The Concept

Keep That Same Energy (KTSE) is a multi-faceted series of conversations hosted by Demos. It is designed to mobilize and motivate millennials of color to be civically engaged beyond voting and present ways to own our power and make changes in our communities.

It was purposefully formed to create an open and safe space for black and brown millennials to discuss the significance of defining, building and maintaining power in our communities, and how we can ensure to “keep that same energy” in our approach to political engagement.

Read more on what inspired the creation of “Keep That Same Energy"

KTSE in Philadelphia
Netroots recap video

Keep That Same Energy held a panel in Philadelphia at the 2019 Netroots Nation. 

Netroots is a conference attended by activists and advocates from across the country, and the Philly KTSE panel was a place to unpack issues detrimentally impacting black and brown communities in 2019 and how movement organizations and could work to build and maintain power in our communities (beyond voting). 


About the Panelists

Shanae Bass and Rodney McKenzie, Jr at Netroots Keep That Same Energy
Demos Moderator Shanae Bass and Executive Vice President Rodney McKenzie, Jr at Netroots Keep That Same Energy

Panel Moderator Shanaé Bass is a Communications and Media Relations Associate at Demos. She develops and implements public relations and pitching strategies, conducts press outreach, fields incoming media requests, and manages the media monitoring database for Demos.

Prior to joining Demos, Shanaé worked as Publicity Assistant at Dan Klores Communications and Public Affairs, where she provided media relations and publicity outreach support. Previously, she worked as a Publicity and Promotions Coordinator for Allied Integrated Marketing in Washington, D.C. where she organized media and grassroots promotions and coordinated press events.


A Keep That Same Energy handout on a chair at Netroots
A KTSE panelist handout at Netroots

Rodney McKenzie, Jr. is the Executive VP of Movement Strategies at Demos and an experienced community organizer, movement leader and out person of faith with over fifteen years of experience fighting for grassroots political power in marginalized communities. Before joining Dēmos, Rodney was the Director of the Academy for Leadership and Action at the National LGBTQ Task Force, where he led the grassroots organizing strategy that focused on faith organizing across the country. His work at the Task Force focused on disrupting the national narrative that LGBTQ people aren’t people of faith and that people of faith don’t support LGBTQ equality. 


Aditi Varshneya shares at KTSE
Aditi Varshneya shares at KTSE

Aditi (Adi) Varshneya is the Community Organizer & Outreach Coordinator at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. She graduated from New York University, where she received the Metropolitan Studies Program Prize and high honors for her thesis titled “Climate justice in New York City: community resilience after Hurricane Sandy.” A former intern at WE ACT as well as at Bronx Community Board 6, she recently began working on her Master of Urban Planning at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She has also worked as a researcher at NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, and at Ocean Collective, a consulting group working to advance social-justice oriented ocean conservation solutions.


Rapheal Randall speaks to the crowd
Rapheal Randall speaks to the crowd

Rapheal Randall is the Executive Director of Youth United for Change (YUC). He has received both a Bachelor of Science in Design (Concentration: Industrial Design - 2006) from The Ohio State University, and a Master of City and Regional Planning (Concentration: Community and Economic Development - 2012) from the University of Pennsylvania. Before taking the helm at YUC in 2014, he worked as a product designer for Michael Graves Design Group (Princeton, NJ); and later became an urban planner and designer with Interface Studio LLC (Philadelphia), developing community plans for nonprofits and neighborhood groups throughout North Philadelphia. 

During his tenure at Interface, he also took part in local anti-displacement and minimum wage organizing campaigns, utilizing his skills as a community planner in these fights. His goal at YUC is to help young people of color develop their own approaches to social justice leadership, as well as embrace their roles as change agents through organizing campaigns rooted in their own needs and experiences. 


Shanaé Bass and David Perrin of Demos talk with Netroots attendees at the Demos happy hour follow the KTSE panel
Shanaé Bass and David Perrin of Demos talk with Netroots attendees at the Demos happy hour follow the KTSE panel
KTSE in Harlem
Recap video of the Harlem panel

Keep That Same Energy launched in March 2019 with a panel of today's leading speakers, organizers, and advocates of building black and brown power. 

The panel at our first series event addressed a standing room-only crowd at WeWork Harlem. 


The KTSE Harlem Panel from behind
Members of the KTSE Harlem panel


About the Panelists


Alicia Garza speaks at KTSE
Alicia Garza speaks

Alicia Garza is an internationally recognized organizer, writer, and public speaker. Alicia founded the Black Futures Lab, currently serves as the Strategy & Partnerships Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and co-created the Black Lives Matter Global Network, with 40 chapters in 4 countries, to change the ways in which Black people are stripped of our humanity. 


Linda Sarsour and Jessica González-Rojas
Linda Sarsour and Jessica González-Rojas

Jessica González-Rojas is the Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the only national reproductive justice organization that specifically works to advance reproductive health, rights and justice for the 28 million Latinas in the United States.


Rashad Robinson addresses the KTSE crowd
Rashad Robinson addresses the KTSE crowd

Jamilah Lemieux is a renowned cultural critic and writer with a focus on issues of race, gender and sexuality, Jamilah Lemieux is a leading millennial feminist thinker, influencer and game-changing media maverick. 


Rashad Robinson is President of Color Of Change, a leading racial justice organization driven by more than 1.4 million members building power for Black communities. 

Linda Sarsour at KTSE Harlem
Linda Sarsour speaks to the audience


Linda Sarsour is an award winning racial justice and civil rights activist, and community organizer. She is the co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change and served as one of the national co-chairs of the largest single day protest in US history, the Women’s March on Washington. 

Panel Moderator Shanae Bass introduces the panelists
Shanaé Bass introduces the panel


Moderator: Shanaé Bass, Communications and Media Relations Associate at Demos.