We Are The Majority (WATM) Rally – Virtual
The first We Are The Majority Rally (WATM) was held in May 2012 and was born out of the inaugural Youth Council retreat for OYLPN. The original nine young people from across the state met in fall 2011 to examine data related to youth substance use rates in Ohio and develop a strategic plan for OYLPN. One of the most important pieces of information that came from the retreat was that the majority of youth were not using substances. Once they began to discuss strategies and activities to promote this positive social norm, they came up with the idea to hold a rally in downtown Columbus and to invite young people and youth-led programs from all over Ohio – and the WATM rally was born. The first WATM Rally was held at Huntington Park with music, skits and energizers, and included a march to the Ohio Statehouse where youth had lunch and participated in a prevention education workshop. Over 500 people attended the first rally, exceeding expectations but leading to an even bigger vision.
Over the past decade, the WATM Rally has grown every year with more and more young people in attendance and more and more support from stakeholders, including Ohio’s governor, first John Kasich and now Mike DeWine. The Rally changed slightly every year, but the energy has always remained the same. Over the years the Rally has been held at Huntington Park, the Convention Center, Columbus Commons, and most recently, Genoa Park but always ending with a march to the Statehouse. The last live Rally, in May 2019, had over 1,200 young people in attendance.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 and 2021 Rallies have been held virtually but still engaged hundreds of youth from across the state. Over the last 10 years, the one thing has remained the same, is the mission, and the fact that the majority of young people REMAIN drug free.