Vallejo’s participatory budgeting initiative drives meaningful civic engagement among people of color and other underrepresented groups. Participatory budgeting (PB) – a democratic process through which communities can make choices about how to spend some portion of a public budget — is gaining momentum nationwide. In 2012, Vallejo, California implemented the first city-wide PB process in the nation, which stands out for funding program investments as well as capital projects. The process is designed to maximize civic engagement, especially among groups historically underrepresented in the city’s governance and decision-making. PB Vallejo is open to all city residents ages 16 and over, regardless of immigration status or prior conviction record, and includes language access resources for the city’s largest linguistic groups. PB has been shown to increase the likelihood of eligible residents to vote in regular elections. During its first five cycles, PB Vallejo has engaged more than 20,000 residents to allocate over $8.3 million of public funding. Learn more.
Photo: Element5 Digital/Unsplash
“ When we are fighting for young people throughout Oakland to have the right to vote, we are leveling the political playing field.”
A coalition of youth organizers in Oakland, California, launched Oakland Youth Vote — a campaign aimed at securing voting rights for 16- and 17-year-old residents. Ixchel Arista, a recent graduate of Oakland High and a 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.
Photo: Felix Uribe