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A headshot of Svante Myrick wearing a blue suit.

Svante Myrick

President

Svante Myrick is the President of People For the American Way. 

As one of the most dynamic young, progressive Black leaders today, Myrick is spearheading the transformation of People For as it grows and adapts to today’s challenges. 

Under his leadership, People For has invested in new programs and campaigns that reflect a commitment to building the strongest multigenerational, multiracial, multicultural identity in the organization’s history. These include a new Artists for Democracy program as well as the nonpartisan Grandparents for Truth and Defend the Black Vote campaigns maintained by the People For the American Way Foundation.

As a former elected official who served for 10 years as mayor of Ithaca, NY, Myrick is deeply committed to realizing the potential of government to improve people’s lives and to the importance of electing progressives to public office. People For works to elect visionary progressives at all levels of government and has a track record of success.      

Myrick is singularly focused on making People For a leader in the most important fight of our time: the battle to preserve our democracy against the rising threat of authoritarianism. As such he is sustaining the vision of People For’s founder, iconic TV producer Norman Lear, who created People For to counter right-wing extremism and religious bigotry.       

Previously, Myrick served as executive director of People For and led campaigns focused on transforming public safety, racial equity, voting rights, and empowering young elected officials. Myrick garnered national media attention as the youngest-ever mayor of Ithaca, New York, where he was a leading reformer on drug policy, the environment and public safety. 

Myrick’s personal story is compelling and laid the groundwork for his life of service and civic engagement. Raised by his mother, he and his family faced homelessness throughout their lives and relied on school lunch programs and other critical public services. After attending Cornell University, Myrick served as assistant director of student and young alumni programs at the college and tutored Ithaca youth. These experiences shaped his leadership in Ithaca, where he put progressive values into action to improve the lives of the people in his community. As mayor, Myrick’s innovative leadership included a plan to address the heroin epidemic through supervised injection sites, prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. 

Myrick previously served as director of People For’s youth leadership programs. He is a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Frontier Award and People For the American Way Barbara Jordan Leadership Award, and was named by Rolling Stone as a “Hot Do-Gooder” “public servant to watch,” and in Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30.” Myrick is a frequent contributor and guest for local and national TV, radio, and print outlets including The Hill, MSNBC, CNN, USA Today, The Boston Globe, The New York Times and more.

Areas of expertise
  • Young Elected Officials
  • Public Safety and Police Reform
  • Voting Rights