PHOENIX – The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office is celebrating three outstanding nominees for the state’s 2022 John Lewis Youth Leadership Award.
“These three individuals, along with the other nominations we received this year prove that the next generation is committed to civil rights issues,” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said. “It is inspiring to see how so many young people in Arizona are using their voice to bring about change and improve the communities around them.”
This year’s winner is Anusha Natarajan. Her primary focus is on increasing civic engagement for underserved and underrepresented youth in Arizona, specifically related to voting and political engagement. She is currently serving as an Andrew Goodman Fellow at Arizona State University, where she is advancing student civic engagement and has been pivotal in developing a coalition of student government officers and leaders of a wide range of student civic and advocacy-oriented clubs and organizations.
“In almost twenty years as a civic educator, I have rarely gotten to work with such a selfless, community-minded student like her,” said Alberto Olivas, founding executive director of the Congressman Ed Pastor Center for Politics & Public Service at Arizona State University. “In just a few short years, she has driven an aggressive voter education campaign that has revolutionized student civic participation not just for ASU, but for the benefit of other colleges and universities, and K-12 schools as well. Our student voter registration and turnout rates have increased dramatically in the past few elections, and I am sure this is in no small part due to her efforts.”
This year’s honorable mentions are Natalie Collings and Greyson Taylor.
Natalie is the voter registration supervisor for Mohave County and has been a member of the Voter Registration Department for two years. During this time, she has been involved with voter outreach activities and has studied state and federal voting laws and has attended trainings offered by the State of Arizona to further her education in elections. She helps coordinate voter outreach activities in local community events and assisted living facilities to provide voting information, registration, and assistance.
Greyson is currently a graduate student pursuing an MBA at Grand Canyon University. He is the co-founder and director of the African American Reconstruction LLC, which is an organization dedicated to the advancement of the African American community. He also serves as the executive assistant for the State of Arizona’s Commission of African American Affairs. Greyson helps register voters and leads civic engagement workshops.
First announced in May 2021, the award was created as an initiative by the National Association of Secretaries of State to honor the life and achievements of the late Congressman John Lewis and aims to inspire Americans by awarding a civic-minded young person in each state who exemplifies public service and advocacy for civil rights. Submissions for nominations closed on Sept. 9.