Democracy Summer!

Applications for Democracy Summer 2024 will open in March.

To be notified when applications open, please fill out this interest form!

About Democracy Summer:

The Democracy Summer project seeks to bring about political change in America by training and deploying the next generation of Democratic organizers and leaders to win elections at every level. This one-of-a-kind Democratic Fellowship—founded by Congressman Jamie Raskin but now undertaken across the country—teaches high school and college students state-of-the-art tactics in voter registration and political organizing, the dynamic history of political and social change in our country, and essential lessons for political leadership. 

Democracy Summer expanded nationally for the first time in 2021 in an historic partnership with the DCCC and campaigns of Democratic Members—and in the 2022 election cycle, we recruited more than 1,000 Democracy Summer Fellows across 65 partner campaigns to participate in a full-blown pro-democracy, pro-voting rights curriculum on the history of movements for social change and all the state-of-the-art techniques for Democratic political organizing today.

Last year, our virtual curriculum featured lectures from academic luminaries like Harvard Professor Alex Keyssar, who spoke on his books The Right to Vote: The History of a Contested Right and Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?; experts in their fields like renowned election lawyer Marc Elias, who spoke about combatting rampant voter suppression; and labor leaders like the Executive Director of the Labor Heritage Foundation, Elise Bryant, who gave our Fellows insight into the cultural and artistic dimensions of the labor movement.

Now in 2023, we are poised for yet another massive expansion as we galvanize the next generation of true-blue Democrats in this exciting educational and political program that has helped win countless elections over the past 15 years.

In prior years, the Program has also featured conversations on topics such as the climate crisis, gun violence prevention and the power of the NRA, the assault on reproductive freedom, wealth inequality and tax policy, immigration and refugee policy, the Electoral College and the National Popular Vote campaign, redistricting and gerrymandering, the domestic budget and the military budget, U.S. foreign policy and Congressional power to declare war, education policy, civil rights and civil liberties, and the continuing spread of voter suppression tactics in GOP-controlled state legislatures. Democracy Summer speakers have included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Civil Rights leaders Bob Moses and Rev. William J. Barber II, Prof. Laurence Tribe, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Rep. John Lewis, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and many more.

Program Structure:

To ensure Democratic Members and young Democrats in their districts can still get involved in non-election years, we are offering a virtual-only “Scholars” option in addition to our traditional fellowship. The “Scholars” option is primarily for Members whose campaigns are not yet ready to assimilate Democracy Summer Fellows in 2023. Those that are ready can host Democracy Summer Fellows. 

Fellows

This six-week program will take place from Monday, June 26, 2023 - Monday, August 7, 2023. Fellows will commit to participating in approximately 4 hours a week of virtual seminars, discussions and workshops, and an additional 5-10 hours a week of in-person organizing with their campaign. In collaboration with the other Fellows from their district, Fellows will also host at least one voter registration or voter education event. Members of the House will choose their own campaigns’ Democracy Summer Fellows. This option is available in select districts in 2023 where campaigns are up and running. 

Scholars

This six-week program will take place from Monday, June 26, 2023 - Monday, August 7, 2023. Scholars will commit to participating in approximately 4 hours a week of virtual seminars, discussions and workshops. They will also host at least one voter registration or voter education event in collaboration with the other Scholars from their district, and scholars will have the opportunity to attend a meeting with their Congressperson and campaign staff. This option is entirely virtual. Scholars will need to be nominated by their Member of Congress.

Applicants in districts without a participating Member or Partner Campaign or in (temporarily) Republican districts can apply directly through our general application when it opens in late March. This option is open to all districts. 

Stay up to date about Democracy Summer by following us @NatlDemSummer on Twitter and Instagram!

For questions about this program, please contact our National Director, Madeline Kracov at Madeline@JamieRaskin.com
 

Testimonials:

"Democracy Summer educates the next generation of political leaders and provides a vehicle for the participants to put their skills to work in their community. Our previous NJ-11 Fellows canvassed, organized community outreach programs, helped reach young voters on social media, and conducted valuable research. I am proud to have been an inaugural partner campaign and look forward to welcoming the next class of Democracy Fellows to join my team this summer. Thank you to Rep. Jamie Raskin for creating and supporting this program."

– Rep. Mikie Sherrill, 2021 and 2022 Democracy Summer Partner

"The Democracy Summer Fellows brought incredible energy and innovation to my campaign, and I am very grateful for their hard work. It was an honor to have the fellows present for my campaign office opening with Speaker Nancy Pelosi so she could hear their stories and passion. I highly recommend that other progressive campaigns take advantage of this excellent resource." 

-- Rep. Mike Levin, 2021 and 2022 Democracy Summer Partner

"I really enjoyed being able to have opportunities to participate in both national programming and practicums. Both of them gave us opportunities to hear from extraordinary speakers and learn about important topics related to preserving our democracy such as voting rights. This is an experience I will carry for a very long time."

-- Michael, 2021 Fellow

“This experience was totally life changing. Listening to all of these important political figures and great leaders of our world lifted me to see the ability of youth change. The special thing about democracy summer is its ability to bond youth from across the country.”    

-- Skyler, 2021 Fellow

"Through the program, I learned not only how small grassroots campaigns are run, but also what to do after the polls close. I learned that small groups of determined people, of any age, can make a large impact. The program gave me a roadmap for making change."                             

-- Drew, 2020 Fellow

"You learn from these amazing people everyday at Democracy Summer with their questions and answers. I can say there's never been a day at Democracy Summer when I didn't learn something new. Being surrounded with this uplifting group of people inspired me to create a politically active club at my school...Democracy Summer isn't just something you do and leave, it inspires you to continue what you learned and use it in the world to change it into a better place. My time at Democracy Summer was truly my most life-changing experience yet. I now hope and aspire to stay continuously politically active and aware." 

-- Adesola Adelegan, Democracy Summer 2019 Fellow