Lidya Woldeyesus is a second-year student at Tufts University committed to creating opportunities for young people to participate and engage in democracy. Lidya serves as the leader of Tufts University’s nonpartisan voter mobilization and education initiative “JumboVote.” She has a commitment to equity and a responsiveness to the needs of the student community to create opportunities for accessing resources for political engagement. Lidya was selected to participate in a three-year leadership program called the Tisch Scholars, which is part of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. She is the Team Leader for the Tufts Chapter of the Andrew Goodman Foundation, a national organization dedicated to youth leadership development and access to voting. Lidya presented at the National Civic Leadership Training Summit (NCLTS), one of the signature events of the Andrew Goodman Foundation. She is currently working on organizing opportunities for coalition building around political engagement across universities in preparation for the upcoming election.
Growing up in D.C. on Section 8 housing with a hardworking taxi driver and nurse assistant as a father and mother, it was always clear that our wealth and ethnicity labeled us as inferior. It felt like our voices were constantly silenced and disregarded. As I got older, I found my voice and heart in community organizing around police brutality and accountability in my city. We passed legislation in our city council which addressed violence through a public health approach, introduced community policing, and established a database for excessive use of force incidents. This is why I use my voice to help my peers recognize their responsibility to vote because I believe that when we all participate in our democracy, change will come. As the leader of Tufts’ non-partisan university-wide voting initiative, JumboVote, I am motivated by the national and campus-specific data that indicates unprecedented youth voting numbers. I am motivated to work harder when I see young people leading movements and determining elections.