Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote and MTV Partner to Honor High School Students with a National Virtual Prom for Changing the Culture Around Voting
(Washington, DC) Today, When We All Vote, a national nonpartisan organization, announced that 20 high schools won the 2020 Prom Challenge and a national virtual prom, in partnership with MTV. During a Zoom meeting, Co-Chair Michelle Obama surprised members of the Class of 2020 to share that they won the challenge, and that When We All Vote and MTV would partner to host a Prom-athon on Friday May 22, 2020. Due to Covid-19 and the cancellation of proms around the nation, this virtual event will celebrate the Class of 2020 and shine a light on the high schools and students who organized the most creative nonpartisan voter registration efforts in the country as part of When We All Vote’s My School Votes Program and the 2020 Prom Challenge.
The Prom-athon will kick off with an all-day on-air takeover on MTV featuring prom-themed throwback movies and short-form original content highlighting the winning schools and students. Following the takeover is the virtual prom party, which will live stream digitally at 9pm ET on MTV’s YouTube. Surprise celebrity guest appearances and live performances from some of the world’s biggest artists will make the special night unforgettable.
When We All Vote’s My School Votes program and MTV launched the 2020 Prom Challenge in January as a grant competition to challenge and recognize high schools that committed to boosting voter registration in their communities. Schools across the country, from Riverside, CA to Philadelphia, PA all the way to Miami, FL, submitted applications for the 2020 Prom Challenge.
At Norte Vista High School in Riverdale, CA, students have registered nearly 1,000 people to vote in their school and community. At TF North High School in Calumet City, IL, students worked with their state senator to amend the election code to allow students two hours away from school to vote without any penalty. The governor signed this bill at the school. In Florida at Hialeah Gardens High School, students registered hundreds to vote and created teams to collaborate with fellow student leaders from other schools to ensure their peers are registered and ready to vote.
2020 Prom Challenge Winners:
- Dobson High School (Mesa, AZ) invited celebrities like Natalie Portman to visit their school and help bolster registration rates.
- Western School of Science & Technology’s (Phoenix, AZ) Prom Committee organized to register 84% of seniors to vote.
- Norte Vista High School (Riverside, CA) began registering members of their community to vote after all eligible students were registered.
- Compton Early College High School (Compton, CA) has made it their mission to pre-register and register every 16 and 18 year old, and nearly 100% of seniors have registered.
- Community Charter Early College High School (Lake View Terrace, CA) informed students about how to register to vote and important election information during daily announcements, homeroom and government courses.
- Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School (Washington, DC) made registering to vote a part of school spirit, and registered 100% of the senior class.
- Hialeah Gardens High School (Hialeah Gardens, FL) hosted a voter registration drive where nearly 200 students registered to vote and continue to organize digitally.
- Meadowcreek High School (Norcross, GA) changed the culture around voting in their school through “Woke Wednesdays,” where they educated one another about local voting laws, elections and other important issues.
- TF North High School (Calumet City, IL) worked with their state senator to amend the election code, giving students two hours away from school to vote without penalty.
- Muchin College Prep (Chicago, IL) registered 98% of eligible students through lessons on the history and importance of voting.
- Communication and Media Arts High School (Detroit, MI) created a Voting Squad and hosted two days of action that resulted in 99% of eligible students registering.
- John F. Kennedy High School (Winston-Salem, NC) created a culture around voting in their school by promoting voter registration during open houses, parent-teacher conferences and other school-wide events.
- R.J. Reynolds High School (Winston-Salem, NC) started having conversations as a school community about voting, and nearly 100 students have registered to vote.
- Valley High School (Las Vegas, NV) hosted events during lunch around voting, and about 250 students registered to vote.
- Cass Technical High School (Detroit, MI) registered more than 400 students through pep rallies and other events.
- STEM Academy at Showalter (Chester, PA) students are going beyond their school, and registering community members to vote as well.
- Abraham Lincoln High School (Philadelphia, PA) students celebrate their “Almost” 18th birthdays by registering to vote.
- Building 21 High School (Allentown, PA) integrated voter registration into their US Government course.
- Westbury High School (Houston, TX) students created a video to dispel myths about voting as a school community and encourage one another to not only register, but show up for local and national elections.
- Golda Meir High School (Milwaukee, WI) students who are registered marched to city hall to rally around the power of the youth vote.
My School Votes aims to empower educators and students to change the culture around voting in their schools, and ensure that all students are registered and ready to vote in every election. Since launching in 2019, nearly 4,000 students and educators have signed up to create My School Votes teams at their schools. More than four million young people will turn 18 before the 2020 general election, and this prom will also be an opportunity to get registered and ready to vote. Viewers of the Prom-athon can RSVP to the event and register to vote at prom.mtv.com.
ABOUT When We All Vote:
When We All Vote is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit that brings together citizens, institutions, brands, and organizations to increase participation in every election. We are committed to closing the race and age voting gap and empowering all eligible voters to cast their ballot by harnessing grassroots energy, establishing strategic partnerships, and implementing digital organizing strategies.
Launched in 2018 by co-chairs Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monáe, Chris Paul, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw, When We All Vote is changing the culture around voting using a data-driven and multifaceted approach to increase participation in elections.
In the months directly before the 2018 midterm elections, When We All Vote organized 2,500 local voter registration events across the country, engaged 200 million Americans online about the significance of voting, and texted nearly four million voters the resources to register and get out to vote.
In 2019, When We All Vote announced its new celebrity co-chairs and media partners who will help to reach people where they are and ultimately change the culture around voting.
MTV is the leading global youth media brand across every platform with operations that span cable and mobile networks, live events, theatrical films and MTV Studios, a unit focused on developing series for SVOD and linear distribution partners.
MTV’s +1thevote is encouraging potential first-time voters to register and vote in the November national election with a year-long campaign focused on making voting more social, easier and part of the milestones already happening in their lives.