Democracy is a verb.


American Soapbox Initiative

The 2016 American Soapbox Initiative aims to raise youth voices and participation in the 2016 Presidential Election across the country.

Click here to view speeches from the 2016 American Soapbox Video Competition

Mikva Challenge believes that the voice of young people must be included in our national discourse and the electoral process. This fall, we are calling for youth across the country to get on their soapbox through The American Soapbox Initiative, a program that will inspire over 50,000 young people in over 20 American cities to engage the candidates and their community on relevant issues. 

Over the last 18 years, Mikva Challenge has learned that we forge stronger relationships and community when we learn about what impacts young people and we invite them to engage in meaningful discourse. The American Soapbox Initiative embodies this knowledge; it is a program that elevates youth voice on relevant issues, provides a pathway to electoral participation, and  connects young people to community members and civic leaders.

Youth will present their speeches in classrooms, schools, and city events around the country beginning fall of 2016.

The 2016 American Soapbox Initiative prompt is:

The soapbox speech originates from the days when speakers would elevate themselves to an audience by standing on a wooden crate, or soapbox, to make an impromptu speech about a political topic or community issue. This speech gives the opportunity to persuade the audience to understand, care, act, vote, or speak out on an issue that affects the community.


This election season your voice matters, and Mikva Challenge wants you to get on that soapbox and tell the next president about an issue that affects your community. Your speech might offer a solution, create awareness, ask the audience or elected officials to act, or call the president to action. In two minutes or less, what is the most pressing issue facing young people today, why is it important, and what should be done to address it?


Chicagoland teachers participate in Mikva Challenge programs


of Mikva alumni encourage their friends and family to be politically engaged, vs. only 35% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide


of Mikva alumni are registered voters, vs. only 53% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide


students campaigned during the 2015-16 Election Season


young people served in the Chicagoland area, California and Washington DC


of Mikva alumni continue to volunteer in their communities, vs. only 36% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide


Mikva students serve as election judges each election cycle


students from 117 schools nationwide presented speeches and/or worked on civic action projects

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