40th Anniversary of the 26th Youth Activist Feature: Tobin Van Ostern

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July 1, 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. Democrats are marking that occasion by shining a spotlight on young activists dedicated to improving the lives of Americans and bridging cultural divides.

Just twenty-three years old, Tobin Van Ostern is a trail blazer in the political social media world. Back in 2006, at the age of 18, he partnered with Students for Barack Obama to help 80 online chapters grow to more than 1,000 online and offline chapters across the nation by 2008.

Tobin translated the innovative strategies he used with Students for Obama to his work writing for the progressive youth blog, Campus Progress, where he has covered issues like health care and voter suppression.

When asked about the significance of the 40th anniversary of the 26th amendment, Tobin said:

We (youth) are dramatically optimistic and a generation that takes service as a huge part of our lives.  When young people are empowered by the right to vote to figure out their own futures—we respond and value that important right.

Next week, he’s working with many others to bring more than a thousand youth activists to DC to hear from former President Bill Clinton and the Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, among others. Tobin also participated in the White House Youth Roundtable last week—training young people to become better activists. Tobin remains committed to using innovative solutions to amplify the voices of young people and cultivate a stronger democracy.