I was in North Carolina this week, talking about civic engagement at Duke and at the University of North Carolina. At Duke, I met with faculty and students who have been part of the Sanford School of Public Policy and DukeEngage, programs that promote student learning through practices in the public sphere. At UNC I was part of a panel on civic engagement and intellectual diversity, subjects about which I’ve often written.
What really came home to me when I was talking with students, teachers and other community members was just how important these midterm elections are. There are people on the ballot in North Carolina and elsewhere around the country who are determined to change the rules of democracy so as to cement power and privilege to prevent further democratic change. This means people who will restrict voting rights, roll back gains made by women and minorities, and undermine the basic freedoms that are essential to our educational and electoral systems. All elections matter, but these midterms are crucial.
That’s why we are promoting mini-grants for students who want to travel to states where there are especially competitive races. You can get travel funds to work over Fall Break in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida… Wherever you think you can make a difference for the candidate or ballot measure of your choice. Who or what you support, of course, is entirely up to you.
Please have a plan to vote on November 8, and let’s do what we can to help others make their voices heard.