Ask any teenager who their favorite comedian is and you’ll likely get an answer. Maybe it’s Sarah Silverman or Chelsea Peretti.
Then, ask them who their favorite politician is. Ask them why.
Mikva Challenge — a Chicago not-for-profit that encourages youth civic engagement — admits that answers to those latter questions are harder to come by.
As part of their ongoing mission to change that, Mikva’s California chapter Action Civics CA is hosting a comedy benefit in Los Angeles headlined by stars who are quite engaged themselves.
Action Civics CA operates by partnering with schools, educators, and students in Southern California to encourage youth participation in the democratic process and their local communities.
Their motto — “Democracy is a verb!” — is designed to emphasize the importance of individual action in local communities and government.
Silverman and Peretti are certainly no strangers to that sentiment.
Silverman has developed a strong activist presence on Twitter. She was one of the most active celebrities during the 2016 presidential election, during which time she campaigned for candidates and spoke at the Democratic National Convention.
“People who change the world aren’t always the president,” Silverman once said in a New York Times interview — a line that could also serve as an Action Civics CA motto.
Chelsea Peretti, most widely known for her role on the TV show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” also frequently speaks out on policy and politics.
The two comedians’ awareness of and engagement with politics make them perfect advocates for Action Civics CA’s cause.
Mikva Challenge is celebrating its 20-year anniversary of working with children in underserved communities. Most of their impact comes in the form of leadership and civics programming they run in area schools that they partner with.
Action Civics CA was much more recently established in 2018 to execute the same mission for teens in Southern California. Their first comedy benefit, held last year, was headlined by Nick Kroll, Natasha Leggero, and Kristen Schaal.
According to the organization’s data, students who participate in Mikva Challenge programming are statistically more engaged in their community and democracy afterward compared to others in their age bracket. For example, 88 percent of program alumni ages 18 to 29 are registered to vote, versus only 59 percent of that same demographic nationwide.
“My experiences with Action Civics CA has not only greatly informed me on politics, but has given me the confidence to speak openly on my views and inform others in my community as well,” said one Action Civics CA student.
All proceeds from the benefit will go to Action Civics CA to fund and grow their programming, including increasing the number of partner schools they work with. The benefit takes place at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on June 20th.
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