May 31, 2013 | By wonkum |
When we think of civic engagement we think of political campaigns and voting, but we must challenge ourselves to avoid that parochial definition. Instead, civic engagement must be seen as an approach to building the community. With that in mind, the Michael Walton Foundation enacted an expanded view of civic engagement through its Commitment to Core initiative. Recently, IMPACT was invited to present a workshop on the importance of civic engagement and voter registration as a part of the initiative.
The most recent Commitment to Core program took place at Friendship Collegiate Academy and consisted of a day of workshops that help inform students about life skills, while preparing them for college and career opportunities. As a participant in Commitment to Core, IMPACT presented work from its award-winning VoteReady campaign, which was instrumental in raising awareness about mendacious voter suppression tactics attempted during the 2012 Election cycle.
While there, IMPACT members asked students to consider the current landscape of national politics and what it means for them and future generations. It is important to note that civic engagement has no age requirement. As a way to engage students, we asked that they form groups and develop plans to target Reduced Opportunity Voters (ROVs). Reduced Opportunity Voters are those who live three, four, or five miles away from their nearest DMV location in states that have strict photo voter ID laws. Students were very creative in putting together slogans and plans to target those in rural areas versus those in urban areas. Students’ slogans ranged from “You NEED to VOTE” to “Get Rich Voting,” as a play on targeting ROVs in Richmond, VA.
IMPACT is appreciative of the invitation extended to us by the Michael Walton Foundation to work with the students at Friendship Collegiate Academy. To that end, we are passionate about the necessity of continuing the fight to enlighten, engage, and invigorate citizens, both young and old alike, to be engaged in their communities.