature story highlights how Bay Area youth are ensuring they are represented and included in local politics. Here’s a look into their efforts and other updates from the Atlas:

Landmark Settlement Reached on Behalf of Californians Struggling with Pandemic Rent Debt

The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE Action), Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), and PolicyLink — represented by Western Center on Law & Poverty, Public Counsel, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and Covington & Burling LLP — have settled a major lawsuit against the California Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) over the administration of the statewide Covid-19 rent relief program. In June 2022, the advocacy groups sued HCD for several systemic failures in the program, including a confusing application process that led eligible tenants to be wrongfully denied assistance. In total, more than 460,000 California renter households applied to the program, with 89,000 of those applicants being Bay Area tenants. More than 100,000 households across the state are still waiting for a decision on their applications, according to our analysis of program data. The agreement requires HCD to give pending and denied applicants a fair chance to receive Covid-19 rental assistance. To learn more about the settlement and what it means for tenants, visit

In Focus: Youth Voter Engagement in the Bay Area

From demanding gun-control legislation to rallying support for climate justice policies, young people across the nation have led the way on social and political change. In Oakland, California, a coalition of youth organizers is behind Oakland Youth Vote — a campaign aimed at securing voting rights for 16- and 17-year-old Oakland students. Ixchel Arista, a recent graduate of Oakland High and youth organizer with Oakland Kids First (OKF), has been an integral part of the movement. She and other young activists helped push for the landmark passage of Measure QQ in 2020, which lowered the voting age to 16 for local school board elections and made Oakland the largest jurisdiction to approve of 16-year-old voting in any form. Although Ixchel will be heading to college soon, she says that she’ll continue to support efforts to get more young people civically engaged. Learn more about her story.

Ixchel Arista, a Bay Area youth organizer, poses for a photo in Oakland. Photo: Felix Uribe

Atlas on the Road

As a living resource, we connect with groups across the region to increase awareness of the Atlas and build local leaders’ capacity to use the tool. Here’s a brief look at some of our recent presentations: On June 15, Michelle Huang and Simone Robbenolt facilitated a session at Governing for All: California, a convening hosted by the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) in partnership with PolicyLink and State of Equity. During it, participants learned how to use the Atlas as a tool for finding disaggregated data and local strategies to support their work. On June 13, Ryan Fukumori joined Omar Carrera, the CEO of the Canal Alliance, and Sukey Leshnick, the director of strategic learning and evaluation at the San Francisco Foundation, to facilitate a session about the role of disaggregated data in shaping strategy and policy campaigns during the Leading Locally 2023 Conference in Denver, Colorado. On June 9, he presented during a housing data infrastructure workshop hosted by San José State University and TechEquity Collaborative. On May 26, he showcased the Atlas and shared best practices in research justice and data equity during a training session for Contra Costa Health Services’ Workforce Health Ambassador program participants. And Ryan joined Thrive Alliance's Resource Room on May 23, where he gave a brief presentation on current Atlas research and ways in which local organizations can leverage our data to support their efforts. Interested in hosting a presentation or training? Contact us at

We Want to Hear from You!

If you’ve found any of our data, research, or resources valuable, please let us know. Share your questions, thoughts, and stories with us at

Thank you,

Bay Area Equity Atlas team