As her Action Project, Senior Fellow Irene Franco Rubio created “If You’re Feelin’ Civic” – a youth digital community organizing hub for BIPOC activists and organizers to use as a digital resource to learn about social issues not traditionally covered by mainstream media, and build intersectional community for historically and intentionally marginalized groups.
About the Project
“We provide a resource hub that is inclusive of everyone regardless of their engagement in social justice,” Irene summarizes the project.
If You’re Feelin’ Civic seeks to create a world where young people of color recognize the power of their voices, lead the movement for social justice, and encourage our communities to become more civically engaged. Irene addresses this problem by providing young people in underserved regions with access to social justice education, political consciousness, civic engagement and community organizing opportunities and ultimately educating and empowering the next generation of activists.
Inspiration behind the Project
If You’re Feelin’ Civic speaks directly to young activists and organizers in Phoenix, Arizona, because, as Irene explains, these groups are the most impacted by underfunded and inequitable systems. “Our aim is to empower these young people to take up space as advocates and to guide their efforts in making a difference for their communities,” she adds.
“The project was created with the intention of empowering young people of color like Irene who feel powerless and are in pursuit of finding the power of their voice.”
This mission and organization is inspired by Irene’s lived experience as a young woman of color of Guatemalan and Mexican descent. Irene felt powerless as a young woman of an underserved background, as the daughter of immigrants, first-generation American, and as a low-income youth growing up in poverty. She experienced housing insecurity and a lack of an equitable education or adequate support systems.
If You’re Feelin’ Civic was thus created with the intention of empowering young people of color like Irene who feel powerless and are in pursuit of finding the power of their voice and developing their social and political consciousness.
“I asked organizers about their needs, what they recommended, and really began to be intentional about what this project would look like…”
By beginning in her role as a grassroots community organizer in the movement in Phoenix, Irene began to assess what she felt was missing and how she could best support and empower other young people like herself. “I asked organizers about their needs, what they recommended, and really began to be intentional about what this project would look like and what it would mean to young people in Phoenix,” she explains her process.
In order to create an effective digital hub and communications framework, Irene needed support to craft strategic messaging, graphics, and website design that resonated with youth audiences. She raised funds by applying to grants, such as the March for Our Lives Aid & Alliance grant that provided her with 15 thousand and connected her to a partner organization in Phoenix committed to the same mission and purpose. Together, they invested in the production of a website, social media design and a curriculum to engage youth within our organizations collectively.
“I’ll always continue this fight in movements for the true liberation and justice of all our historically oppressed communities.”
About the experience
Irene conducted a storytelling workshop through If You’re Feelin’ Civic with Puente Youth members to support young students of color in crafting their story of self. “It was a beautiful experience to hear about their stories, what they’re inspired by, and about the world they seek to create as young activists,” she describes this experience. “It reminded me precisely why I began this work and why I’ll always continue this fight in movements for the true liberation and justice of all our historically oppressed communities.”
As of August 2023, the project remains in progress. Updates are to be shared through the If You’re Feeling Civic Instagram page.
Updated August 2023