Six-ish Ways to Stay Civically Engaged Between Elections
Let’s make something clear—young people, especially young people of color, literally decided the outcome of the 2020 elections. With over 50% voter turnout, it is clear that young people’s concerns and collective voice must be acknowledged and addressed. We must continue this momentum and excitement.
If we want to make progress on all the issues that catapulted us to the polls, then we have to continue to advocate for our communities, stay engaged with our leaders, and make activism a part of our lives. We still have a lot of work to do to create a fair and just democracy, and voting was just the first step. Here are some ways you can participate in our democracy between elections.
Contact Your Elected Officials
We voted in a new government because of the promises they made to us on the campaign trail. Now hold them accountable. Let them know your thoughts on the issues, what’s on your mind, and your reactions to their action or inaction on the issues. To contact your federal officials visit our Respect My Vote campaign. For all other officials check out the ‘Who Currently Holds Office’ section of my.VoteEverywhere.
Advance your understanding of the issues and how they impact your community and others. Challenge yourself and your thinking, and continue to grow by following thought leaders, listening to podcasts, diversifying your reading list, watching documentaries, attending speaking events, and more.
Get Sh!t Done!
Elected officials aren’t the only ones who can get laws passed. Work with your university, local, state, and federal leaders to get legislation passed. Consider advocating for more voter friendly laws such as securing a polling place on campus, pre-paid postage on absentee ballots, investing more in voter outreach and education, removing voting restrictions for individuals with felony convictions and more.
Get Out The Vote
There are elections every year. Although they don’t get as much media coverage, local elections matter too. Often it’s your local officials who are making the decisions that are impacting you and your community day to day, and with lower turnout than other elections, your vote will carry a lot of weight. You can’t afford to miss out!
Were you eligible to vote but were unable to? Ensure that this does not happen again by updating your voter registration at my.VoteEverywhere and securing the appropriate forms of identification if needed.
You can’t be a part of every fight, and that’s ok. Consider donating your time, money, energy, or resources to organizations that will help advance the causes you care about. P.S. You can ask your employer or school if they are willing to donate, too!
Talk About It
Activism isn’t a solo job. Have conversations with your friends and family about what’s going on, share your opinion, and learn about others. Healthy debate is a pillar of democracy, and engaging in it in your daily life will help foster a culture of civic engagement.
Choose one or more of the above suggestions or find your own method of activism that is more authentically you. How you choose to stay civically engaged, how much time you dedicate to it, and what you choose to organize around is entirely up to you. The most important thing is that you continually take your power back on Election Day and beyond.
About The Author
Rachel Sondkar is the Communications Associate at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. She is a UC Berkeley graduate, and a former Andrew Goodman ambassador.