Right to Democracy is committed to creating a movement to promote democracy and empower the people of the territories in the U.S. to participate in shaping their destinies. The organization believes that the voices of those residing in the territories are to be heard and respected. Right to Democracy’s latest interterritorial initiative, an art competition with the theme “Express yourself: What Democracy means to you", aims to celebrate culture, art, foster youth voices, and strengthen collective power to promote democracy and self-determination in U.S. territories.

"Express Yourself: What Does Democracy Mean to You?” - is an exciting opportunity for young people to share their perspectives around democracy through the power of art, words, and music. Youth in the U.S. territories - Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands - are encouraged to think about their views on democracy and share what they have to say. The event is not just about artistic expression; it's about nurturing a space that highlights the importance of identifying common goals and self-determination mechanisms.

"We're excited to learn more about the perspectives of our young people. I’ve been having conversations around democracy for a long time and it’s really refreshing to engage fresh voices in such unique ways. Art is a catalyst for transformation!" said Neil Weare, Co-President of RtD, who spent 10 years leading Equally American’s prior efforts to advocate for equal rights in the territories of the U.S. 

Adi Martínez Román, Co-President of RtD shared, "Many of us generalize the idea that young people don’t understand or have nothing to say about important matters, but my experience engaging youth in community dialogues has already proved otherwise. We look forward to amplifying their voices through art and promoting more spaces where people residing in the territories can learn more about each other."


Young minds are encouraged to reflect on:

  1. How do democracy and your rights intertwine?
  2. What's the first image or feeling that comes to mind when you think of democracy?
  3. How does democracy shape life in your community?
  4. Can you imagine a world without democracy? What does it look like?

Inspiration can take any form in these 3 categories: visual art (drawing, painting, or photography), a song, or a short poem or text (up to 60 seconds).



With submission, please send along:

  1. Name, Email Address, Phone Number
  2. Social media handles (optional)
  3. Name of territory
  4. Brief text explaining or reflecting on the art piece

For visual art, students can use whichever medium they prefer. Consider that even if a physical medium is used, the submission would be digital, through pictures. Students should send the pictures of the artwork to [email protected]. Pictures of the art work can be sent in jpeg format (max image size: 1080x1080 pixels). We encourage participants to send more than one picture (please include one of the artist and their artwork).

For audio formats, a video file is required (mp4, wav format). We highly encourage attaching the lyric or text of the spoken word piece in pdf version along with the submission. The video submission should be recorded in landscape and not be longer than 60 sec. 

To participate, you must have a connection to or reside in one of the territories and be aged between 12 and 17.


We have fantastic prizes: $500 for the top entry, $250 for second place, and $100 for third place in each territory. This is the chance for youth in the territories of the U.S. to express their thoughts and ideas about democracy and self-determination freely and creatively.


The competition is open until October 10, 2023. NOW EXTENDED TO JANUARY 31st, 2023! Hurry, share with your networks of young people and help them be part of this exciting journey!


Submit entries today at [email protected].