Facing History and Ourselves teaches about the importance of civic engagement and responsibility. A number of years ago, Facing History and Ourselves in Los Angeles created an exhibit, “Power of One,” to accompany the traveling Choosing To Participate exhibit. One of the individuals who was highlighted in this exhibit was Chuck Levin. Levin was honored for his commitment to registering voters. Recently he visited one of the LA Facing History Partnership Schools. Teacher Lasondra Beck describes this visit:
To help students understand the power of voting and that their voices count here at the Academy of Medical Arts on the Carson High School, Chuck Levin spoke to our entire student body about “Why it is important for all of us to vote.” Chuck gave us insight into his life and how he became a volunteer poll worker at the tender age of 18. We learned that in 1973 Chuck talked his mother into volunteering for just one day, and that day turned into many more days, weeks, months and year until her death in 2009. This led to her breaking the record for the number of people that one person registered to vote (over 47,000!).
Chuck informed the students about the voting age and how to register to vote. He even explained what to do if you move and need to change your voting address. Voting is a privilege here in the United States and every voice counts. Everyone’s vote is the same no matter how wealthy you are, how powerful and rich you are or how poor you are, each person voice is just as important.
Chuck explained to our students that statistics show that the majority of people who vote are wealthy white males over the age of 55. Therefore, our country, state and city laws are being decided by one major group of people. By not voting, we are allowing one group of people to decide how everything is done. We can complain but it does not do any good if we as a society are not getting out and voting. He pressed the major importance of each person starting at 18 and voting at every election.
Chuck broke down the reason why we should vote, the importance of it and how easy it is to register and vote. I believe he gave our students the confidence and the reality on why they should vote. In fact, any eligible voter at our school would be hard pressed to offer even one reason why he/she doesn't vote. Chuck even brought registration forms for those students whom are already 18 and have not signed up yet."
Facing History and Ourselves' study guide, Participating in Democracy, explores the challenges and possibilities of citizenship by highlighting the stories of four young Americans. Their work deepens and expands our understanding of the word citizen and helps us see good citizenship as a creative act - a work of the imagination. CLICK HERE to download the guide.