On February 9, we held a special event featuring Jeanine Abrams McLean and Aileen Loy of Fair Count, Abdul Dosunmu of the Young Black Lawyers’ Organizing Coalition, and Becky Bullard and Andrew Dinwiddie of Democrasexy.
Check out the recording and the notes below to hear what really works in voting activism, directly from these extraordinary leaders in civic engagement.
What’s next? Revolutionize your voting activism with us!
Want to bring the power of whales, witches, and wonder into your own work? Apply for our Unstoppable Voters Fellowship! Our unique Fellowship is an amazing opportunity for voting activists to bring more innovation and impact to their work through training, mentorship, community support, and more. Applications are open through March 1.
What works in voting activism?
“With everything going on in the state of Georgia, we knew with the communities and the types of voters that we were trying to get out to vote, to make sure that their voices were heard, that we had to be creative to get people to ask questions, and to get people engaged.”
Center Celebration, Hope, and Joy
“Center hope, and celebration, and joy as tools of resistance. There are so many ways in which this moment aims to undermine our sense of agency. Reclaiming our hope and joy is a way to reclaim our agency.”
Make it Personal
“Make sure you’re talking to people about what really matters and why it’s important to their day-to-day lives. It’s not enough to encourage people to go out and vote. You have to make sure to talk to people about how the vote is actually going to improve their lives. And then we have to hold ourselves accountable in making sure that that vote actually improves people’s lives.”
From Becky and Andrew
Use Mystery, Whimsy, and Surprise
“I always opened the [Texorcism] ceremony by inviting in the spirits of Texas ancestors who had worked for good in the past as well as connecting with future Texans who would benefit from our work on the election now. This was one of the most resonant parts of the ceremony. It really moved people and helped them center themselves in history in a way that we don’t always do.”
“At the close of the ceremony we had folks burn the list of things they wanted to exorcise from the lives of Texans or from Texas politics — this element of surprise that everyone found very cathartic and fun.”
Evaluate and Refine
“C4AA has an amazing, very rigorous program of how to go about this work, and it was incredibly useful to us. Becky and I were like, “Wow, we’re doing so much prototyping.” And then every time we hit a wall, we were like, “We didn’t prototype that early enough. We didn’t prototype that often enough.” That is something I’m taking into, actually, all of my life. Prototype.”
Create Irresistible Imagery
“A flying whale in rural Georgia. No one expects to see that. It immediately disarms people, and there’s kind of a “… Huh.” People are more open to asking questions, to hearing what’s going on.“
Make it Youth Friendly
“We were doing these big cookouts and [the whale project] was something that kept the kids’ attention because it was specifically for them. They’re engaged and having fun and the parents could relax and stay longer and chat with the organizers and talk about voting. The adults felt more comfortable hanging out and having longer conversations. It made for a really great environment.“
What is Unstoppable Voters?
Through the Center for Artistic Activism’s expansive Unstoppable Voters program, we support creatively risk-taking, strategic, ambitious organizations, people, and projects that address urgent and specific anti-voter attacks. We provide training and community building for individuals and groups who are passionate about protecting the freedom to vote and bringing the needed innovation to that fight. And we provide funding and support to help manifest that innovation and bring real, measurable impact. To date, we’ve helped over 80 organizations and over 900 individual activists, artists, and everyone in between make voting accessible, safe, joyful, powerful, and irresistible.