Meet an Anthem Judge: Shaniqua McClendon, Vice President of Politics at Crooked Media
Shaniqua McClendon has been making a name for herself and making a difference in politics and media since beginning her career as a White House Intern for President Barack Obama. Currently she is the Senior Political Director for Crooked Media (home to the popular podcast, Pod Save America), and a fellow at the USC Center for the Political Future.
Shaniqua is also an Anthem judge – read our interview below to discover what inspires her and what she’s looking for in this year’s Anthem entries.
For those who are unfamiliar, can you tell us a bit about yourself and the work that you do?
I currently serve as the Vice President of Politics for Crooked Media, where I run our Vote Save America program, a voter and political volunteer initiative committed to equipping voters with everything they need to vote and investing in progressively minded activists, organizers, candidates, and organizations dedicated to making change. Since its inception in 2018, Vote Save America has mobilized hundreds of thousands of volunteers and raised more than $50 M to support those doing the hard work of making the world a better place.
What expertise are you bringing as a judge for The Anthem Awards?
Growing up in a low-income family gave me a tremendous amount of personal insight into many of the problems people face, which is why I’ve spent my entire career in politics and policy. I believe it is one of the most impactful ways to improve people’s lives, especially those who have been and continue to be most marginalized and harmed by our current institutions and systems. Through my personal, educational, and professional experiences, I bring a wealth of knowledge on the problems many Anthem Award submissions are aiming to address.
What are you looking for in Anthem Awards entries?
I’m looking for entries that have a genuine understanding of the problem they want to solve and bring new solutions that prioritize the experiences of those most impacted.
What does it take for a project or campaign to cause real-world change?
Real change can happen in a lot of ways, sometimes it’s forced through laws and sometimes our society demands better. While both of these are ideal, the latter is absolutely necessary for that change to last and not face endless attempts to be undermined. As we’ve seen with many social movements, laws are not an absolute measure of our morality, our beliefs and behavior are.
What social impact campaign, grassroots effort, fundraiser or project has recently inspired you?
Most recently, I’ve been inspired by the young people fighting for our political leaders to address climate change. They’ve pushed this issue from something political leaders feared talking about to a central issue that has now led to passage of historic climate change legislation. They did this by challenging the status quo and getting more people to care about the future of our planet.