This is What an Organizer Looks Like!

By Edwith Theogene
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The Feminist Majority Foundation’s Get Out Her Vote Campaign (GOHV) is the nation’s only student-led voter education and registration initiative aimed at increasing young women’s voter participation. There is so much at stake for 2016 and our Feminist Campus Team is here to support you. So allow us to re-introduce ourselves and let you know what we think about voting!

14457276_10154581251164810_1207077500023125189_nMy name is Mari Vangen, and I’m the Midwestern Campus
Organizer with Feminist Campus. I vote because I enjoy participating in the political process. The line to the polls is the only one that I look forward to waiting in every two years. I don’t care that my vote is just one of many or that mathematically, it’s insignificant. In fact, the collective nature of voting is a part of the appeal for me. I love the comradery, the feeling of being surrounded by folks from my community who, regardless of political affiliation, are taking the time to voice their opinions. Like most, I don’t believe in voting as a silver bullet that can solve all of our countries deeply ingrained issues, but I do believe that my vote can influence my community for the better. I come out especially for the local elections. My council member, sheriff, alder, school board, mayor and state rep directly influence issues I care about like affordable housing, criminal justice reform, services for survivors of domestic violence, summer jobs programs for high schoolers, public transportation and infrastructure and access to reproductive healthcare. I’m excited to work with students across the Midwest this fall to make voting easier and more fun and to ensure that everyone who chooses to vote has the opportunity to do so.

 

14249906_10206993434941183_6873417035170843_oHey y’all! My name is Chelsea Yarborough and I am the HBCU and Southern National Campus Organizer with Feminist Campus. Voting is important to me because in my home state of North Carolina, I’ve seen firsthand the effects that voting rights rollbacks have on my people-black people, queer people, the elderly, students, the working class-folks who have been denied access to traditional forms of power and agency. The people in power look nothing like us, do not represent our interests and make a pretty determined effort to keep us out of the political process in the Land of the Longleaf Pine.  Voting identification laws, gerrymandering, and rapidly disappearing early voting dates that have been enacted in many states since the Supreme Court rolled back preclearance in the Voting Rights Act are not incidental-they’re targeted efforts to keep people from accessing power to create change in their communities and to keep particular people in positions of power. I’ll be the first one to tell you that voting will not save us or free us from systems of power and oppression, but we can use voting and other forms of civic engagement as tactics to build collective political power, to create governments that are truly reflective of the people they aim to serve, and to move our issues to the forefront of conversation. Young people’s political power can move mountains-we have seen it before time and time again throughout our history. It’s scary to those in power-if it wasn’t, they wouldn’t be working so hard to keep us away from the polls. We need only to get organized, get ready, and get in formation to secure the future we want for ourselves. Prove to me you’ve got some coordination and get involved in the Get Out Her Vote! Campaign on your campus to mobilize young people for our future!

 

My name is Kelli Musick, and I’m the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Campus Organizer! As a young queer woman, the government has a lot of power in dictating what happens to my body. The policies that elected officials are voting on—mere miles up the street from my office—have incredible implications for my life and my future. Don’t get me wrong—voting doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are organizations, coalitions, and collectives working hard to ensure that cultural change happens alongside the political process. However, for me, the choice to “care about” politics isn’t a choice at all—it’s a necessity. By voting, I’m taking the opinions I have about issues that I care about—reproductive healthcare, LGBTQ equality, and environmental justice, among many others—and using them to choose the people who I believe with fight for me. Rather than working in opposition or exclusion, we all achieve greater successes when we recognize the impact of voting together for progressive change. It’s only been within the past century that women were even legally granted the right to vote.  Even then, not every woman had the right to vote.  I seek to honor those women’s bravery, conviction, and legacy every time I cast my ballot. I’ve never been shy about saying what I think, and this fall, I’m proud to say that I’m going to #VoteFeminist!

 

feministasedwithMy name is Edwith Theogene and this is my third year on the Feminist Campus Team. I am so excited to continue doing the amazing work of connecting with student leaders to mobilize around issues that matter the most to them. I have always been interested in how identity and experience influences the way we see the world. It also influences the way we vote, and the way we vote influences our political landscape. I recently heard a quote “ When we vote, even in anger, we are part of a collective and creative leap of faith.” I am getting out the vote because I want to empower this collective and creative leap of faith into a better future. Voting is not a savior but it is a tactic to create change.  I want to see what we can do and I have full faith in our communities to vote our interests and continue to do the work to organize around issues we care about, plus hold our elected officials accountable.

Some inspirations come from these facts:

  • In 2008 and 2012, black women voted at a higher rate than any other group. Four years ago, 74 percent of eligible black women went to the polls — and 96 percent voted for President Obama.
  • There are 49 million eligible young voters, outnumbering 45 million eligible seniors, 65+.
  • More Millenials identify with Progressive and Feminist Values then ever!

This makes voting look good to me!

 

 

 

By Edwith Theogene

Edwith is an intersectional social justice activist and advocate passionate about issues that impact women and communities of color. She is a Washington D.C. based South Florida Native who loves people, quotes, coffee, and pop culture, especially 90’s tv shows.

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