The Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention recently introduced two program partnerships facilitated by the Host Committee that create unique opportunities for local Philadelphia young people to be involved in the activities surrounding the Convention. One of those opportunities titled, Voices of Voting, is a short play written and directed by award-winning Philadelphia artistic director David Bradley, which will take place during the Convention at the Science Leadership Academy, a magnet public high school within the School District of Philadelphia located at 22nd and Race Streets.
In Voices of Voting, a theatrical staged reading with live music will bring to life the stories of those who fought to achieve voting rights in 1965—their personal struggles and political courage. A 20-minute dramatic reading will be followed by a 10-minute town hall-style question-and-answer session in which the piece’s three performers will directly engage the audience, letting audience members speak their arguments for and against voting. The production will conclude with a voter education program presented by Seventy staff.
Voices of Voting is intended to create a civic youth experience, offering young people an opportunity to be trained as Election Ambassadors. The interactive performances will seek to educate young minority residents of Philadelphia on the importance of voting and nonpartisan civic engagement.
A core mission of the Committee of Seventy is to promote active citizenship. The election process only works if people actually go to the polls, yet upcoming generations of voters have proven extremely uninclined. In Philadelphia, data provided by the Office of City Commissioners reveals that 70% of 18- to 35-year-olds have not voted in any of the last five elections, and a staggering 88% of them sat out Philadelphia's 2015 municipal elections, which included the highly publicized mayoral race.
Once Voices of Voting has been developed and piloted by Seventy, the production will be available to others as a key tool to promote civic education and engagement; Seventy intends for the project to have a legacy beyond the convention and the grant period. In the fall, pending additional funding, the production will be performed at the African American Museum of Philadelphia (AAMP) for school groups during the run-up to the general election in November. After that, Voices of Voting will remain available for AAMP and other organizations to continue to present as part of their own institutional programming.
Admission to Voices of Voting is FREE but reservations are required. Reserve your tickets and learn more information by visiting Voices of Voting Sign Up. RSVP by Tuesday, July 19 to reserve your seat!
Monday, July 25, 2016
11:30 AM, 2:00 and 3:30
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
10:00 AM, 11:30, 2:00 and 3:30
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
10:00 AM, 11:30, 2:00 and 3:30
About David Thornburgh:
David Thornburgh is the President and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, a nonpartisan government advocate in the City of Philadelphia. He holds a BA in Political Science from Haverford College and a Master's Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.