On June 22, the Andrew Goodman Foundation recognized five young campus leaders from around the country for their dedication to ensuring fellow college students have access to polling places and voter registration services.
Among the five honorees was LSU’s Zoë Williamson, a native of St. Francisville and May graduate of the Manship School of Mass Communication.
“We are so proud of the work Zoë has done to engage students and congratulate her on this tremendous, well-deserved honor,” said Martin Johnson, Manship School of Mass Communication dean.
The Hidden Heroes Award honors The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s outstanding Vote Everywhere Ambassadors and Puffin Democracy Fellows for demonstrating a commitment to continuing Andrew Goodman’s legacy of expanding civic engagement and defending democracy in their communities. More than 100 of these civic leaders from around the country were considered for the award. Vote Everywhere Ambassadors are college students from schools around the country who lead voter campus registration drives, Get Out the Vote efforts, and remove the barriers that student voters face. The Puffin Democracy Fellows, the Foundation’s newest leadership program, work on innovative and impactful projects to expand voting rights and social justice in their local communities and nationally.
Williamson studied political communication at LSU with a minor in political science. She served as a Governor’s Fellow in Louisiana government and worked in the governor’s communication office. She previously served as LSU Student Government’s director of communications. As a Vote Everywhere ambassador, Williamson helped lead Geaux Vote in expanding the organization’s structure, social media presence, and cadre of volunteers; integrating voter registration into everyday student life and registering 2,500 students to vote; and creating one centralized polling place on LSU’s campus to make casting a ballot more accessible for all of LSU’s students.
The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s awards ceremony took place during the foundation’s fifth annual National Civic Leadership Training Summit, where students from 59 campuses around the country meet to train and prepare Vote Everywhere Ambassadors for the upcoming school year. The event features workshops and lectures with staff, alumni and expert speakers. The summit also commemorates the 55th anniversary of Andrew Goodman’s murder by the KKK in Mississippi while registering African Americans to vote.
“This year’s Hidden Heroes award ceremony comes at an important time in our country’s history as more states push to restrict voter registration efforts. These extraordinary young leaders, along with all of our Vote Everywhere Ambassadors and Puffin Democracy Fellows, are standing at the front lines of these battles,” said Sylvia Golbin-Goodman, the executive director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “We are in awe of their dedication and fearlessness in the face of these efforts and we couldn’t be more honored to recognize these outstanding young people.”
Other recipients of the Hidden Heroes Award included Jacqueline Beveridge, Georgetown University; Yark Beyan, Stony Brook University; Rebecca Diaz, Miami Dade College — Wolfson; and Ava Mazzye, Bard College.