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Empowering Our Youth to Strengthen Our Democracy

We are ecstatic about the strong turnout among Black voters in Virginia's election! And we know we had an impact on that turnout. We reached almost one out of every two Black registered voters in Virginia with our get-out-the-vote messages.

Read more about the results of our Fall 2023 session here!

Students for Justice (SFJ) is a paid internship program that was created in 2020 to engage college students in the struggle to fight systemic voter suppression and to turn out the vote.  It is an initiative of the Center for Common Ground, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization committed to getting out the vote in communities of color in voter suppression states.  


SFJ’s voter outreach is centered on African-American voters in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, and on youth 18-24 more generally.  Our interns are recruited primarily from Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the South and over 90% identify as people of color. 


Students for Justice does three things simultaneously:  

  • It provides an educational experience and professional growth opportunity for college students, including (because it is paid) low-income students.  

  • It accomplishes significant voter outreach, having a very real impact on turnout in important elections.  

  • It educates the future leaders of the fight for voting rights in America.  


Since the summer of 2020 we have provided 449 internships.  Our interns have:

  • recruited 3,000 volunteers to help them write postcards to voters

  • written and mailed over 215,000 postcards to voters with the help of volunteers

  • called 213,000 voters with important information about when, where, and how to vote

  • sent 850,000 text messages to voters

  • reached over 4 million young people via social media with messages about the importance of voting


Our interns:

  • learn political organizing skills by recruiting volunteers to write postcards to voters and by engaging in phone banking

  • learn leadership skills when promoted to managing teams of new interns and by participating in leadership skills workshops

  • learn political marketing skills through workshops and by designing social media outreach to increase voting among youth

  • benefit from a speakers’ series focused on developing an understanding of and involvement in the democratic process

  • are mentored one-on-one by older volunteers who meet with their interns weekly to provide supervision, encouragement, time-management coaching, and career advice


Plans for 2023:  Our next internship session will take place in fall 2023 when we will focus on getting out the vote for the state and local elections in Virginia.

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