To Us You Matter:
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:
- Advocating for active civics classes in all high schools
- Promoting school and community-based civic engagement actions
- Consistent year-round voter education and voter registration
Increasing voter participation and civic engagement have been shown to be associated with wide ranging benefits, including higher employment rates, stronger social connections, higher quality of life, school retention, and even longevity. Various studies have documented higher levels of self-reported health and have shown that voting could also boost mental health. Voters are more likley to volunteer, contact their elected officials and stay informed about local affairs.
A citizenry that votes helps design the kind of society that they need and want.
Active, experiential civic learning classes in all high schools
Students learn how government and public institutions work. They learn how to participate in the policy-making process. This includes knowing where to go and who to talk to when addressing local community and school concerns. They develop the skills and attributes necessary to become effective advocates.
Community-based civic opportunities for all students
Civic engagement is the single most important factor in creating social cohesion and healthy, inclusive communities. Students who are engaged in community uplift have greater confidence, stronger social skills, and problem solving ability. This also leads to higher academic achievement. Students discover meaning in their lives. They develop relationships that support family and career success.
Voter registration and education in schools
Young people who develop a habit of voting regularly are likely to remain lifelong frequent voters. Assisting one’s peers in understanding the value of voting further develops youth participation in electoral proccesses. Research shows that inspiring voter education and registration can have a powerful impact for decades to come.
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.