Today, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a wide-ranging North Carolina voting law that was passed in 2013 and upheld by a federal district court. The Fourth Circuit found that the legislature enacted these provisions with the intention (and not only the effect) of discriminating against Black voters. The opinion says, “in holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees.”
My colleague Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg and I wrote an expert report for this lawsuit, we were both deposed, and I testified in the North Carolina district court last year. We argued that the 2013 law discriminated against young adults. That issue enters the Appeals Court’s decision most explicitly in relation to one provision: “preregistration.” To quote the opinion:
Preregistration permitted 16- and 17-year-olds, when obtaining driver’s licenses or attending mandatory high school registration drives, to identify themselves and indicate their intent to vote. … Although preregistration increased turnout among young adult voters, SL 2013-381 eliminated it. …
The General Assembly’s elimination of preregistration provides yet another troubling mismatch with its proffered justifications. Here, the record makes clear that the General Assembly contrived a problem in order to impose a solution. According to the State, the preregistration system was too confusing for young voters. SL 2013-381 thus sought, in the words of a sponsor of the law, to “offer some clarity and some certainty as to when” a “young person is eligible to vote,” by eliminating preregistration altogether. J.A. 3317.13 But, as the district court itself noted, that explanation does not hold water. The court found that “pre-registration’s removal  ma[d]e registration more complex” and prone to confusion.
One of the most important languages for expressing the values of the commons, I have come to realize, is art. It can often express visceral knowledge more effectively than words and give those insights a more powerful cultural reality.
Those were my thoughts when I saw "Seeing Wetiko," an “online gallery” of artworks, music and videos just released by the global arts collective The Rules. “Artists and activists from around the world have come together in a burst of creative energy to popularize the Algonquin concept of wetiko, a cannibalistic mind virus they claim is causing the destruction of the planet,” the group announced.
Wetiko is an indigenous term used to describe “a psycho-spiritual disease of the soul which deludes its host into believing that cannibalizing the life-force of others is logical and moral.” The dozens of artworks on the website convey this idea in vivid, compelling ways. The term wetiko was chosen for the project as a framework for understanding our global crisis, from ecological destruction and homelessness, to poverty and inequality. To illustrate the scope of wetiko today, the website features a wonderful four-minute video, graffiti murals from Nairobi, carved marks from the US, a film about plastic bottle waste in Trinidad and Tobago, and a theater performance about patriarchy in India.
The Rules is a global network of “activists, artists, writers, farmers, peasants, students, workers, designers, hackers and dreamers” who focus on five key areas needing radical change – money, power, secrecy, ideas and the commons.
In an essay in Kosmos Journal describing the wetiko project, Martin Kirk and Alnoor Ladha, co-founders of The Rules, write: "What if we told you that humanity is being driven to the brink of extinction by an illness? That all the poverty, the climate devastation, the perpetual war, and consumption fetishism we see all around us have roots in a mass psychological infection? What if we went on to say that this infection is not just highly communicable but also self-replicating, according to the laws of cultural evolution, and that it remains so clandestine in our psyches that most hosts will, as a condition of their infected state, vehemently deny that they are infected?"
Following a historic night in which a woman for the first time accepted the nomination of a major political party for President of the United States (NOTE: FJCC TAKES NO POSITION ON CANDIDATES), I just want to share with you two relevant lessons we have in our new Students Investigating Primary Sources series. One is targeting US History and the other targets US Government and are aligned to Florida benchmarks (though you can adapt them for your use!); both use a very interesting resource.
The letter included in each short lesson argues against the 19th Amendment from the perspective of women, and students are asked to really interrogate the document, or portions of the document, in different ways within each course.
Please keep in mind that these are NOT intended to be deep explorations of issues, government, or historical topics; rather, these are essentially mini-lessons that introduce students to both a primary source and a historical or government-related topic within a 15-25 minute time frame. It’s a chance, essentially, to let them build their understanding and use of primary sources and relevant skills around them. And these two lessons are perfect, I think, during this historic election season!
And if you are interested in how American women have fought long for the right to vote, visit the National Women’s History Museum!
As you may have seen on the NCDD Discussion Listerv recently, several NCDD members are hosting a “virtual roundtable” focused on transcending partisan divides this Aug. 1-4. The American Citizens Summit event will be co-hosted by NCDD members Amanda Roman and John Steiner and will feature many more members and D&D leaders as speakers. We encourage our members to learn more in Amanda’s announcement below or visit www.americancitizenssummit.com.
Join The American Citizens Summit for 3 Days of Political Cross-Training
As you may know, the first decade of my career was dedicated to the center-right political coalition. While my values and philosophical leanings remain. I have spent the second decade getting to know and working to support amazing organizations and innovative individuals that are focused on moving beyond typical political boundaries and getting results.
Just after the RNC and DNC conventions, I will be co-hosting a tele-summit that will recognize and spotlight this transpartisan dynamic. We are anticipating 50,000+ registrants and I would love to have you join us for three days (and an extra evening) of energetic political cross-training!
Are you concerned by our nation’s current political climate? Discouraged that infighting and bitter partisanship is affecting our ability to move forward? Do you feel discouraged and without a place in the political process? Wondering if your vote really counts?
You’re not alone.
Like many Americans, you may feel like a bystander, powerless to make a difference. And while media would have us believe that bitter polarization and gridlock is the norm, that’s only one overplayed perspective of the story.
There are MANY passionate and dedicated Americans engaged in and working to reform our democratic system – citizens just like YOU! – developing bold solutions that transcend partisan politics and creating platforms where everyone’s voice CAN be heard and everyone’s vote DOES count.
You’re invited to take your place among them during the American Citizens Summit, August 1-4!
I’m honored to have served as the lead designer for this event and to be co-hosting conversations with over 45 respected political leaders, grassroots visionaries, business pioneers, change agents and advocates – including Gavin Newsom, Marianne Williamson, Grover Norquist, Jackie Salit, Eric Liu, Joan Blades, John Robbins (and so many more!) – who are committed to putting democratic principles before politics-as-usual to help reclaim the full power of our democracy.
During this unprecedented 4-day event you’ll discover opportunities to bring about the change you believe is possible, ways to navigate political conversations without polarization, and alternatives that build momentum toward a brighter future for us all.
We’ll chart the course toward more positive politics. We’ll build bridges across divides and learn about effective solutions for our communities and our country.
I hope you’ll participate in this special online gathering presented by The Shift Network.
The American Citizens Summitwill serve as a “virtual roundtable” where diverse thought leaders representing the full spectrum of political ideologies – each with valuable insights and contributions, and united in their desire to bring greater wisdom and compassion to our country through this process – will come together to model a respectful dialogue in an effort to shift our political paradigm.
Join us for 4 days of energetic political cross training on how to get results, respect differences and strengthen our democracy. You’ll discover:
- Ways to navigate political conversations without polarization
- Bold solutions that transcend partisan politics
- How to help reclaim the full power of our democracy
- Innovative & inspired actions you can take immediately
- A larger community with resources & connections for you to tap into
- Pathways to channel your energy, passion & interests
- Ways to make your voice heard & your vote count
- Your contribution in peacefully fulfilling our highest promise as a nation
- Network with like-minded people who share your desire to move forward in UNITY
- Effective solutions that are working for our communities & our country
- Processes that allow us to see opposing sides & possibilities for common ground
Amanda Kathryn Roman
One of the long term goals of the FJCC is to provide short, quality videos that teachers can use with their students. While we are quite proud of our content videos that feature Dr. Fine, more student-friendly videos that go beyond simply the talking head approach would, we believe, be useful for both teachers and students. We are happy to say that we are making some progress in this area. Our first video provides you with an overview of the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship and what sorts of tools and resources we have to offer. Please share it with your friends!
We hope that our younger members will take note of a great opportunity that NCDD member organization Everyday Democracy recently announced. EvDem is offering grants for 18-30 year olds to attend their national convening in December of this year, and we encourage you to apply before the August 1 deadline! Learn more in EvDem’s announcement below or find the original version here.
Young Leaders Grant Opportunity
The next generation of leaders engaging people in creating positive change has already made waves in communities across the country. Our goal is to attract 20-40 of those young leaders to take part in learning and networking at our upcoming national convening. Participants will learn, connect, and share their insights with changemakers of all ages.
Several young leaders will be awarded scholarships to enable them to attend the convening, and will have the opportunity to compete for grant money to support their leadership and organizing efforts in their local communities.
What we hope to accomplish:
- Highlight the work of young leaders at our national convening
- Provide opportunities for learning and networking among young leaders
- Provide support for the critical work being done by young leaders across the country
- Build our network among the next generation of changemakers
What is the grant competition?
Young leaders (ages 18-30) will have the chance to compete to win one of four all-expense paid scholarships to Everyday Democracy’s national convening in Baltimore, MD, December 8-10, 2016. The four finalists will present their work at the conference and compete for grants to support their work in their local communities.
By participating in this grant competition, young leaders will gain access to our tools, resources and coaching, as well as a national spotlight for the work they are doing.
How do I apply?
If you are interested in participating, send us a completed Intent to Apply form. We will follow up with you by providing the application guidelines and other details.
Through the application process, applicants will submit information telling us who they are, the work they are doing and what impact the convening and grant could have on their work.
The application process will likely include an essay and/or video submission. Submissions will be judged based on a demonstration of a commitment to the values of racial equity and inclusive community-building that Everyday Democracy champions. The submission details are still being determined. Those who submit an Intent to Apply will be the first to hear details on how to submit an application for the grant.
Who is eligible to apply?
Anyone from the U.S. who will be between the ages of 18-30 on December 1, 2016 who is doing great work to change their communities. Everyone who applies must be available and able to travel to the conference December 8-10, 2016 in Baltimore, MD.
You can find the original version of this announcement from Everyday Democracy at www.everyday-democracy.org/news/young-leaders-grant-opportunity.