Chicago. August 12: As part of a coalition effort to engage Illinois young people in discussions about how to improve state government in advance of the November 4 election, Austin Coalition for Youth Justice will partner with NextGen Illinois to host a discussion on Wednesday, August 20. The free and open discussion, which will target low-income youth ages 16-23, is one in a series of caucuses that NextGen Illinois has been hosting throughout the summer. With the objective of generating policy ideas from smaller caucuses across the state, NextGen will convene thousands of young people on September 27 to vote on a youth agenda for the state that will be delivered to state policy-makers and shared among state youth over the six weeks leading up to the election.

“The Austin Youth Caucus creates a space for young people from all over the Austin community to come together and start discussing issues that affect them, with a particular focus on public policy,” says Andrew Born, Director of Community Planning and Data Management for Austin Coming Together. “We hope that participation in the NextGen Illinois project can help to activate young leaders and create the foundation for a broader youth movement that is capable of creating the radical changes needed for a more fair and just city, state, and nation.”  

“The Austin neighborhood was key to Chicago’s struggle for racial justice in the 1960s,” said NextGen Illinois Co-Director Brenna Conway. “As NextGen works with local youth to ensure that all voices and values are reflected in the statehouse, it is as important today as it was for their parents’ generation that the concerns and experiences of traditionally disenfranchised people are elevated in the debate.”

The Austin caucus will take place at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, August 20, at the Austin Resource Center, 501 N. Central Ave. Press are invited to attend to learn more about Austin Coalition for Youth Justice and NextGen Illinois.

NextGen Illinois, a joint project of Roosevelt Institute Campus Network and Young Invincibles, marks the start of a unique civic movement to engage Millennials in the policy issues that effect their lives. Facing a watershed statewide election later this fall, NextGen Illinois convenes caucuses across Illinois that include community-based organizations and youth advocacy groups. The summer caucuses will culminate in a state convention onSeptember 27 where thousands of participants will adopt a youth platform and solutions for Illinois. Policy issues under consideration include education, jobs, money in politics, and voter accessibility. NextGen Illinois is supported with major funding from The Joyce Foundation and Voqal USA.