To Us You Matter: VOTE

To Us You Matter: VOTE is a west coast collaboration between the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center, Oakland, CA and the Institute for Community Leadership, Kent, WA.

The campaign has three main purposes: To assure active civics classes are taught in all schools, to promote school and community based civic engagement opportunities for young people, and voter education and voter registration for all high school juniors and seniors.

8-15-2006-13

Active, experiential civic learning classes in all schools

Students need to know how government and public institutions work, and how to engage in the policy-making process. And they need the skills and attitudes necessary to be effective advocates. Without a knowledgeable, informed and active electorate, democracy falters.

Community-based civic opportunities for all students

Civic engagement is the single most important factor in creating social cohesion and healthy, inclusive communities. And students who are engaged in community uplift activities have greater self-confidence, stronger social skills, more problem solving ability, and higher academic achievement. Civic participation helps them discover meaning in their lives, changes how they spend their free time, and improves relationships that are key to career and family success.

Voter registration and education for all high school juniors and seniors

Young people who develop a habit of voting regularly are likely to remain frequent voters, while those who don’t are likely to remain non-voters. Thus, effective, inspiring voter education and registration can have a powerful impact for decades to come. Increasing voter participation and civic engagement have been shown to be associated with a host of benefits, including higher employment rates, stronger social connections, more volunteerism, higher quality of life, school retention, and even longevity.

Working Together to Strengthen Civic Engagement

Please consider being a part of the To Us You Matter: VOTE efforts! Here’s what you can do:

  • Identify school personnel, administrators, teachers or counselors in your local schools who want to promote civic education. Send us their contact information and we will reach out!
  • Talk with community based organizations, faith based groups, unions, neighborhood councils and identify roles that young people can take to be civically engaged in local problem solving. Send us contact information to help strengthen the local network of opportunities.
  • Use your voice, spend time in local community problem solving or voter education and registration efforts.
  • Help us create a relationships offering effective strategies and ideas, and contribute to emerging research about how to keep improving civic education for all students.
  • Call on us if you need help to establish a voter registration program, or help designing curriculum and gathering resources for your local schools.

Let us know what you are doing. Share success stories and best practices that we can pass along to others! Please contact Dr. Roy Wilson at 206-571-6653 or Roy@mlkfreedomcenter.org.