Ambalika Williams, the national organizing director of the nonprofit RISE, has been awarded the TheWrap’s Voice of the Future award at the 2022 Power Women Summit.
The award is given to a young woman who is leading social change through action-made progress that inspires meaningful progress in our world.
RISE’s objective is to make higher education free and help all young people participate in democracy. In her role, Williams has been responsible for training and hiring community college and university students to organize campaigns focused on eliminating tuition, expanding financial aid and ending student hunger and homelessness.
Prior to her work with RISE, Williams was Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s associate director of patient advocacy programs, a role in which she managed the organization’s largest volunteer organizing and storytelling program and launched Shout Your Vote!, a c3 voter engagement campaign. Additionally, she is a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant with For The Culture and a Texas political consultant.
“Many students lack basic needs like food and housing while also tackling thousands of dollars of student loan debt,” Williams said in her acceptance speech Tuesday evening. “Our student organizers that I worked with on a daily basis knew that voting is a crucial part of eliminating barrier to them accessing education and that was the work that we did every single day this year.”
According to Williams, RISE worked with more than 600 students in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to get more than 100,000 of their peers to commit to vote and walk them through the process. Additionally, the organization’s peer mentorship program helped more than 11,000 students across the country and assisted with more than $1 million in emergency aid benefits.
“My students that I work with and any other young person out there deserve to be free from student loan debt,” she added. “While we currently have less rights than the generation before us, and it pains me to say that, Gen Z let us know that they are doing everything to take power back. We should all be committed to joining them in the fight for a world where everyone not only has the right but the full ability to control their body and their future.”
Williams ended her speech by dedicating the award to “all the young people who voted this year, all the young people who organized this year and who continue to give us hope for the future.”
“They are the true champions,” she concluded. “Thank you so much.”
The Power Women Summit (PWS) is the largest annual gathering of the most influential women in entertainment, media and technology. The event aims to inspire and empower women across the landscape of their professional careers and personal lives. This year’s PWS provides two days of education, mentorship, workshops and networking around the globe – to promote this year’s theme, “A Time to Unite.” Learn more here.