What is EMERGE USA?
Emerge USA began as the Center for Voter Advocacy (CVA) in 2006 and since then has worked to create relationships with elected officials throughout the state of Florida. In 2009 we merged with a similarly active group from Texas and became Emerge USA, a registered tax deductible non-profit with 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.
What does EMERGE USA do?
The broad goal of Emerge USA is to take the Muslim, South Asian and Arab American (MASA) communities and other underrepresented communities and training them on how to engage the political party structure so that instead of hoping to have our voices heard from the outside we can guarantee our voices will echo loudly on the inside. Emerge carries out its mission through three unique lines of programming: Emerging Voters, Emerging Data and Emerging Leaders. Each of these is described in more detail below.
With the help of its dedicated volunteers and staff Emerge engages the MASA communities along with other underrepresented communities in the electoral process. The Emerging Voters programs include voter registration campaigns, absentee ballot drives, organizing early voting events and creating opportunities for candidates and elected officials to interact with community members so they can learn about and discuss issues that are important in their local communities.
Emerge has created a database of under-represented ethnic communities in Florida with a focus on registered voters from the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian American communities. Emerge communicates with this database on a regular basis through emails, live and automated polling and collects data on voter trends and issues that drive these communities to the ballot box. One critical area of focus for the organization is continuing to develop this database through increasing its size and the accuracy of the information it contains.
The Emerging Leaders program builds on Emerge’s national training modules through a series of leadership trainings carried out throughout the State of Florida. These sessions are conducted with a select group of participants to create leadership capacity in our community’s youth. The Program aims to excel participating youth through learning from a skilled, professional group of individuals throughout the State such as local elected officials, policy makers, leadership training professionals and other outstanding civic leaders. After completing the Emerging Leaders program, participants are channeled into internships within their local communities and gain the tools needed to participate in civics and the political process. The overarching goal of Emerging Leaders is to create an infrastructure of for Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Americans who are empowered and can directly impact public policy.