A vital part of our mission is leadership. LEADERSHIP IS MAKING CHANGE.
This month: Your Vote Matters.
Following our Leadership is Making Change post, which was written in response to the many stories of racial inequality that plague our country, the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development at Worcester State University made a vow to provide support for and education about marginalized cultures and identities. Marginalized populations are defined as “groups and communities that experience discrimination and exclusion (social, political and economic) because of unequal power relationships across economic, political, social and cultural dimensions.” This post is the first in our series Making Change, which will feature monthly posts that share historical backgrounds, educational resources (to read, watch, and listen), and activism opportunities centered around a specific culture, identity, or community.
Our goal with our October post is to inform our students both about the history, importance, and necessity of voting in November’s election as well as provide resources for understanding the election process and how the U.S. government works. The resources below are meant to be non-partisan and shared only as valuable resources for both current and historical issues.
We strive everyday to educate our students to be impactful campus and community leaders. Leadership begins with education. This resource list is not exhaustive, but will provide the opportunity to begin the journey of educating yourself and those around you.
History of Voting!
Rock The Vote, YouTube
Through sharp and hard-hitting animation rooted in a youth pop cultural aesthetic, this video speaks directly to millennials’ sense of what is exciting, important and cool. By doing so, the video engages them in a discussion about America’s voting history and inspires them to register to vote.
How Voters Decide: Crash Course Government and Politics
Host Craig tries to get inside the heads of voters by discussing how voters make decisions. Now obviously, like all decision making, voter decisions are influenced by a multitude of factors, but the three we are going to focus on today (and the three political scientists seem to think play the biggest role) are party loyalty, the issues involved in an election, and candidate characteristics. Now this all might seem like common sense, and well it sort of is, but it’s important to be aware of and take into account the factors that influence our decisions – especially when considering that many voters are not particularly well-informed.
Tips for First-Time Voters
Created by Indiana University, #IUVotes is a series of videos to educate students about the importance of voting. The second installment discusses the basics of voting for those going to the polls for the first time.
There’s No Such Thing as Not Voting
Eric Liu, TEDTalk
Many people like to talk about how important voting is, how it’s your civic duty and responsibility as an adult. Eric Liu agrees with all that, but he also thinks it’s time to bring joy back to the ballot box. The former political speechwriter details how he and his team are fostering the culture around voting in the 2016 US presidential election — and closes with a powerful analysis of why anyone eligible should show up on Election Day.
The Power of the Youth Vote
Mindy Romero, TEDx Talks
Mindy Romero is the founder and director of the California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP) at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. Romero is a political sociologist and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Davis. Her research focuses on the intersection of political behavior and race/ethnicity. Romero has been invited to speak about civic engagement and political rights in numerous venues, including provided testimony to the National Commission on Voting Rights and the California Legislature. Her research has been cited in major news outlets, including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Politico and the Huffington Post.
Knock Down the House
Free on YouTube, available on Netflix
Knock Down The House takes a look at how progressives made moves after Trump’s 2016 win. The film follows the campaigns of four outsider women — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin — as they fight to gain seats in the House of Representatives during the 2018 election cycle.
Available on Netflix
A Netflix original documentary, Mitt is a rare and intimate account of one man’s quest for the presidency. Given unprecedented access by Mitt Romney and his family for six years, Mitt follows the former governor’s presidential aspirations, from Christmas 2006 to his initial run to become the Republican nominee in 2008 and through his Presidential concession speech in 2012. Director Greg Whiteley travels alongside the campaign through interactions with potential voters, preparations for the debates, personal moments with his family and concluding with final presidential election night results. Whatever side you’re on, see another side.
Available on Amazon Prime
An epic film that chronicles the untold story of the final four months of the man regarded as America’s greatest President. Featuring an all star ensemble cast led by Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role, this movie explores Lincoln not just as the commander-in-chief of a country in chaos, but also as a man with moral courage and hope, a progressive thinker who challenged the status quo.
Available on Amazon Prime
Inspired by true events, “Suffragette” movingly explores the passion and heartbreak of those who risked all they had for women’s right to vote – their jobs, their homes, their children, and even their lives. Academy Award nominees Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter, and three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, lead the cast of the powerful drama about the fight for equality in early-20th-century Britain. The stirring story centers on Maud, a working wife and mother who becomes an activist for the Suffragette cause alongside women from all walks of life.
In the Thick Podcast
Episode: Free the Vote
Maria and Julio are joined by Desmond Meade, the executive director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and the author of the new upcoming book Let My People Vote. They unpack Florida’s recent court decision that restricts returning citizens’ eligibility to vote. They also discuss voter suppression nationwide and how this will impact the 2020 election.
Every weekday, NPR’s best political reporters are there to explain the big news coming out of Washington and the campaign trail. They don’t just tell you what happened. They tell you why it matters.
Left, Right & Center
Left, Right & Center is KCRW’s weekly civilized yet provocative confrontation over politics, policy and pop culture. Josh Barro, representing the Center, hosts a discussion of the week’s news and issues with thought leaders on the Right and Left, and expert guests. In today’s world, the lines between parties and ideologies seem distinct, but are they really? Hear how the other side thinks on the issues that matter most. From the news that dominates the headlines to the important topics below the fold, Left, Right & Center busts the opinion bubbles and echo chambers with genuine discussion and real talk. On the air since 1996, Left, Right & Center is consistently ranked among the top politics and news podcasts.
Voted “Favorite Political Podcast” by Apple Podcasts listeners. Stephen Colbert says “Everybody should listen to the Slate Political Gabfest.” The Gabfest, featuring Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz, is the kind of informal and irreverent discussion Washington journalists have after hours over drinks.
The news tells you what’s going on, but not what to make of it. Every week New York Times Opinion columnists Frank Bruni, Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg explain the argument from each side of the political spectrum, so you can decide where you stand and how to persuade the opposition.
The Brown Girl’s Guide to Politics
Welcome to The Brown Girls Guide to Politics — the one stop shop for women of color who want to hear and talk about the world of politics. Host A’shanti Gholar leads conversations with women changing the face of politics. Episodes include interviews with politicians, candidates, and influencers. Get ready for roundtables, analyzing current events, and more!
Vote! The Podcast
Let’s vote through this apocalypse together. The executive directors of Vote.org and Spread The Vote are here to answer your voting questions with activists, politicians, and your favorite celebs. Vote! is for anyone who has ever felt powerless, overwhelmed, under-resourced, or just plain lost when it comes to voting — aka pretty much all of us!
Talking Politics: HISTORY OF IDEAS
A new series of talks by David Runciman, in which he explores some of the most important thinkers and prominent ideas lying behind modern politics – from Hobbes to Gandhi, from democracy to patriarchy, from revolution to lock down. Plus, he talks about the crises – revolutions, wars, depressions, pandemics – that generated these new ways of political thinking. From the team that brought you Talking Politics: a history of ideas to help make sense of what’s happening today.
We encourage you to utilize your local library or independent bookstore. Books can also be requested through the Worcester State Library when classes are back in session. Students may be eligible to access some of the titles below with a free 2-month Kindle Unlimited trial subscription or free Audible trial.
The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience
Hilary Rodham Clinton & Chelsea Clinton
Pitted against an often antagonistic media, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton have made difficult choices, for themselves and for others, with grace and fortitude. Here they share a hundred profiles of the women who have inspired them through tough moments: resilient figures from the past — Harriet Tubman, “the Moses of her people,” and Rachel Carson, the environmental Cassandra — and the present, such as charismatic activist Malala Yousafzai and the virtuoso novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Aidichie. These captivating stories point the way toward a kinder future for us all.
West Wingers: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House
When we elect a president, we elect with them an entire team that will join them in the West Wing to help run the country. Each of these staffers has a story to tell, and in West Wingers, Barack Obama’s White House staff reveals how these extraordinary citizens shape the presidency and the nation.
In these moving and revealing personal stories, eighteen Obama staffers bring us deep inside the presidency, offering intimate accounts of how they made it to the White House, what they witnessed, and what they accomplished there. We hear from a married gay staffer pushing the president towards marriage equality; a senior aide working to implement the Affordable Care Act while battling Stage IV cancer; a hijab-wearing Muslim adviser accompanying the President to a mosque. In each one we see the human face of government, staffers devoting themselves to the issues that have defined their lives. From the triumphs of Obamacare and marriage equality to the tragedy of the Charleston shooting, this book tells the history of the Obama presidency through the men and women who worked tirelessly to support his vision for America. More than just a history though, West Wingers is an inspiring call to arms for public service, a testament to the possibility of real social change, and a powerful demonstration of what true diversity, inclusivity, and progress can look like in America.
Leadership: In Turbulent Times
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader?
In Leadership, Goodwin draws upon the four presidents she has studied most closely—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights)—to show how they recognized leadership qualities within themselves and were recognized as leaders by others. By looking back to their first entries into public life, we encounter them at a time when their paths were filled with confusion, fear, and hope.
Leadership tells the story of how they all collided with dramatic reversals that disrupted their lives and threatened to shatter forever their ambitions. Nonetheless, they all emerged fitted to confront the contours and dilemmas of their times. This seminal work provides an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field. In today’s polarized world, these stories of authentic leadership in times of apprehension and fracture take on a singular urgency.
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy
In her New York Times bestseller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice.
Focusing on the aftermath of Shelby, Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. In gripping, enlightening detail she explains how voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance: the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans.
Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did. Democracy in Chains names its true architect—the Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan—and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed over six decades to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority.
In a brilliant and engrossing narrative, Nancy MacLean shows how Buchanan forged his ideas about government in a last gasp attempt to preserve the white elite’s power in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. In response to the widening of American democracy, he developed a brilliant, if diabolical, plan to undermine the ability of the majority to use its numbers to level the playing field between the rich and powerful and the rest of us.
The Fifth Risk
Michael Lewis’s brilliant narrative takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders. In Agriculture the funding of vital programs like food stamps and school lunches is being slashed. The Commerce Department may not have enough staff to conduct the 2020 Census properly. Over at Energy, where international nuclear risk is managed, it’s not clear there will be enough inspectors to track and locate black market uranium before terrorists do.
Lack of Voting Information Could Hamper Youth Turnout
Why Student Voters Matter
If You Think Voting Is Important Try The Census
The Student Vote Is Surging. So Are Efforts to Suppress It.
History of Polling on Black America
In US, Attention to Politics Shows Typical Election Year Surge
Milestones for Women in American Politics | CAWP
What It Was Like Registering to Vote for the First Time as a Latina Immigrant
To Act, Support, & Learn More
6 Unbiased Websites To Keep You Informed This Election Season
Gallup’s 2020 Presidential Election Center
US election 2020: A really simple guide
Most Popular Political Issues of 2020
US election polls tracker: who is leading in the swing states?
The 19th News | Informing women. Transforming news.
Resource list compiled by Linzy Martinez, Assistant Director, Office of Student Involvement & Leadership Development