Here’s Looking at You 2019!

We are celebrating big changes this year! Next Up has repositioned the organization with the future in mind, making an organization-wide shift so we can continue being the political home for young people heading into 2020 and beyond.

Rebranding and 5-year Strategic Framework
As generations change, so has our organization. The Bus Project taught us that young people can be trusted with power – not as future leaders, but as leaders today. This year we sold the bus and rebranded! We changed our name because we don’t work in transit and we’re far past being just a “project.”

More importantly, we have used this opportunity to shift our organizational culture and get closer to our values. While Next Up has always centered youth voices and championed the leadership of young people, we also acknowledge that we have been complicit in upholding systemic racism and other forms of oppression. Our organization has primarily benefited white voters, emerging political leaders who are white, and public policies supported by white people, which has harmed communities of color. Additionally, our internal culture has been characterized by many patterns of white supremacy culture.

Over the course of the year, our staff, Boards of Directors, and key volunteers engaged in deep and reflective conversations around equity realignment and dismantling white supremacy culture in our organization. Many of these ideas are reflected in our finalized 2020-2025 Strategic Framework. Some specific highlights include:

  • Paying our fellows a livable wage
  • Prioritizing working with people of color-led organizations, organizations/groups dedicated to anti-racist work, and underrepresented constituencies
  • Maintaining a commitment to providing staff with equitable pay and benefits, opportunities for professional development, and empathetic and supportive workplace culture.

We are committed to the challenging and imperfect process of continuous learning (and unlearning) that will be necessary to realize our vision of a more equitable Oregon. Our completed 2020-2025 Strategic Framework is one way we are setting the tone for now and into the future. This will help the organization guard against the disruption of staff and leadership transitions, shifting priorities, and changing political landscapes.

Young People’s Power
We face an uncertain political climate during an unprecedented time. Young people feel their voices are being bogged down by out of state interests and high dollar donors. Next Up knows if we continue broadening the leadership pipeline and addressing the structural barriers that our generations are navigating, we’ll build a more inclusive movement for a just democracy.

In 2019, Next Up:

  • Introduced a bill to lower the voting age to 16, grabbing national headlines and bringing nearly 40 young people to the Capitol for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Rules.
  • Passed paid postage, helping ensure there’s a ballot in the hands of every eligible voter, and that everyone can participate! This simple yet groundbreaking bill is estimated to increase voter participation by an astonishing 5-10% by streamlining the process and removing barriers to voting.
  • Registered and pre-registered over 2,000 people
  • Held organization-wide equity and anti-oppression training with 37 people
  • Hosted 13 events, including our first-ever Art and Activism Marketplace and introduced our Back to Basics series
  • Over 250 volunteer shifts filled and 56 consistent volunteers, meeting monthly
  • Hired a Youth Leadership Coordinator, a staff member dedicated to Next Up’s high school programs. Isabela Villarreal started UPTURN, a new multicultural high school cohort that graduated 23 students in 2019. In 2020, we will graduate 30 students from this program.

We work with an amazing group of diverse young people every day, and they are next up in helping create stronger and more resilient communities.

Thank you for your continued support of this organization! We are so excited to continue building youth power in 2020 and hope to see you at an event soon.

Samantha Gladu
Executive Director