Your Voice Counts
“The history of voter suppression in the U.S. is really the history of voting rights in the U.S.” Did you know that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee Americans the right to vote? When the founding fathers wrote “We the People,” the individual states were left to decide who “the people” referred to. At first, only white landowning men were given the right to vote, and Jim Crow laws passed in 1877 suppressed the Black vote. The 19th Amendment of 1920 finally give white women the right to vote, but it wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that Jim Crow voting laws in the southern U.S. were eradicated. Unfortunately, the history of voter suppression didn’t end with the Voting Rights Act (Source: Dave Roos, How Voter Suppression Works).
This video gives a great history of voting rights and voter suppression in the United States:
Teaching Tolerance’s Future Voters Project is an initiative that educates students on the history of voter suppression to help them realize the importance of their vote. If you are the parent or caregiver of a student who is approaching age 18, this resource might be valuable for you to explore together as a family. Additionally, the theme for Teaching Tolerance Magazine’s most recent issue is “Democracy in Action.” Follow this link to read the magazine, which shares “stories about fighting youth voter suppression, protecting students from immigrant families through sanctuary schools and districts, countering weaponized whiteness in schools,” and much more.
Empower your student with information to ensure their voice is heard in next month’s upcoming election!
This year, over 3 million students will turn 18 and become eligible to vote in the upcoming presidential election, according to data from My School Votes. Unfortunately, in the 2018 midterm election, only 23% of eligible voters under the age of 20 cast their ballots. When your student turns 18, encourage them to follow this link and register as a Michigan voter!
For parents of children who are not yet nearing age 18, but who still want to educate their children on the history of voting in the United States, the book Lillian’s Right to Vote by Shane W. Edwards is a fantastic resource. Below is a recording of this this book being read aloud; the FACE office encourages you read this book with your child, and use this helpful Family Discussion Guide from ADL to continue the conversation as a family!
The following resources are intended for GRPS parents/caregivers and community members who are interested in becoming US citizens and gaining the right to vote:
- The Literacy Center of West Michigan’s free citizenship classes for English language learners – click on the above image or text (872) 529-6004 for additional information!
- The Literacy Center of West Michigan’s Adult Tutoring Program pairs a learner with a volunteer tutor for free weekly meetings where individuals with low levels of literacy can study to become U.S. citizens (among other things!). Follow this link to request a tutor!
- KDL Resources for US Citizenship