I hope you're celebrating this Independence Day with your family, friends and... great food;-) And I just wanted to remind you that we shouldn't take our independence for granted - as individuals and as a nation! That's why I decided to repost an interview I did some time ago about things we should to do secure our freedom and independence...
Find out what Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicole Scherzinger are calling you to do!
Independence cannot be deemed as a condition, it is a process – a process of making choices...
When we refuse to choose and simply go with the flow, we deny our freedom. In the 18th century American soldiers had to take weapons and risk their lives for liberty we have luxury of living in right now. Today the only thing everyone must do is to make an informed decision and vote. As simple as that! No fighting, no war, no blood. However, some of us don’t even do that. More and more nonprofits are working to increase participation in election among young people. One of the most successful of them is “Rock the Vote”. Celebrities like Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Leonardo Di Caprio, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Sarah Jessica Parker and many others took part in the campaigns organized by “Rock the Vote”. I met with its vice-president Chrissy Faessen.
Rock the Vote Commercial with Christina Aguilera
Chrissy, was there a real urge to found an organization like yours?
We were founded more than 20 years ago out of the entertainment industry at the time when they were trying to censor the type of music the young people were listening to. A bunch of the artists and record labels got together and created the first campaign of Rock the Vote, which is called "Censorship is Un-American". It banded young people together in a way to fight back all of the censorship that was happening around. From there it really continued to move forward and formulate as a non-profit organization that was working to get young people involved in the political process.
Rock the Vote Commercial with Madonna
What accomplishments are you proud of the most?
We've registered over 5 million individuals. We were the first to organize a telephone voter registration and then we have moved to online voter registration. So, we ran the largest non-partisan voter registration drive in history in 2008, largest mid-term election drive in 2010.
Getting people to vote is a hard task by itself. But that’s far from enough, right? Voters need to be politically educated to make informed decisions that benefit the community the most. How do you encourage future voters to take time and familiarize themselves with what the politics is about.
What we know about this generation is that they don't identify with a political party necessarily. They are really committed to voting on the issues that they care about. What we try to do is to ensure that young peoples' views are being considered as policy makers are making decision about issues such as health care, the future of our environment, energy sources and our economy. And then, in turn, we work with candidates, political parties, campaigns and etc. to insure that they are speaking to young people and that young people have enough to make informed decisions about candidates.
What are the ways young people can get involved and support your organization?
In a few ways. On our website they can run voter registration drive: they can run them on their college campus, in the communities and really get out there and encourage others to register to vote. So, we provide those tools and resources to do so. They can also volunteer with us, which means coming on board in some of the activities that we're participating in at music festivals and other events and registering people to vote at those events. They can support us through a donation. And then of course we want them to participate, to tell us about the issues they care about, put comments on our blogs and interact on our Facebook page and really to be part of these larger conversations that we're having with policy-makers to ensure that their views and positions are being heard.