Hylah Daly, 18by Vote Civic Leader

18by Vote's Youth Movement Media
4 min readJan 26, 2023

Georgia State freshman Hylah Daly, 19, entered 18by Vote’s Civic Leadership Program with a dedication to activating her community. As an experienced organizer, Hylah was able to grow her skills, become an expert in organizing within her community and develop a strong sense of voice throughout the program.

In high school, Daly was introduced to the world of civic engagement through journalism and writing about issues in her state, county and school. Hylah wrote about local gerrymandering in connection to the division of voting power of communities of color, the effect of the overturn of Roe v. Wade on young people and the power of the youth vote.

Hylah was motivated by local issues like those she wrote about as well as educational bans on history, Black history and books in her community. In her senior year of high school, she began organizing with Georgia Youth Justice Coalition.

Daly said, “It was really sad to see [the educational bans] but that also made it motivating to work to fight against it so that we can still have comprehensive education.”

Hylah worked enthusiastically to speak on school issues to the administration, testify at school boards, and canvass to show young people their voting power. It was during this time Hylah realized her passion for organizing and civic engagement.

During her time with 18by Vote, Hylah hosted voter outreach events, led high-traffic canvassing on campus, and taught about relational organizing in her community. Inspired by relational organizing and the power of sharing information, Daly created unique civic engagement opportunities for young people.

While doing voter registration drives on campus, she gave away donuts for pledges to vote. She registered voters all over campus, even right outside her dorm. Collaborating with fellow Georgia Civic Leaders, she threw a Halloween voter education party. All of which showed a deep understanding of youth needs in civic engagement.

“A lot of young people have a lot of questions. They don’t know how to register to vote and it’s not really taught. You kind of have to go and look for it yourself.” said Hylah. “People would ask me ‘Is this an embarrassing question’ but it’s not embarrassing. It’s embarrassing that we’re not taught this by schools.”

Through this program, Hylah felt she was able to make a difference by teaching people that their voices and vote matter.

Daly said, “I impacted my community by teaching people … that not only does your physical vote matter but also your voice overall matters. A lot of people don’t know the changes they can make or people don’t know the power that getting together for issues can have.”

One of Daly’s favorite parts of being a Civic Leader was directly impacting students on campus by providing resources and registration opportunities, as well as getting to make meaningful connections with young people in her community and within 18by Vote. In addition to building new connections with fellow Civic Leaders through this program, Hylah was able to deepen relationships with friends as she hired and helped them to become Civic Organizers.

According to Daly, the Civic Leadership Program also helped show her that her own voice matters.

“At first I didn’t really think my vote or young people’s votes mattered that much. I didn’t really realize at what level young people vote — we vote less and I learned that if we all vote, it would make a huge difference,” said Daly.

Empowered by her experience, Hylah wants to continue doing more community organizing work. She is now an intern at the Southern Poverty Law Center and is working with a Georgia representative, taking along with her all she learned from 18by Vote and the “strength of knowing that [she has] a voice.”

Hylah encourages young people who are passionate about a cause to tell people about it. Stating the importance of awareness as a catalyst for possible action, Hylah reassures young people there are always people around them “who want to support [them], even if it seems small or very local. There are likely people who care about it.”

To watch Hylah’s video feature on Youth Amplify, please visit the 18by Vote Instagram.