Another change that came out of District 1's 2014 cross-cultural dialogue project was the need to educate Saint Paul residents on local (city and county) elections. Community members pointed out that one of the reasons why there is such a low turn out for local elections is that...
- residents do not know the role of local positions such as the mayor, city council, school board, County commissioners, etc.,
- do not understand the voting process and
- do not see the importance of voting.
District 1 applied for a Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA - with the UMN) grant to push this action step forward. The grant proposed having youth use the arts as a tool for voter education. In Spring of 2015, ten Saint Paul youth of color were recruited and mentored by Chia Lor and Clara Ware. The youth named themselves: The Voices.
Over the summer, they busied themselves with
- attending voter engagement training,
- participating in performing arts workshops,
- writing their own hip hop and spoken word pieces,
- creating a hip-hop music video,
- performing at community events, and
- pledging and registering Saint Paul residents to vote.