Sara Mortensen

2023 Unstoppable Voters Fellow Sara Mortensen is turning fans into voting superheroes

Sara Mortensen. Photo by Orlando Crespo.
Sara Mortensen
Sara canvassing in San Diego County. Photo by Orlando Crespo.

Sara Mortensen (she/her) is an organizer from Southern California who approaches all of her work from a place of sincerity, curiosity, and unironic enthusiasm. Reading has always played a hugely influential role in Sara’s life and from a young age she has valued the power of storytelling and narrative to change the world.

As someone who has always enjoyed learning as much as she can, Sara earned a double major at the University of California, San Diego – a B.S. in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Neuroscience and a B.A. in Dance – in order to pursue both her passions in science and in art. It was during this time that Sara also studied abroad in Rome for a semester and she caught the bug for traveling and seeing as much of the world as possible.

In 2015, Sara joined the volunteer staff at Fandom Forward, a decision she would say changed her life for the better. From Mental Health Researcher to Campaigns Manager, Sara held many volunteer roles over the years, all of which helped her learn how to be an activist, run campaigns, and do some good in the world while having fun. As Campaigns Manager, Sara worked a lot of magic behind-the-scenes to help various Fandom Forward campaigns run smoothly and she was ecstatic to make it official and join Senior Staff as Campaigns Director in 2022.

Sara combined her love of traveling and love of learning together when she moved abroad to Spain in 2021 to pursue a Research Masters in International Studies in Media, Power, and Difference at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, in which her thesis was about how the media in the US has covered the police and prison abolition movements in recent years.

Now back in Southern California, Sara works hard to develop campaigns for Fandom Forward on a variety of issues – from climate change to queer rights to voting campaigns – all in the pursuit of helping the world become a little bit more kind, joyful, and just.

About Fandom Forward

Fandom Forward’s mission is to turn fans into heroes. We’re harnessing the power of pop culture to make activism more accessible for everyone.

Fandom Forward is a leader in fan activism, an organizing strategy that draws parallels between beloved pop culture and real world issues of inequity to mobilize fans for social good. We approach our work in three ways: providing accessible training to develop compassionate, skillful leaders, engaging fans in campaign experience that approaches our world’s problems with joy and creativity, and building community.

Save Our Progress

Through Unstoppable Voters, Sara aims to inspire hundreds of gamers (fans of various video games) to understand the value of their participation in democracy and civic engagement. She wants to mobilize thousands of young people to vote in the 2024 presidential election so that youth voter turnout is higher than it ever has been before.

To do this, Sara and the Fandom Forward team are asking gamers to set out on a special quest called Save Our Progress! Save Our Progress is a 2024 get out the vote campaign inspired by the narratives in many video games to fight for and/or build the world they believe in. Using the power of voting (and making sure everyone has the ability and access to vote), participants can fight to save our progress against the relentless attacks faced on the campaign for a better future. 

This virtual adventure is free and utilizes the fun, gaming-inspired platform, Gather. Learn more about Save Our Progress here and join the quest on November 4th at 2:00 pm ET!

Sara on being an Unstoppable Voters Fellow

I am beyond excited to work with C4AA, and especially all of the other fellows, to infuse our voting work with some much-needed joy, enthusiasm, and innovation! Ensuring that everyone has the right and access to vote is so important to me personally, and I’m thrilled to be working with such a wonderful group to make voting possible for everyone.

– Sara Mortensen, Campaigns Director, Fandom Forward