Today is a US holiday, but not the kind where you get to enjoy a nice leisurely day off from school or work. On the contrary, National Voter Registration Day is a day when Americans are called to get out there and celebrate democracy. If you haven’t already registered to vote, today is a great reminder to do it. It’s also a great day to remind your friends and family to do it. In fact, civic engagement is such an integral part of UnidosUS’s educational programming, that we have three different but related projects that are helping youth become voters and civic activists:
- Power of 18: a national campaign that is registering and mobilizing Latinos to vote in this year’s mid-term elections.
- High School Democracy Project: UnidosUS partners with local schools to educate students on the voting process.
- Líderes Avanzando: a fellowship helping first and second-generation Latinos navigate the higher education system, finish within six years, and use their education to take action on important issues in their community.
You can take action today by promoting UnidosUS’s voter registration site becomeavoter.org. If you’re not 18 or a U.S. citizen, you can still campaign for voter registration among friends and family who meet those criteria.
- Take a Registration Break: It only takes two minutes to open up your smart phone and register to vote at becomeavoter.org. You can do it between classes or right after you walk out of your last class. Grab three friends and make it a group effort.
- Bring it to the Table: Dinner is almost ready and your family has gathered at the table. Any eligible voters in your household? Hand them your smart phone loaded to the becomeavoter.org page.
- Call Your Extended Familia: When was the last time you talked to your abuelos? What about your tíos and primos? Call or text for a quick catch up and pass them the becomeavoter.org link.
- The Online Social: Go to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat and take a minute to talk about the importance of civic engagement, and why the mid-term elections matter. You can do it in a video, a short text, or with a picture and caption that includes the becomeavoter.org link. Why not get some footage or images from your school’s voter registration booth? You can also add #NationalVoterRegistrationDay, #Powerof18, and @WeAreUnidosUS.
“I am glad to see that youth have a new powerful tool to take part in the political process,” UnidosUS Líderes Program Manager Kumera Genet says of the becomeavoter.org registration platform. “Both voting and non-electoral civic engagement efforts are important to empower the next generation’s thoughtful and inclusive ideas. I’ve worked with young leaders in multiple UnidosUS programs, and their passion for the issues that affect our community is evident. Our role is to get them into the right avenues to act on that passion.”
This past weekend in Washington, he brought the 2018-2019 Líderes fellows to consider how to do that with workshops on lobbying, policy writing, media engagement, and campus outreach. One of his participants was Angélica César, a double major in political science and Chicanx studies at Arizona State University.
“My experience with UnidosUS has helped me realize how important it is for us young Latino leaders to use our voice through voting in order to advocate for our community and the issues that matter to us, regardless of what our political stances are,” says the 21-year-old Latina leader.
César is volunteering this week at her campus voter registration booth, and while there, she’s helping students think about other ways they can get into local civic engagement initiatives.
“With today’s technology, it just takes a minute to register to vote ,” she says, noting that she registered on her smart phone three years ago and discovered that even the emotional results were immediate. “I felt more connected to my community and to who I am,” she says.