Run for Something Beasts

Young Folks Use Outrage As Fuel to Run for Office

With tech and a growing frustration for the status quo on their side, the youth are united and poised to take over.

Millennials are set to take state and local office positions in record numbers in the coming election cycles. This is a generation that continually proves they’re not messing around. Many are saying the influx of young and new political candidates will spur a ‘wave election’ in 2018, meaning city and local politics will suddenly be inundated with people from more diverse backgrounds carrying fresh perspectives. This could have lasting (we’re talking decades plus) positive change.

Millennials are a digitally-native generation that knows how to use tech. Crowdfunding and Facebook Live are frequent in their political campaigns.

“Young people are running to solve particular problems in their community. They got mad about an injustice they saw, and see municipal positions are the ways to solve the problem,” co-founder of Run for Something, Ross Morales Rocketto, told Curbed.

Run for Something is a new political action committee helping folks under the age of 35 take office. They find candidates, connect them to training organizations, and provide a few with money and staff members. They’re outwardly dedicated to giving women, LGBTQ, and POC people opportunities in political races. The PAC looks for charismatic folks with unusual backgrounds and experiences, and who have progressive values and a good grasp on what their community needs.


Danica Roem
Danica Roem. Photo: CNN


Many Millennial candidates are disenchanted with the current political system and are trying a new technique—talking about the issues rather than their opponents.

Run for Something backed Danica Roem, a 33 year-old Virginian who used a direct, no-bullshit approach to her campaign. Roem, the first transgender woman elected to the State House in Virginia, won by talking about what needed fixing: roads.

With federal and state-level governments often stuck in gridlock, city and local politics actually have a big impact. They are places where politicians experiment with new ideas that can eventually grow.

For example, Michael Tubbs—the 27-year-old mayor of Stockton, California—is piloting universal income on a sample population in his city. The pilot is backed by Facebook. Stockton is located near Silicon Valley, the mecca of tech, and universal income is seen as a remedy for the possible increase in inequality due to automation.

Stay tuned, because the wave is fast approaching and it seems like there isn’t much that will stop it.


Mayor Tubbs
Photo: Courtesy of Mayor Tubbs


Feature Photo: Run for Something


John Legend’s Unlocked Futures Takes Aim at America’s Recidivism Problem

America has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world. John Legend and friends are working to reverse this staggering statistic.

John Legend – the silky-voiced pop star who turns all the heads – is a social justice ninja working hard to reduce recidivism. First, through his non-profit FREEAMERICA, and now with an accelerator program called Unlocked Futures, Legend tackles prison reform with the deep belief that some simple changes can make a monumentally positive impact.

Studies show that the lack of resources available for folks after they get out of prison is likely what leads them back in. Finding a support network and landing a job soon after release will statistically make a formerly incarcerated person much less likely to return to prison.

“Too often are formerly incarcerated individuals locked out of job opportunities because of their past,” Legend stated last spring on New Profit. “I have seen that entrepreneurship is a viable way for formerly incarcerated individuals to build sustainable livelihoods and contribute to their communities and neighborhoods.”

Through a large grant from Bank of America and mentorship from New Profit, Unlocked Futures gives funding and coaching support to formerly incarcerated individuals who are pushing mission-driven organizations and companies.


John Legend with Unlocked Ventures entrepreneurs. Photo: better tarrant


Will Avila, founder of Clean Decisions. Photo: Unlocked Futures.


A few organizations from the accelerator’s first round include an app called Flikshop that makes it easy to send photo postcards to inmates,  Hope House – housing for formerly incarcerated women getting back on their feet – and Clean Decisions, a commercial kitchen cleaning company that employs all formerly incarcerated folks. Will Avila, Clean Decisions founder, says initiatives like Unlocked Futures are what is needed to break the cycle.

“Entrepreneurship is a powerful cycle because almost every returning citizen I know is crafting a business that helps others who have served time,” Avila told Nationswell.

With the success of Unlocked Futures, we get a glimpse of how different a nation built around support networks and second chances can look. It’s innovative, it would save us a lot of money (our prisons cost taxpayers $80 billion a year), it would make a lot of families happily whole again.

Go here to read up on Unlocked Venture’s first round of kickass entrepreneurs.


Feature photo, left to right:  James Monteiro, Topeka K. Sam, Jason Cleaveland, Marcus Bullock, Dirk Van Velzen, Amanda Alexander, Will Avila, and Teresa Hodge (Photo: Unlocked Futures)

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