Charter Reform will be on November 2022 Ballot

Dear friend, 

We are thrilled to share that Portland voters will have the opportunity this fall to consider a change to our city government. 

On June 14, the Portland Charter Commission voted to advance a measure amending the Portland Charter to the November 2022 ballot. There was strong support on the Commission, with 17 of 20 Charter Commissioners supporting the measure. 

The measure, if approved, will amend the city charter to: 

  • Establish a mayor-council government, in which an expanded City Council of twelve members focuses on setting policy and approving budgets, while a Mayor carries out laws, and a professional City Administrator manages city services
  • Create four geographic districts, in which three council members will represent each district
  • Allow voters to rank candidates in their order of preference for all elected offices including the offices of City Council, Mayor, and Auditor

The Charter Commission has worked diligently to hear from Portlanders, meet with city employees and local organizations, and use community input to shape their recommendations. Next Up has been honored to support robust engagement and education alongside the Coalition of Communities of Color, hosting more than 22 listening sessions and events. 

Throughout our engagement, we heard our communities calling for change to our systems of local government and elections. Many Portlanders feel that the city government is not effectively responding to their needs and feel the City Council has historically not represented their communities. 

For more information, please visit CCC’s Charter Review webpage, check out our educational materials, or explore the Charter Commission’s website.

2022 May Primary Election Endorsements

We are thrilled to officially announce our slate of candidates who have earned Next Up Action Fund’s endorsement for Oregon’s May 17, 2022 primary election.

We want to elect leaders that come from our communities, share our values, and will fight for young people in Oregon. The people elected to local offices make crucial decisions that affect our daily lives, including determining budgets, funding, and plans for transportation, access to healthcare, affordable housing, climate change, policing, immigration, and so much more. Your vote matters to ensure we are electing local leaders who will fight for us in office.

State Legislature

Wlnsvey Campos, Senate District 18
Khanh Pham, House District 46
Ricki Ruiz, House District 50
Jackie Leung, House District 19
Nathan Sosa, House District 30
Neelam Gupta, House District 38
Janelle Bynum, House District 39
Annessa Hartman, House District 40
Kaliko Castille, House District 41
Travis Nelson, House District 44
Andrea Valderrama, House District 47
Hoa Nguyen, House District 48

Municipal Level

Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Metro Council District 4
Brian Decker, Washington County District Attorney
Stacey Vieyra-Braendle, Salem City Council – Ward 6

Clackamas County

Catherine McMullen, Clackamas County Clerk
Libra Forde, Clackamas County Commissioner #2


Simone Rede, Portland City Auditor
AJ McCreary, Portland City Council Position 2
Jo Ann Hardesty, Portland City Council Position 3

Update your voter registration

Take some time to update your voter registration to make sure you are ready to vote in this upcoming election! Oregonians (that are 16 years old or older and U.S. citizens) can register to vote online here. The deadline to register or update your registration for the May primary is April 26, 2022. To vote for these state legislative candidates, you will need to be a registered Democrat for the primary election.

About our endorsement process

We announced our endorsement process on January 28th on our website and over social media. In each election, we convene an endorsement committee made up of youth cohort members, staff, and board members – with a focus on Black and brown youth – who have decision-making power. This year, the endorsement committee is a paid, full-year commitment to grant more continuity between our primary endorsements and general election endorsements. It is crucial that the community we serve are the ones that get to make these decisions. After a thoughtful process, the Endorsement Committee made recommendations to Next Up Action Fund’s board, who voted to approve their recommendations. 

2022 Endorsement Process

💥 It’s true, our endorsement questionnaire is now live and accepting responses until March 8th at 5pm

Our endorsement committee makes decisions based on questionnaire responses, interview responses, and the overarching goal to amplify and support young people in Oregon to be leaders in their community.

We are particularly interested in races that include candidates and campaigns aligned with our values and people that are under 35 years old, are Black, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Latine, LGBTQIA+, disabled, women, low income, immigrant and people from oppressed communities.

2022 Legislative Session Priorities

During the 2021 legislative session, we supported and championed bills that addressed breaking down systemic barriers to civic participation. We were able to support the passage of numerous bills rooted in racial, gender, and economic justice, such as updating ballot postmark date to election day, the voter language access act, ending slavery, child care for Oregon, the sanctuary promise act, and so many more.

In even number years (like this year) we only have a little over a month to pass critical legislation that will support thriving communities. We’re ready to finish what we started in 2021. We’re pushing to transform our public safety system, end voter disenfranchisement of incarcerated Oregonians, expand access to voter registration online, pass legal representation for Immigrants, and fair wages for farmworkers. Find out more about each policy below and take action by contacting your lawmakers today.

2022 Legislative Priorities

Restoration of Voting Rights

HB 4147

Voting is a civil right. Yet, Oregon still has a law in place from the 1850s that was developed during Jim crow era policies to restrict Black people’s right to vote. In 2022, we have the opportunity to overturn more than a century of voter disenfranchisement. This bill will restore the right to vote to citizens currently serving prison sentences for felony convictions.

Online Voter Registration Modernization (OVR+)

HB 4133

Currently, Oregonians without an Oregon-issued driver’s license must register to vote with a paper form due to a lack of signature on file with the DMV. An expanded online voter registration system (OVR+) allows for registrants to upload an image of their signature and register online with the last four digits of their social security number. With an OVR+ system, more Oregonians will be able to conveniently register to vote and update their registrations.

Fair Shot for All Platform

Passing policies we need the most

We’re proud to be a Fair Shot For All coalition partner. Our work as a coalition is centered on ideas and input from those both historically and currently bearing the burden of unjust systems. In 2022, Fair Shot for All will be focused on: Universal Legal Representation, Transforming Justice, and Farmworker Overtime.

Highlighting Community Stories from Next Up

Our board and youth leaders are the core of Next Up’s community. We’re so grateful for everything they contribute to Next Up, and we want to uplift their voices to our extended community! Below we’ve highlighted six board of directors and youth action team members who shared their stories with our amazing Development Intern, Caroline Gao, who created the following posts and video. Check it out below!

Video interview with Aishiki Nag, conducted by our 2021 Development Intern Caroline Gao

Read on to learn more about Aishiki and 5 other members of Next Up’s community.


Meet Aishiki Nag, a student at Tigard High School and incredible youth advocate! Aishiki is a member of Next Up’s Youth Action Team and participated in our Upturn high school leadership cohort. 

According to Aishiki, “Through the Upturn program, not only did I learn about the basics as a community organizer, but I also was exposed to so many great opportunities! This basic understanding led me to join other grassroots organizations around my area advocating for different policies such as climate resilience and immigration rights.” 

Aishiki epitomizes the youth leadership we seek to uplift and connect with opportunities. We’re so grateful to be part of Aishiki’s journey and for Aishiki to be part of our community!


Meet Josh, a Master of Public Policy student at Portland State University dedicated to building a just, prosperous and sustainable future!Josh is a member of Next Up’s Board Directors.

Josh says, “I wanted to join Next Up’s Board of Directors because of their proven commitment to dismantling systems of oppression and advancing justice and equity here in Oregon. There’s nothing quite as soul-replenishing as amplifying and empowering diverse, young people to not only contribute to that work, but champion it.”

We’re so appreciative of Josh and all the work he does to build a more just future, both in and out of Next Up. 


Meet Danielle, a Climate Justice Organizer with Sunrise Movement PDX and youth leader extraordinaire! Danielle is a member of Next Up’s Board Directors.

In Danielle’s own words, “As a strong believer in the restoration of voting rights of those currently incarcerated, I volunteered with Next Up’s letter writing campaign and quickly began to learn what an incredible organization it is. I have loved the opportunity to engage with youth in spaces that often feel inaccessible to people my age and I have learned so much from each and every individual I have connected with through this organization.”

Danielle shows up for her whole community in so many ways, and at Next Up, we’re grateful to be one of her outlets for positive change! 


Meet Mazie, a student at Northwest Academy and amazing youth organizer! Mazie is a member of Next Up’s Youth Action Team.

Mazie says, “I’m also an organizer with Sunrise PDX and co-facilitate the social justice club at my school. Next Up has been instrumental in how I understand organizing and also how I write testimony and make asks. The lessons I’ve learned at Next Up inform so much of my work, not only organizing, but elsewhere too.”

We are so happy and honored to work with wonderful youth leaders like Mazie!  


Meet Lucy, a Public Involvement Consultant at EnviroIssues and community changemaker! Lucy is a Next Up board member.

Lucy says, “Next Up encourages everyone to show up as their authentic self and to contribute in their own unique way. That shines through in how everyone collaborates together to make a difference.”

We are grateful for Lucy’s advocacy in the community and are lucky to call her part of the Next Up family!


Meet Michelle, Chief of Staff for Senator Lawrence Spence and awesome youth organizer! Michelle is a board member at Next Up.

Michelle says, “I am incredibly thankful for the work that Next Up does to ensure that youth have access to the rights, resources & recognition we deserve and ensure that our voices are heard in all places decisions are being made about us.”

Her biggest takeaway from working with Next Up? “Youth are badass change-makers who can and will determine our own futures.” 🔥

We love working with change-makers like Michelle and are grateful for everything she brings to our community!

Welcome Elona J Wilson as Next Up’s Executive Director

Dear Friend, 

As most of you know, in Spring of 2021, Samantha Gladu announced that she would be stepping down as Executive Director of Next Up and Next Up Action Fund. Thanks to Samantha’s three years of leadership, she collaboratively built a visionary 5 year strategic plan that set strong policies and values in place that will guide us now and into the future through staff and leadership transitions, shifting priorities, and changing political landscapes. Samantha in her time and work at Next Up helped sharpen our focus, deepen and live out our values, and prepare us to continue to build power with young people.

When she told us that she would be stepping down, we began the search for our next strategic and visionary Executive Director.

After a 5 month process, we’re excited to announce that Elona J Wilson will be joining us as our next Executive Director, and has officially started. As supporters of our work, we wanted you to hear this exciting news first and learn more about Elona.

We chose Elona because of her experience in advocacy, fundraising, coalition-building, and her deep commitment to fighting for the issues we passionately work for, such as youth justice, racial justice, and voting rights. She will make Next Up an even more impactful organization as we continue our work across Oregon. 

Elona brings a deep understanding of organizing communities towards self-determination, wellness, justice, and prosperity. From her years at the Coalition of Communities of Color and Stand for Children, she gained deep policy and organizing experience in addressing socioeconomic disparities, institutional racism, and inequity of services experienced by families and students of color. Experienced in electoral campaigns, including ballot measures and candidate endorsements, she has also emerged as a leader in the Reimagine Oregon project, working with Black leaders from diverse backgrounds. Elona knows how important Next Up’s work with partners is to ensure that justice becomes the pillar that holds up our communities here in Oregon.

On behalf of the boards of Next Up and Next Up Action Fund, we want to thank Kenya (Interim Executive Director) and Samantha (Previous Executive Director) for all of their contributions to Next Up. We’re excited for Elona to build on our strong foundation in the coming months and years.

We invite you to send Elona a congratulatory note here!

Let’s continue to work together to build an Oregon where young people boldly lead the state forward, our democracy is inclusive and accessible, and our communities are strong and resilient.

In community,

Luis Velasco, Next Up Board Chair
Michelle Hicks, Next Up Action Fund Board Chair

Our civics education bill is headed to the governor’s desk

One of our priority bills for the session which will address civics education updates, SB 702, passed both chambers and is now headed to the governor’s desk to be signed!

SB 702 would require that during the State Board of Education’s existing review of social studies standards for kindergarten through grade 12, they shall consider emphasizing and making accessible instruction related to civics education, while also involving various community stakeholders in the process to ensure that the educational system is responsive and addressing the needs and ambitions of 21st-century learners. We expect that ODE will use an inclusive, accessible, and equitable process in its engagement of stakeholders. Additionally, SB 702 allows for an in-depth discussion on creating accessible civics education related to:

  • Voting rights and how to vote
  • Current and historical social movements
  • The roles of local governments and tribal governments
  • The United States Constitution, the Oregon Constitution, and the constitutional form of government in this country

Why does this bill matter?

Schools can, and should, play a key role in ensuring that all young people have access to the information and skill-building they need to be engaged and informed participants in our democracy. 

In June 2020, Next Up Action Fund hosted 7 focus groups to hear firsthand about people’s perspectives and experiences with civics education in Oregon. This group of 40 people included current high school students, recent high school graduates (who finished within the last 1-3 years), and high school teachers from 24 different high schools across Oregon. While there was not a singular solution that emerged from discussions, it was extremely clear that a vast majority of participants strongly agreed that civics education is a vital and necessary piece of education and a key piece in addressing inequities in our education system. It was clear that not all participants were receiving the same information or quality of instruction, but all desired to learn how to be active participants in their communities.

Our bill to review social studies standards to include civics education is supported by community organizations such as Forward Together Action, Oregon Student Association, and OLCV. It provides an opportunity for an in-depth dialogue around how to improve our civics standards, that we can include more stakeholders to have a purposeful review of social studies standards, and finally, address any existing gaps of learning.

Thank you to our sponsors

Thank you to chief sponsors Senator Dembrow and Senator Manning Jr.
Also big thanks to regular sponsors Senator Beyer, Frederick, Golden, Gorsek, Representative Alonso Leon, Campos, Dexter, Fahey, Gomberg, Grayber, Hudson, Kropf, Lively, Pham, Reardon, Ruiz, Sollman, Wilde, Williams.

Important Voter Access Bill Passes the House – Updating Postmark Date

CONTACT: Isabela Villarreal,

Today the Oregon House passed HB 3291, which will allow for ballots to be accepted if they are mailed by Election Day.

As an organization that builds political power and strong, effective leadership pipelines for diverse young people we strongly support updating postmark date for ballots. We’re heartened by the Legislature’s continued dedication to common-sense upgrades that preserve the integrity of our elections, expand accessibility, and are pro-voter. There are Oregonians who become non-voters and don’t cast their ballots because they think they are too late to mail the ballot, and dropping off their ballots is a barrier due to mobility/transportation, lack of available dropbox locations, confusion over mailing deadlines. It’s hard for us to quantify deterred votes, but we can eliminate this situation by clarifying the deadline by which ballots must be received. HB 3291 is a simple and effective fix for this issue and one that our neighbors in Washington state already enjoy.

Our democracy must continue to be pushed forward by passing policies that make our election system more equitable. While the passage of this bill through the Oregon House is necessary, this is just one of many important pro-voter pieces of legislation proposed in this legislative session. We hope to see the legislature continue to invest in voters through HB 2499 which will modernize voter registration, HB 2679 which will allow 17-year-olds to participate in the primary election if they are 18 by Election Day, and SB 571 which will restore the right to vote to those that are currently incarcerated.

Next Up Action Fund 2021 School Board Endorsements

Endorsement Background

Please note that an endorsement does guarantee that field (calls or texts) on behalf of the campaign will be done.

It’s time for school district elections! We are particularly interested in races that include candidates and campaigns aligned with our values and are under 35 years old, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, LGBTQIA+, disabled people, women, low income, and people from marginalized communities.

Going into this election we know what’s on the line, and the opportunity that awaits when we elect people who are driven by values of justice. School boards have the power to create and pass budgets and policies that directly affect students’ lives – and play a key role in shaping protections against, and dismantling institutionalized racism, homophobia, and transphobia. Elected members help decide what curriculum (and whose history) is being taught, whether schools take on restorative practices and work to abolish the School-to-Prison pipeline, if LGBTQ+ students are affirmed in policy decisions, if there is access to childcare programs and services for families, and so much more that affects the wellbeing of students. Dismantling white supremacy happens over multiple terrains, and school boards are an integral place to begin undoing institutionalized forms of oppression.

Next Up high school students lead the entire endorsement process for our endorsements for the May 18th election. Our endorsements were made based on initial questionnaire responses, interview responses during our candidate forum, and the overarching goal to amplify and support young people in Oregon to be leaders in their community. Ultimately, our endorsement process included board members, staff, and students currently involved with the organization.


Multnomah Education Service District Director

Position 1, Zone 5: Amanda Squiemphen-Yazzie

Beaverton School Board

Position 3: Ugonna Enyinnaya

Centennial School Board

Position 6: Erica Fuller

David Douglas School Board

Position 3: Hoa Nguyen

Gresham-Barlow School Board

Position 5: Jasia Mosley

Jefferson County School District 509J Board

Position 3: Jaylyn Suppah

Lake Oswego School Board

Position 2: Neelam Gupta

North Clackamas School District

Position 5: Kathy Wai

Salem-Keizer School Board

Zone 1: Osvaldo Avila
Zone 3: Ashley Carson Cottingham
Zone 5: Karina Guzmán
Zone 7: María Hinojos Pressey

West Linn-Wilsonville School Board

Position 3: Kirsten Wyatt

Next Up Action Fund reserved the right to not endorse in any race, because we are using our Mission, Vision, and Values to guide us toward any endorsements. We may decline to endorse in some races entirely. If you have additional questions, please contact Devin Ruiz at

2021 School Board Elections

From now until May 18th we’ll be working hard around School Board Elections – this includes hosting events, candidate forums, and making thousands of calls and texts to get out the vote to amplify student voices. You can find all opportunities listed below, they are all virtual, open to all ages, and free. We hope you join us so we can continue to support the agency and voice of young people.

Virtual Events

Back-to-Basics: WTF are School Boards
Tuesday, April 6th at 6PM

Join us from 6-7:15 PM to hear from a panel of people who are on school boards and organizers to learn the power, importance, and role that school boards play in shaping students lives.

Coast-to-Coast: Lowering the Voting Age
Thursday, April 15th at 4:30PM

Join this very special panel of lawmakers from across the country who will be discussing how lowering the voting age is a bold idea to strengthen our democracy.

School Board Candidate Forum
Thursday, April 22nd at 6PM 

This year we’re going big! Ensuring that candidates will be accountable to students, we’ll be asking over 16 candidates value-driven questions to determine who will best serve the interests, safety, and voice of young diverse people in their schools.

Get Out the Vote 2021

To back up all the other work we’re doing around School Board Elections, we’ll be talking directly to voters and reminding them to turn out on May 18th. Join us for two weeks of GOTV calls and texting.

Sign Up Here for GOTV Text Bank & Phone Banks