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GCSW Voter Engagement and Political Justice Initiative

voter-image-2020

Preparing social workers to engage with and expand the electorate throughout their social work careers

October 9, 2020

(HOUSTON, TX) - We encourage the GCSW community to volunteer as part of Election Day and/or during the Early Voting period in your area to help promote political justice and help challenge barriers that often keep people from being able to participate in elections. The GCSW’s Voter Engagement and Political Justice Initiative (VEPJ) has laid out three key opportunities to get involved:

Become a poll worker

These are paid positions that help make sure as many polling locations as possible are open for voters. You must be registered to vote in the county in which you would like to work the polls. There is a particular need for poll workers who speak multiple languages.

  • Houston Justice will host a Discussion: What it’s Like Being a Poll Worker on September 18 at 6PM on Facebook Live and Zoom. Email ddouglas@houstonjustice.com for more information
  • Visit powerthepolls.org or your county registrar’s website for information and to sign up directly with your county.
  • Texas Civil Rights Project is also helping to recruit Poll Workers and offering training, information, and support throughout the process. For more information and to sign up go here.

Become an Election Protection volunteer

The Protect the Vote campaign works every election to protect the right to vote. They are seeking non-partisan volunteers to fight against voter suppression, intimidation and misinformation spread. You can coordinate locations and shifts with friends and colleagues, and do not have to be a registered voter or U.S. citizen to volunteer. There are four different ways to volunteer this election:
  • Legal Volunteer Sign Up – this is a remote position for legal professionals
  • General Sign Up – be stationed in person outside a polling location
  • Roving Poll Monitor Sign up – drive around to different polling locations to report any problems (you may stay in your car the entire time)
  • Virtual Poll Monitor Sign up – remote position to find voting problems being discussed on social media
  • Legal Volunteer Sign Up – this is a remote position for legal professionals

Volunteer with VEPJ Partner Organizations

Each organization listed below has partnered with the GCSW to offer opportunities between now and Election Day (and beyond) for members of the GCSW community to volunteer individually or with friends and colleagues, in order to help facilitate voting among underrepresented communities in the Houston area. You do not have to be a registered voter or U.S. citizen to volunteer. Contact each organization using the information provided on page 2 to learn more about specific volunteer opportunities.

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“A national civic engagement organization that unites Latino, immigrant, and allied communities to promote social and economic justice through citizenship workshops, voter registration, and voter participation. Our mission is to build Latino political power by expanding the electorate, strengthening local infrastructures, and through year-round voter engagement.”

Volunteer opportunities: All volunteering will be virtual. MFV will conduct youth workshops (high school and college students) concerning voter education, phone banking and virtual voter registration events.

To volunteer: Email Santiago Cirnigliaro; subject line: “VEPJ Volunteer Interest”

OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates of Greater Houston

“OCA-Greater Houston Chapter is a volunteer-driven organization of community advocates that strives to meet the current and evolving needs of a diverse population through a comprehensive continuum of programs targeting different life stages of AAPIs with a focus on developing advocacy, leadership, and civic engagement participation of AAPIs.”

Volunteer opportunities: In-person events include food fair distributions with the census, voter registration, and mail-in ballot education; direct canvassing in September and October; Election Day exit poll surveying in Alief and Sugarland; poll site monitoring. Virtual events include phone banking until 11/1 and text banking for census and voting reminders in October.

To volunteer: Email Stephani Leota; subject line: “OCA Voter Engagement Volunteer”

Texas Freedom Network – Texas Rising

GOTV and civic engagement opportunities for young people on college campuses and in communities using a multi-issue, intersectional social justice framework.

Volunteer opportunities: All volunteering events and opportunities are virtual unless individual students would like to organize small in-person events that are socially distanced. There will be text and phone banking until Election Day, teach-ins and opportunities to become a VDVR.

To volunteer: Sign up to volunteer here! If you have any questions email TFN Student Leaders.

Community Empowerment Solutions (CES)

CES is a community-based social justice collaborative founded to address the systemic gaps and deficiencies experienced by underrepresented communities. CES facilitates systemic change by collaborating with stakeholders to develop prosperous and safer communities that preserve the civil rights and liberties of every resident.

Volunteer opportunities: Virtual and in-person (as safety allows); text and phone banking, voter registration (at food drives and other community events), poll working during early voting in October and November as safety precautions allow.

To volunteer: Contact Shannon or call (713) 637-9191

Houston Justice

Houston Justice is a non-partisan advocacy group aimed at eradicating homelessness, recidivism, and injustice in the community at-large. #ProjectOrange “aims to register eligible inmates and their family members during visitation” at Harris County Jail.

Volunteer opportunities: Virtual pen-pal system encouraging detainees across the US to exercise their right to vote; #ProjectOrange registers eligible detainees in person on four consecutive Saturdays starting August 22

To volunteer: To volunteer with #ProjectOrange fill out form here; Email Tina Kingshill with any questions. For other Houston Justice volunteer opportunities email Durrel Douglass

Emgage USA – Houston Chapter

“We strive to build the political awareness and capacity of Muslim Americans to engage on key policy issues that affect all of us as Americans, but especially as Muslims....Emgage is dedicated to bridging the gap between the electorate and the policies that affect their lives by organizing grassroots efforts such as voter registration campaigns, absentee ballot drives, candidate forums, statewide phone banking and canvassing, organizing early voting events and distributing nonpartisan issue guides.”

Volunteer opportunities: Mostly virtual; Voter registration and voter mobilization targeting MASA (Muslim, Arab, South Asian) community through phone banking, texting, robust social media campaign and voter education webinars.

To volunteer: Email Nabila Mansoor.

 Contact Dr. Suzanne Pritzker or Stephani Leota with any questions about this Initiative.