By: Lyra Wilson
“I understand why it might be easy for us to tune out. To watch football, or Dancing with the Stars. But I’m here to tell you, tuning out is not an option!”
An audience of people fired up and ready to go, predominantly black people of every age is captivated by former President Barack Obama's clarification of this sentiment. Having waited in line for hours, for the moment when the secret service could pat them down and let them in, so many people arrived dressed to the nines as they say. Men looked sleek in their best suits, to gold-toed dress shoes. The women rocked dresses in all different lengths, to suave pant suits of all different colors and textures.
While observing this event that I attended over the past weekend, I wondered deep down why people like the Obamas are eager for people to vote. As musician Bob Dylan says “The times are A’changin”, but you may be a bit young to know who Bob Dylan is. The sentiment still exists. Everyone in some shape or form wants what is best for us as Americans. From the top of the ladder to the smaller positions within the states. As creatives though, how do we put our civic duty into action in order to have people represent what we need?
Voting and government might seem unrelated to the arts to many people. But it certainly does. From the perspective of someone who comes from a family of artists and those who teach in this field. In addition, many of my favorite teachers were from my art, video, or orchestra classes. I’m sure many more can agree on this. School districts may be impacted by how we vote now regarding funding for classes such as band, theater, and painting. Year by year many art programs within schools shut down because art is seen as an intense investment. Things like equipment, copyrights in order to perform songs, etc. do add up. For more prominent state officials, it is crucial to have the same types of people assisting us with after-school programs within parks and recreation. These programs provide a safe space for a lot of youths to express themselves, such as sports, dance classes, museum trips, etc. Voting can help elect officials who will fight for the arts and realize how important it is to all our well beings.
The most important thing is to feel good about the representation we get when we do create. It allows us to feel inspired and do our overall best. In doing so, having ways that we can be assured healthcare whether physically, or mentally, will benefit how our projects are made, if we can start them at all, and the end result.
It can feel overwhelming to not have your voice heard, but having elected officials who will listen to your opinions and act upon them is vital. Everything, in the end, all comes back to the current state of…well, the states. As for the artwork that we should be made to help encourage people to vote for our rights as artists, we provide the message that what unites us is always stronger than what divides us. It is a message to believe in that will help take our dreams for the future of democracy and help bring it to the promised land.
This midterm is important to the well-being of our communities. Here are some resources on how to vote or get involved in your community.