March 7, 2017  |  Boston & Cambridge Civic Engagement Education Housing

Julia Mejia and the Determined Divas

In 2015, the FII Family Partner cohort, Determined Divas, launched a civic engagement series to inform, influence and inspire others to become more civically engaged. The civic challenge was inspired by the 2015 Citizens University, which some of our members attended. We were compelled to take lessons learned from that conference to moblize our own communities. Utilizing the resources provided by FII, the group has run a series of voter registration drives, conducted issue-oriented community surveys, hosted a Boston City Council candidates’ forum before the last election, and spearheads Get Out the Vote Campaigns. Determined Divas launched primary and general election voter registration contests.

For the voter registration drives, Determined Divas met with the Board of Elections to learn how to properly register voters and provided training to more than 40 volunteer families. The volunteers relayed the importance of voting to community members which yielded registration of new empowered voters. They also created a series of mobile and social media campaigns to encourage community members to get out the vote.

Extending their reach, Determined Divas partnered with RAYs, a group for youth started by an FII family. The young people worked on mobilizing the youth vote and participated in civic engagement training. This relationship continues to evolve as the youth assume their leadership.

Driven by the results of this work, in 2016, the group hosted a series of civic engagement forums, activities, and trainings — hosting local elected officials and their communities — to address policies impacting issues such as education, affordable housing and homelessness, public safety, community trauma and opportunities for youth.

Thus far more than 600 people have attended various dialogues hosted by Determined Divas and have connected with state and local elected officials and community leaders who engaged in community-led discussions.

“This is about us, as a community, holding our elected officials accountable to the issues that impact us, while we hold ourselves accountable for being civically engaged.”- Determined Divas!

In 2016, we continued to use the social change grant to host the Elected Officials’ Dialogue Series to bring local policymakers, politicians, and the community together to discuss issues important to the community

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