Contact: Maliha Sadiq
Cell: 917-515-3166 Office: 312-863-6343

January 5th, 2016

Post-Millennials Head to Iowa for First Taste of Presidential Politics

 Too young to vote, hundreds of young people head to Des Moines to campaign, tell their stories

Iowa 07-0020Des Moines, Iowa – Defying stereotypes of apathy, hundreds of youth from all around the country will head to Iowa this January 15-17th to campaign for the candidates of their choice and to discuss how to encourage candidates to talk more about issues they care about such as education, immigration and police brutality. For the first time, Mikva Challenge will have students from not just Chicago, but also from other parts of Illinois, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Milwaukee and Houston, to come together and knock on doors, phone bank and rally support for the candidates they align most strongly with in this upcoming presidential race. They will also participate in Mikva Challenge’s Youth Issues Summit at Drake University to discuss many of the top issues young people face nationally and how youth can be involved in this election regardless of whether they can vote next November.

Lydia Dibissa, is a junior at Amundsen High School, Chicago, and a recent immigrant from Ethiopia. She’s been disappointed with leaders from her home country and wants to get involved in American politics to renew her confidence in democracy.

Victor Rodriguez is a senior from Westinghouse College Prep, Chicago, and a political junkie in his own right. He’s heavily involved in the IPO in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, and campaigned on his own for Chuy García in last year’s mayoral race.

Karla Martinez
 is a Christian conservative from Coachella, CA, who will be supporting Ted Cruz. She’s a recent immigrant to the U.S. and got interested in American politics when she helped prepare her father for his citizenship test.

Amelia Haynes is from Long Beach, CA, and got motivated to be involved in politics when she protested Proposition 8 (same sex marriage ban) in California with her two moms. She now wants to address issues at the national level through this trip.

Joseph Staten is a senior at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Washington D.C who failed his 11th grade year and was held back, but that shock made him focused and determined to seize opportunities coming his way. He is excited to be leaving his hometown for the very first time to be part of this campaign trip. He’s rooting for Hilary Clinton.

DSC06539The five young people mentioned above will be available for interviews leading up to the trip.

Press Opportunities

WHEN: Friday, January 15th, 6:00am
WHAT: Students leave from Chicago for Des Moines
WHO: Youth from Chicago will gather at the Mikva Challenge office to head out for Des Moines

NH 08 Kate Photo017WHAT: Campaigning Day 1
WHEN: Friday, January 15th, 3pm to 5pm
WHO: 200 Youth will go do different campaign offices and begin campaigning for candidates

WHAT: Campaign Day 2
WHEN: Saturday, January 16, 9:30 to 4:30pm
WHO: 200 Youth will go do different campaign offices and begin campaigning for candidates

WHAT: Youth Issues Summit 2016 at the Drake University
WHEN: Saturday, January 16, 6:00pm to 10:30pm
WHO: Youth will come together to hold a mock causes and vote on issues they care most about in this Presidential race

WHAT: Farewell from Iowa
WHEN: Sunday, January 17, noon
WHO: Youth will board buses to head back to Chicago


6,000 young people from 110 schools across Chicagoland participate in Mikva Challenge programs annually.

Named after Abner and Zoe Mikva, the Mikva Challenge is a non-partisan, nonprofit that develops youth to be informed, and active citizens and community leaders. We do this by engaging youth in action civics, an authentic and transformative learning process built on youth voice and youth expertise.