18by Vote Receives ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism

May 24, 2024

Neal Rosenstein, Ava Mateo, and Sebastiaan Faber. Photo Donald Borenstein

In a stirring ceremony on May 4th, the youth organization 18by Vote, represented by its President, Ava Mateo, received the 2024 ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism. The gathering, which took place in the historic building of the Spanish Benevolent Society on New York’s West 14th St that houses the ALBA office, also featured two previous award winners. Kate Doyle, 2012 awardee and former ALBA board member, spoke about the meaning of the award for its recipients, while Rachael Lorenzo had a public conversation with Ava Mateo. Lorenzo is the founder of last year’s awardee, Indigenous Women Rising. Other former awardees represented in the audience included No More Deaths (2020), and My Brother’s Keeper (2021).

This year’s winner, 18by Vote, creates sustainable civic leadership among young people who have been historically excluded from positions of leadership and power. Founded in response to low youth voter turnout in the 2016 general election, 18by Vote has since activated hundreds of thousands of young people across the country to engage civically.

As part of the ceremony, ALBA’s newest board member, David Parsard, recalled the historic work done by veterans of the Lincoln Brigade to fight for voting rights in the United States. Neal Rosenstein, the President of the Puffin Foundation, underscored the importance of youth activism in this struggle today.

One of the largest monetary awards for human rights in the world, the ALBA/Puffin Award is a $100,000 cash prize granted annually by ALBA and The Puffin Foundation to sustain the legacy of the experiences, aspirations, and idealism of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. It supports contemporary international activists and human rights causes. A philanthropist and visionary, the late Perry Rosenstein of The Puffin Foundation created and established an endowed fund for this award in 2010.

A video summary of the ceremony will be made available on ALBA’s YouTube channel soon. Here is a photo gallery: