I found this clip floating around on Facebook, and if this isn't #squadgoals I really don't know what is.
Last summer, I was a paraprofessional in a middle school and I met a student who confided to me that she had been hospitalized for an eating disorder during the school year. She told me that all of her friends were skinny, and “so are all the people that I see on Instagram”. This discovery lead to an incredible amount of body shaming and an internal war, forever perpetrating in her mind about how she wasn’t good enough. It was heartbreaking, to say the least, and actually contributed to me switching the course of my career and pursing an occupation that could help young woman, like her. It was this interaction which lead me to want to volunteer in the program I did this semester, “Girl’s Talk”, in order to help re-define the ideas of beauty, self-respect, and feminism that these women are beginning to develop at twelve, thirteen, and fourteen years old.
This semester I devoted two afternoons a week working at a local middle school’s enrichment program. It was originally named “Beyoncé” and was targeted towards these young woman in hopes of exposing them to the importance of female empowerment at their young age. Every week we’d listen to a song written by Beyoncé, and examine the lyrics, trying to learn what it means to be a woman through the lens of her work; it was a definite hit with the students who rely on Ms. Knowles music and words like the Bible.
I had spent time before volunteering at this particular school in the past, but this experience was unlike any I had before. Adjusting to a curriculum where the focus was not entirely academic related was something that took me awhile to get adjusted to. Every week the students would learn new vocabulary words such as “feminism”, ” intersectionality”, or “consent”. These topics would elicit conversations that regarding the media and the lack of representation of women who they felt were similar to them in skin color, body types, or sexuality. It was essentially ten weeks of witnessing these young women and their journey towards self- discovery.
We are inarguably in an age where the celebration of feminism is at an all-time high. However, during the time I spent with the students, I began to learn that this scope of feminism that we see throughout the media is not all encompassing. Throughout several of the in-class discussions that I facilitated, the students discussed as to how many actors, and models, and musical artists that the students see look different from them. We had conversations revolving around the abundance of white actors that were nominated for the Oscars, to the lack of representation there is in the government. According to one of the students, after learning all of this information: “Why do white men have to do everything?!”
It is one thing to know this, and be discouraged by it, but it is a whole another thing see this discovery in the eyes of the youth. To rediscover alongside with them that things are not even and are not fair in this world we are living in. But perhaps the most powerful aspect of it all is realizing that it is going to take a whole lot more than complaining to fix any of these injustices.
The conversation about their social media usage was something that intrigued me the most. Many of them complained that it was unfair that their male classmates could post a picture of them shirtless and get heart-eyed emojis, whereas if they posted a picture in a cute sports bra, there would be rumors around their schools that they would be labeled as “sluts” by their male and female classmates. It’s dispersing to see as to how this double standard affects a group of free-thinking group of young woman. Especially as their perceptions of beauty, in addition to what they post, are undeniably influenced by the society around them.
It goes without saying, but I've had an awesome time facilitating some much needed discussions and jamming to Beyoncé with them. I have learned SO much in this short time, alone. Every week I would find myself getting excited to go into the classroom to hear the thoughts shared from both the students and the teacher who created the program. Being surrounded by powerful women, at all ages, is a wonderful, fierce, experience. If there are young women in your life, remind them of the importance of having kind hearts, fierce minds, and brave spirits to lead them forward in this world, just like the sign in their hallway says. That way, we can all see each other's halos ☺
Amidst recent sexual assault accusations against Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, from reporter Michelle Fields, the Trump campaign is becoming more and more unfriendly toward women. Donald Trump is notorious for his offensive comments against almost everyone; Mexicans, Muslims, other minorities, and women.
Over the years, Trump has said many disturbing and misogynistic things about women. A Huffington Post article recorded 18 of the most absurd things he’s said (some of which are below). The list includes quotes from his interviews, tweets, and books.
Some highlights from the collection include the following; “I would never buy Ivana any decent jewels or pictures. Why give her negotiable assets?” (from a 1990 Vanity Fair article), “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass” (from an Esquire article), and “Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye - or perhaps another body part” (from Trump’s book Trump: The Art of the Combeback). Even more Trump quotes can be found here.
Not even Fox News anchors are safe from Trump’s sexism. Megyn Kelly is still awaiting an apology from the GOP front runner after he made the comment “blood coming out of her wherever” (in response to Kelly acting as a moderator for a GOP Debate in 2015) (you can read more about that here). The feud has been ongoing for months now.
And let us not forget about the time (or two) Donald said he would date his daughter Ivanka if she wasn’t related to him. This comment took place on The View (video below: “Trump: If Ivanka Weren’t My Daughter, I’d Be Dating Her”).
Most recently, Trump made inappropriate comments toward Heidi Cruz (which he was later called out for when talking with Anderson Cooper on CNN). Both Trump and Ted Cruz have been talking back and forth about a piece released by the National Enquirer where Trump threatened to blackmail Heidi Cruz (more information here).
All of these comments against women, and I haven’t even gotten to Trump calling for “some form of punishment” for women who partake in illegal abortions (from here and here), his comments about Carly Fiorina’s face (“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”) (from here), and more (and here and here).
Despite saying all of these blatantly misogynistic and sexist things about women, Trump believes these comments should not be held against him because they were released before he decided to run for president. According to a recent Vanity Fair article on Trump,
“Given an opportunity to apologize for insulting remarks he has made in the past, including calling women ‘bimbo,’ ‘dog’ and ‘fat pig,’ the Republican front-runner waved them away, saying ‘I never thought I would run for office’” (read more here).
Trump genuinely believes that “nobody has more respect for women” than him (quote from here), and that his past comments and actions should not be held against him. Despite everything he is trying to say he will do for women, Trump is not our ally.
A judge recently decided to hold recording artist Kesha to her contract with Sony producer Dr. Luke, who not only “allegedly” physically and emotionally abused her, but actually did. This goes beyond the legality of recording contracts; after this ruling, it has become very clear that a woman’s health and safety concerns are not enough of a reason to free her from a recording contract with a toxic individual.
This lawsuit is not recent; according to The Rolling Stone, it was filed in California in October 2014, but petitions for #FreeKesha started as early as 2013.
As a result of the court’s decision, celebrities and fans alike have come together to work to address what happened (and is currently happening to Kesha), as well as addressing what women face in the music industry. Celebrities include Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and Lady Gaga.
While there has been some arguing between supporters over the best approach to helping Kesha (like Demi’s criticism of Taylor for donating to Kesha as opposed to addressing the broader issue), the main argument still stands; what happened to Kesha should not be allowed to happen to anyone else.
Kesha isn’t the only artist Dr. Luke has abused. Charli XCX quoted him in a 2014 tweet (below), claiming that he told her she needed to lose weight. He’s also reportedly had altercations with artists like Demi Lovato (refusing to give her a sing when she wouldn’t make it her second single off of “Confidence,” and Becky G). You can see more of those here.
So join the #FreeKesha movement and help open up the discussion about abuse within the music industry. If you’re interested in reading more about the Dr. Luke lawsuit, you can check out these articles by The Guardian, Buzzfeed, and Vogue. You can also check out the FreeKesha website for more information.
By now you’ve probably heard about or seen Beyone’s Superbowl performance (shown below in case you missed it. If the video doesn’t work, check out this link here). Debuting her new song, “Formation,” Beyonce’s performance was nothing short of brilliance and political activism.
Skipping over the specifics of the performance (like Beyonce’s back-up dancers sporting Black Panther attire, or her newest hits’ politically provoking lyrics), let’s talk about why [white] people are so offended. Many people are upset over Beyonce’s obvious stance with the Black Lives Matter movement (which many have compared to the Black Panther Party), claiming that she has no respect for or understanding of the police force, and the protection they provide for stars like herself.
Others are accusing her of exploiting black tragedy for personal gain, like the author of this article from Slate. One of the questions Shantelle Lewis, the author, chooses to highlight in her piece is, “For an artist to become political, must she perform against a backdrop of black tragedy?”
Opposition to such a controversial message such as this is expected. But amidst the negativity, there are many Beyonce supporters. For a joint article in the New York Times, Jenny Wortham wrote;
“This video feels like the ultimate declaration from Beyoncé that the tinted windows are down, the earrings are off and someone’s wig might get snatched, judging by the scene in the hair store about 1:22 minutes in.
Personally, I support Beyonce wholeheartedly. I think she is genuinely lending her fame to the Black Lives Matter movement and shedding light on the uncomfortable racial tensions that the U.S. has always had, but never addressed. I can understand why individuals like Lewis could take offense to the video, as it is clearly taking place in New Orleans, but I do not think Beyonce would ever intentionally exploit the culture to gain popularity.
I was especially impressed with Beyonce’s inclusion of Messy Mya, a young black artist shot and killed in New Orleans in 2010 (which you can read more about here and here). I didn’t initially understand the significance of his inclusion in the song (or who he was before looking him up), but I think Beyonce’s decision to include his voice recordings in the song only emphasizes her understanding of the challenges African Americans are facing (especially in regards to gun violence). The inclusion of Messy Mya also gives context to the New Orleans backdrop of the video.
You can watch the video below if you haven’t seen it yet (if the video doesn't work, check out this link).
It's 2016 for fuck's sake? Can we please stop objectifying women???
Note: special thanks to Lauren for finding this gem for me
***WARNING: This post may contain themes and/or content that is triggering to some readers. Use caution when reading.***
Catcalling is a problem in a lot of countries, especially the U.S. For anyone who doesn’t know, catcalling is defined by The Oxford Dictionary as “A loud whistle or comment of a sexual nature made by a man to a passing woman.” It’s more than just a whistle or comment though, it’s a symbol of male entitlement toward women.
A comic shown in MIC (which you can see here) perfectly sums up what it’s like to be a woman catcalled. Catcalling isn’t so much about wanting to date or sleep with the woman being catcalled (well, it is, but no guy expects a woman to turn around and give him her number after he whistles at her and calls her a fox). Catcalling is a power move; it shows women that men are in charge and
I found an interesting YouTube video on catcalling, called “Male Actor Dresses As Woman to Experience Sexual Harassment” by CNN. In this video (shown below), an Egyptian male actor was disguised as a woman and sent out to walk around Cairo to experience the objectification women in the city face.
There’s also a racial element to catcalling. You may be familiar with the video “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman” by Rob Bliss Creative in partnership with Hollaback (attached below in case you forgot), which is a staged performance of what many women experience when walking around large cities or public places.
Many critics of the video, who do agree with its overall message, have called out the video for using a white woman and showing the majority of the catcallers as black and Latino. Slate is one of these critics. (You can see a tweet below from a critic, Roxane Gay, quoted in the article.)
When asked to respond to the accusations of “racial blindness” (as Slate has named it), Bliss wrote:
“We got a fair amount of white guys, but for whatever reason, a lot of what they said was in passing, or off camera,” or was ruined by a siren or other noise. The final product, he [Bliss] writes, “is not a perfect representation of everything that happened.” (Taken from the Slate article)
It isn’t fair to show catcallers as predominantly PoC and nonwhite, when in reality there are no statistics available (as of now) to support this notion. In my personal experience (and from what I’ve read about) the racial and ethnic identity of the catcaller depends on where a woman is (ex. what neighborhoods she is walking in, what country, what city, etc.). But it appears that all races are just as likely to be catcallers.
If you’re interested in reading more about the video above, I suggest reading these articles from Brooklyn Magazine, CNN, and another post from Slate.
Catcalling is problematic not only because it is used to show women that men deserve their time (regardless of whether they want to give it to them), but it can also lead to violence. Catcalling may seem “innocent” at first (I use that term very loosely here), but it can quickly turn into a physical occurrence that more often than not ends with the woman being the victim of not only catcalling, but sexual assault. Look at the Buzzfeed video below, entitled “What Catcalling Feels Like.”
Holly Kearl, a write for Ms. Magazine, the literary child of renowned feminist Gloria Steinem, describes one of these scenarios in her article “When Street Harassment Is More Deadly Than Catcalls.”
“Recently in Florida, a 14-year-old girl was walking down the street when a man in an SUV pulled up beside her and offered her $200 to have sex with him.
Unfortunately this isn’t the only incident of catcalling turning violent that Kearl writes about. Whether we would like to admit it or not, it’s dangerous to be a woman in the world, regardless of where you live. Catcalling is only one of the many obstacles women face when out in public, even in the U.S.
To any men reading this, don’t catcall women. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to compliment her or trying to start a conversation. If she wants to talk to you, she will on her own. She doesn’t owe you her time, just like you don’t owe her yours. Recognize that catcalling can make women feel uncomfortable, even if you mean no harm by it.
And, lastly, don’t be THIS guy!
NOTE: We are not affiliated with the YouTube channels or videos featured in this post. We are also not affiliated with any of the articles or writers mentioned, and all quotes were taken from their corresponding links.
The fight against Planned Parenthood continues as Congress (mainly the conservatives) continue to investigate the organization in an effort to end its federal funding. In the wake of the investigation, a clinic in Colorado Springs was targeted by an extremist, leaving three dead and nine injured. You can read more about that from CNN or from the New York Times.
In response to the shooting, Planned Parenthood stated that it would be keeping its doors open. You can read more below via the link tweeted from the organization’s account.
Fortunately, one state has already relinquished its fight with Planned Parenthood. According to an article from The Huffington Post/Reuters, the governor of Alabama has already given up his court case for defunding the organization on the state level. What does this mean for Planned Parenthood in Alabama? Women and men can continue to use PP’s services under Medicaid, and PP will continue to use state funds to help finance the poorer population.
There are a lot of different events transpiring now that have to do with Planned Parenthood and abortion. One is that Planned Parenthood will no longer accept reimbursements from companies that are sent fetal tissues from the clinic. This is where a lot of the controversy comes from; Planned Parenthood was not selling the aborted fetuses for profit, but was asking for $30-$100 reimbursements from researches to cover the costs of processing and transporting it. You can read about that here, as it is outlined toward the end of the article.
Another is the Supreme Court’s acceptance of a case challenging Texas abortion laws. The fate of abortion, and the organizations like Planned Parenthood that help provide them, in the U.S. is about to drastically change. As a result of the ruling of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992), the most recent landmark abortion case, states are allowed to regulate abortions as long as they do not impose an “undue burden” on the women trying to get them. You can read more about the case here if you are interested.
Since this case reaffirmed the findings of Roe v. Wade (1973) (which you read about here if you’re interested), many conservative states have changed tactics to target clinics, as opposed to women. The Texas laws in question require clinics providing the abortions “to have costly hospital-grade facilities” and require clinic physicians to have “admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles” (quotes taken from this Huffington Post article).
Why is this upcoming hearing going to be so important? If the Court votes in favor of the laws, claiming that they are constitutional and they are not an “undue burden,” other states will be able to implement similar laws. This is threatening to clinics because it will likely force many to close, as the costs (both financial from having to upgrade their facilities, and social from having to work with other hospitals that do not wish to associate with their poor reputations) will be too great. Women will have an even harder time finding access to safe and legal abortions.
If the Court rules against the laws, clinics will have a greater chance of staying open to continue servicing women in need. Planned Parenthood, and other abortion providers, will be able to continue the life-changing work they are already doing. If you are interested in reading more about the case, you can read this article from the Huffington Post.
Abortion is a complicated topic in American politics. Many Americans, as men and women and as Democrats and Republicans, are still split on the legality of the procedure. This upcoming case will be one to watch in the news, as Roe v. Wade (1973) will either be enforced for weakened.
If you’re a woman, regardless of whether you agree with the idea of abortion, you should be reading into the current events of Planned Parenthood and this upcoming case. Your healthcare choices are at stake.
Personally I believe all women should have access to safe and legal abortions, if they feel that is their best option. That’s why I will continue to stand with Planned Parenthood, even as it is investigated and may become defunded. Planned Parenthood provides many basic healthcare services to millions of men and women around the country, and abortion is only one of these services. Women have the right to access abortions and information about abortions.
Remember to check out the #StandWithPP trend on Twitter if you haven’t already.
Recently, the Eastern Connecticut State University Intercultural Center and Women's Center sponsored a talk by Alicia Garza, one of the co-founders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Opponents of the movement expect rowdy hostile crowds and troublemakers ready to riot. The university had multiple police officers stationed near the auditorium in full uniform. I was seated near the outer edge of the auditorium and could occasionally hear the police radios. This only added to the necessity of this talk. The audience was respectful and quiet, but there was urgency in the air. Garza spoke passionately, but still appeared friendly and gracious. She honestly seemed to care about the students there to hear her speak, which I found remarkable,
The talk opened with Garza asking the crowd to volunteer current world events, a really great way to start on an inclusive note and to see what the audience was thinking about. Then, Garza began to address how #BlackLivesMatter was tied into almost all of them. This allowed for the transition into why #AllLivesMater was unnecessary. Garza addressed that, yes, obviously, all lives matter on a fundamental level, but right now, clearly all lives don't matter, and that we as a society need to focus.
Garza spoke about wanting to "ensure that the world we live in is a world that's equatable' and that #BlackLivesMatter was partially a response to the general violence against black males and partially a response to a social context where black lives don't matter. Garza urged to stop perpetuating the amnesia, remember every single tragedy that has lead us to where we are. This acknowledgement will address the majority/minority culture we have created and the uneven power structures that service the white heteropatriarchy. This will allow for people to see that a good amount of that power is unearned and undeserved.
Garza presented the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as a perfect example of privilege in the face of a disaster, an 'unnatural disaster.' So many lives were lost because New Orleans was one of the most segregated cities in the United States. There were at least 25% of black people living in poverty. The United States Government cut costs by neglecting the levies, which lead to over 50 breeches. Economic disparities matter, they cost lives. It seems impossible that the racial climate in New Orleans had nothing to do with the level of neglect the infrastructure was left in.
Next, Garza began to list off some of the 'ruptures in the consciousness of this nation,' highlighting Sean Bell, Cece McDonald, Marissa Alexander, and the New Jersey 4 (and then some.) These examples show the minimization and erasure of violence against people who aren't white cisgender straight males. When examining the history of the United States, Garza pointed out that "anti-black racism is in the DNA of this nation, and [this violence occurs] in a context where we live in a nation that suffers from great amnesia.'
One of the more obvious examples here is George Zimmerman. The media referred to this as the Trayvon Martin trial. Garza pointed out that Trayvon Martin wasn't on trial, Trayvon Martin was dead. George Zimmerman was the one on trial. This small change in phrasing allowed the media to frame the case in a way that questioned if a dead child was guilty. These tailored narratives reveal privilege. This lead back to #BlackLivesMatter because these 'ruptures in the narrative around who's life is worth living.'
When the jury said that Trayvon's life didn't matter, Garza said she felt she needed to re-inject this community with humanity. Garza didn't want this to be a verdict on everyone's lives. Garza said she 'want[ed] humanity for our people, and that when black lives matter, we have a better shot at all lives mattering, and that black people are deserving of humanity.'
For example, more than 20 trans women of color have been murdered so far in 2015, and that doesn't even scratch the surface of the trans women of color who were murdered and then misgendered, or weren't even reported. We can't advocate for these women, and the trans community if we don't 'create space to have critical conversations of what our world can and should look like.'
Garza urges us to talk about race, come together, develop a vision together, creating and shifting the power, changing the power dynamic by exercising collective power in order to see the changes we want to see, noticing the discomfort when things begin to shift. Garza compared the civil rights movement to a river than ebbs and flows and nodded towards all the people doing work that isn't seen.
Garza allowed the audience to ask questions and share stories, and a young girl volunteered that she and her sister had deep mistrust in the police after an incident where she alleged that they used unnecessary force and violently took her and her sister down. Garza acknowledged how difficult it is to have faith in the possibility of change and addressing this change in a dynamic where trusting the police, especially as a woman of color (with deeply troubling experiences with (alleged) police brutality) is hard. Garza said definitively that #BlackLivesMatter is not an anti-police movement, but calls for accountability and a new system. Garza tapped into the old cliche that 'when good people say nothing, you can't tell the difference.' Garza urged the good people to speak up, calling for 'justice for the wronged and harmed and to force change or else there is no incentive to change.' And yes, in a power structure that serves those at the top, why would there be incentive to change and lose some of the power (and money) you have?
In order to 'reverse generations of structural discrimination,' obviously, in plain terms, something's gotta give. Applauding those in power who start to acknowledge and attempt to address these disparities is a start. As yes, I realize that we shouldn't have to applaud them, that this is what they should be expected to do, however these people face great personal loss coming forward, and we need to recognize this.
Another student asked Garza how it was possible to practice such deep self control in the context of such deep and systematic injustice. Garza laughed and noted that time for the self was key, and to also practice being regenerative rather than destructive, as well as reconnecting yourself to your purpose and remembering your vision, what your endgame is.
After the talk, Garza was practically ambushed by students with hugs, and selfies, and craving a chance to tell their stories to someone who cared. Garza is a bit of a personal hero, so I hung back, letting everyone else take their moment. We ran out of time but I was able to walk and interview on Garza's way out. I was nervous as hell and word-vomited (sorry about that, but like come on, the co-founder of a giant social justice movement? you'd fangirl too) a little bit, but I was able to ask how other oppressed groups could take #BlackLivesMatter's lead. Garza said that #BlackLivesMatter was the key, when social change happens, if we push hard enough, it's for everyone.
So now this leaves you to ask yourself, as Garza asked, 'which side of this do you want to be on?'
Follow Garza on Facebook and Twitter, tweet with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, follow Black Lives Matter and begin to question the narrative you've been fed.
If you’re 18-years or older in the United States, you can legally vote. But in 2014, only 36.4%of eligible voters cast in their ballots, according to the Washington Post. This was the lowest voter turnout in the U.S. since WWII. If you aren’t ashamed of yourself yet, you should be.
You learn in school that voting is important (really important). You’re not forced to vote like in some countries; it’s entirely voluntary. As a college student, the American political system is very disheartening. You are disconnected from your state representatives, and you may have even lost your interest in politics altogether.
You need to abandon this mindset; forget everything you think you know about voting because we’re going to start from scratch here. According to the US Government:
“One of the most important rights of American citizens is the franchise — the right to vote. Originally under the Constitution, only white male citizens over the age of 21 were eligible to vote. This shameful injustice has been corrected and voting rights have been extended several times over the course of our history. Today, citizens over the age of 18 cannot be denied the right to vote, regardless of race, religion, sex, disability, or sexual orientation. However, in every state except North Dakota, citizens must register to vote, and laws regarding the registration process vary by state.”
Voting is one of the very few platforms in the U.S. where everyone over 18 is equal, regardless of your race or ethnicity, sex or gender, sexual preference, disability, religion, job, income, socioeconomic status, etc. It doesn’t matter who you are; you are on equal grounds to everyone 18-years or older around you.
Unfortunately, this statement is no longer true. In case you haven’t been watching politics in the past few years (you’re not alone), I’ll catch you up. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU),
“Since 2008, states across the country have passed measures to make it harder for Americans—particularly black people, the elderly, students, and people with disabilities—to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot. These measures include voter ID laws, cuts to early voting, and purges of voter rolls.”
What does this mean? Some politicians are making it harder for some populations of Americans to vote. You can hear more about this issue in the video below, entitled “Election 2012: Let People Vote” by ACLUVideos.
Of the 22 states that passed voter restriction laws in 2014, 18 of them were entirely Republican-controlled bodies (according to this article from the American Prospect). According to a study conducted at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, "'restrictions were more likely to pass ‘as the proportion of Republicans in the legislature increased or when a Republican governor was elected.’ After Republicans took over state houses and governorships in 2010, voting restrictions typically followed party lines” (full article here).
There is a racial aspect to voter suppression laws too. These laws are used to dissuade (or even stop) minorities from voting in state or national elections. The Washington Post wrote that “restrictive proposals were more likely to be introduced in states with larger African-American and non-citizen populations and with higher minority turnout in the previous presidential election.” Some politicians and government bodies are taking very deliberate action to restrict some groups of people from voting.
These politicians are also targeting college (and college-aged) students. The New York Times wrote about several instances in North Carolina, Texas, and Ohio. (If you are unable to view the North Carolina website, a screenshot of of the website is copied below for convenience).
College students and young voters make a huge difference in elections when they choose to go out and vote. The same New York Times article writes:
“Nationally, voters under the age of 30 represent a big voting bloc. They cast more than 20 million votes in the 2012 presidential election, accounting for about 15% of the total, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning Engagement, a nonpartisan center at Tufts University. And in North Carolina, their turnout in 2012 was about 57%, among the highest in the country.”
If you still need more reasons to vote, look at the 10 reasons below as outlined by UNC Charlotte:
Your vote matters. You are living in the U.S., so the state and national policies affect you. You can’t escape politics, and if you’re unhappy with them, do something about it. Join a political movement. Find the issues that matter most to you, and find the candidates that share your views on those issues.
Especially in this upcoming national election, your vote is going to be very important.
The 2016 presidential election is going to be very important because of the diverse political beliefs in the running (as of right now). Candidates have proposed beliefs on free public college tuition, illegal immigrants, LGBT legislation, women’s health and rights, #BlackLivesMatter and police brutality, and many other domestic and foreign policies. If you want your beliefs to be heard, you need to vote.
How? Ask yourself the following questions.
1. Are you registered to vote?
If not, check out this website to learn how to register (it’s very easy to do so online). You can read about absentee ballots (and if this is the best option for you, especially if you’re in another state going to school and want to register to vote or are registered to vote in your home state), and find out what to do here.
2. Do you know who is running?
If not, you need to read up on the different candidates and their platforms. You can do so through this article by the New York Times. Know where the candidates stand on issues that are important to you.
If you’re unsure of who you most agree with (since there are so many candidates), take quizzes like I Side With and On the Issues, answering as honestly as you can and to the best of your abilities. These quizzes aren’t absolute, but they will tell you which candidate(s) should best match your beliefs.
Also consider looking at the campaign websites for each of the candidates (which we will not link because there are too many and they are easy to find if you google them). If you don’t have the time to look at each individual website, The Atlantic has compiled a “cheat sheet” on all of the candidates.
And 3. Do you know all of the important deadlines?
If not, remember to look into your state’s deadlines for registering, the primaries, and the actual election. You can view them here and here. Always be weary of dates, since it’s going to be very important in this election that you register on time (if you haven’t already), and that you vote on time. There are politicians who are going to try to make it very difficult for you to vote, but it’s important that you do everything you can to be prepared.
If you want to get involved with your candidate’s campaign (which is very easy to do), all you have to do is visit their websites and find the volunteering section. It should list contact information on how you can get more involved in the campaign (or simply make a donation). You can get involved by volunteering (calling phone numbers, talking to other voters, getting the candidate’s name out there), and you can become involved in fundraisers and rallies if you’re interested in that level of commitment. All you need to do is reach out to your candidate’s campaign team.
I cannot stress this enough, this presidential election you need to vote. You need to vote for the candidate you best think should be president. The next 4 years are going to be very crucial to American (and global) politics. You have a voice, and you need to use it.