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John Lewis Youth Leadership Award

John Lewis Youth Leadership Award

Following the death of Congressman John Lewis, the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award was established, an esteemed honor that celebrates the exceptional contributions of young people they make in their communities. Each year, Secretaries of State across the US have the ability to honor up to two individuals for their impact to their respective communities.

Throughout Lewis’ career as a U.S. Representative, he remained a strong advocate for voting rights and constantly encouraged young people to actively participate in the democratic process. By establishing the John Lewis Leadership Youth Award, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) ensures that his legacy lives on.

The impact of the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award extends far beyond the recipients themselves. By acknowledging and celebrating youth activism, the award inspires other young individuals to get involved and make a difference in their own communities. It sends a powerful message that age is not a barrier to creating change and that every voice matters in shaping the future of our nation.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate and NASS are partnering to give the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award to up to two Iowans aged 25 or younger for their outstanding leadership, dedication, and commitment to civic engagement.

Nominations should demonstrate the following:

  • The recipient must be a resident of Iowa and 25 years or younger at the time of the award presentation.
  • The recipient is recognized in their community for being civic-minded and improving the quality of life in their community.
  • The recipient has shown a meaningful commitment to address civil rights issues, including but not limited to voting rights, and to authentically bring about positive change in his or her community.
  • Examples could include youth leadership in a specific project or program, advocacy, or even literature as the Congressman also won a National Book Award for young people’s literature.

Nominations are currently being accepted through noon March 15, 2024. The nomination form is available below.

*Please note that up to ten pages of additional supporting documentation can be submitted by emailing In the Subject Line please use JLYA – (and the name of the nominee) *