For the past six weeks I have been doing voter registration with the Northern Nevada PLAN team. I have had a wide variety of interactions during this process, from registering first-time-voters who are well over 30 years old, to long conversations about civic engagement and the state of our communities.
By far the most frustrating, recurring experience I had while registering folks to vote was running into people who bragged about never voting. I spent one day at the Nevada State Fair, and during a span of eight hours, I had ten different women brag to me about their lack of interest in civic engagement. It was incredibly difficult for me to empathize with that sentiment. Growing up, I was constantly reminded implicitly and explicitly that I could be involved in government on all levels because despite being a woman, my class and racial standing meant that in many ways the government would work for me. Although it took me a while to figure it out, I finally realized that most of the people I talked to while doing registration had not received the same message I had while growing up. Many of them expressed that they had always been told that they shouldn’t vote because they were not educated enough and their vote ultimately wouldn’t matter. I know that corporate involvement in government these days makes it extremely difficult to believe that our voices matter, but ultimately what I have learned through the process of voter registration these past six weeks is this:
I am thankful for the experiences and community I got to be a part of as an intern at PLAN. I am leaving with a better understanding of my own identity and the structures of power at play in my community, but I am also leaving with a million more questions than when I started. These questions and the people that I had the pleasure of working with have given me the motivation to dive deeper into the struggle for equity.
I am leaving with a better understanding of my own identity and the structures of power at play in my community[…]