ON THE SCENE
It started more than two years ago…When youth after Parkland showed their power many youth became inspired to act. Some learned about events only by luck, though, leaving out countless of us who would have attended events if only we had known about them. We were frustrated - There was no simple place to find resources, events, and information, because they were posted across hundreds of websites. This made it more difficult to become an activist.
SOLVING THE PROBLEM
After March for Our Lives walkouts, youths became energized! Some wanted to make a community, others guides for walk-outs which ultimately spanned to climate action, and another, Zev Shapiro, the idea to create an app to serve as a hub and social network for youth activism- TurnUp. The civic tech landscape showed that there were many useful platforms, but there were none that could solve the entire problem. Activists would have to download too many different apps. Additionally, young people don’t use Facebook – a common organizing tool. We use Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, which are not conducive to organizing.
After briefly coordinating with others on a guidebook for school walkouts, Zev was on a mission to create an app, providing a nexus to propel youth activism into the future.
The future of making the app became 2 plus years of dedication with more and more young people becoming involved with the organization which now has a team of over 600 and growing members - all working to make TurnUp a pivotal new app on the landscape of activism - in time for the 2020 elections!
But, back to the beginning…. There was an advisory board to create, potential donors to find, potential donors to pitch, grants to find and grants to write, national progressive organizations to find and invite to join, presentations, phone calls, emails,… you name it . Lots of communication and fine tuning the mission. All of this work taking more than a year.
Then came some funding… very exciting… from which came the opportunity to find and hire a developer. But there was even more to raise.
Meanwhile the backdrop of our society’s politics, unrest, and social injustices kept mounting until a modern day civil rights movement came forth. And still, youth activists wonder… How do I find protests and actions? How can I get my friends to engage? We felt the pressure and excitement mounting- we need to finish and release TurnUp as fast as we can so that it can be out there to help.
Building off the successes of niche social networks like Strava for cyclists, we are thrilled to be releasing TurnUp, a hub, social network, issue amplifier, and information highway for activism. TurnUp features an activity feed, a map of virtual and in-person events from across the progressive movement, a network of organizations and activists, resources, group messaging, feedback for activists and voting reminders. TurnUp makes it easy to both increase online activism and turn it into offline activism. TurnUp revolutionizes the way young activists communicate.
WE WANT ALL YOUTH ACTIVISTS READY TO ACT!
Youth volunteers have worked in unprecedented ways and with amazing efforts to launch TurnUp. These have included revolutionary strategies like the invention of DM canvassing, and the mapping of every progressive and civic organization, college club, government professor, civics teacher, and youth leader in America. Working together across the country during a worldwide pandemic, youth developed their own brand and marketing strategy.
More About Zev
Zev Shapiro started as a community activist in fourth grade by successfully advocating for equal access to healthy food at his public school. At age nine, he launched his political path by volunteering for the senate campaigns of both Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and served, at 10, as the campaign manager for a Cambridge, Massachusetts School Committee candidate. He has spoken to audiences ranging from small campaign gatherings to large auditoriums about the importance and power of community involvement.
Zev was a featured speaker at Thrivals in Louisville, KY in 2013. At the end of 8th grade, he interned for the Chief of Staff at MA Attorney General Maura Healey’s office; at the end of 9th grade, he interned for the State Director at U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office. He was Elizabeth Warren’s special guest to the State of the Union Address in 2014, and he introduced Elizabeth Warren at the 2017 Massachusetts Democratic Convention.
Zev worked for three years as a leader of the Massachusetts High School Democrats and one year as their liaison to the Democratic Party. He has worked on initiatives to increase the youth audience for traditional media/news sources and has been featured on NPR, The Boston Sunday Globe, The Boston Herald, WGBH, NECN, and other television networks. Zev has also created three award winning National History Day Documentaries.
Zev lives in Cambridge, MA and has two younger brothers. He an avid cycler and tennis player, and plays the violin, viola and piano. Zev is a freshman at Harvard.