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Civic Engagement

Basics

Civic engagement can take on many forms-- in the public policy sphere, there are a number of ways that people can and should use their voices to represent social concerns of communities and advocate for just policies. Below are a couple of ways that people can become civically involved.

Voting is a fundamental part of the democratic process. However, Texas lags behind most of the nation...

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Civic engagement can take on many forms-- in the public policy sphere, there are a number of ways that people can and should use their voices to represent social concerns of communities and advocate for just policies. Below are a couple of ways that people can become civically involved.

Voting is a fundamental part of the democratic process. However, Texas lags behind most of the nation when it comes to voter participation. According to the Texas Secretary of State, of the more than 14 million registered voters in the state, less than five million cast a ballot in the most recent statewide election. Low voter turnout is a problem in a democracy because it means that a small group of people is making election decisions for everyone. The  government affects nearly every aspect of our lives, so being personally motivated to vote and encouraging people in your community to do so is essential.

Knowing who your representatives are and visiting them is also vital to effective engagement in the democratic process. Doing this creates wider avenues for individuals and communities to affect change and strengthen the bonds between citizens and government. Whether you are visiting in broad terms about a policy issue or advocating a more specific position on a bill or an idea, developing relationships with elected officials is key in building a culture of civic responsibility in our local communities.

Participating in democracy is one important way that we love our neighbors. Through civic engagement, we can protect the most vulnerable, be stewards of human and natural resources, address economic and racial injustice, and promote diversity and peace.

Event Date: 
Sunday, October 25, 2015 - 4:00pm

The term “poll tax” rightly carries moral and political baggage for people in Texas. Not historically tied to voting, poll taxes provided a foundation for census taking and taxation in an agrarian economy for thousands of years, but in the 20th century they became closely identified with the systematic disenfranchisement of people of color in the American electoral system.

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Note: This post is written by Amanda Quraishi, a member of Texas Impact's board. The blog was originally posted at MuslimahMERICAN.com.

Last night I sat in a hotel conference room with close to 200 Texas United Methodist Women at the 26th annual UMW Legislative Event, listening to a presentation entitled “200 Years of Women as Change Agents” by Dr. Kristen Contos Krueger. “Women’s movements for change in the U.S. generally have three things in common,” she said.

During a recent presentation, I mentioned that I was reading a book called Resisting Structural Evil, and everyone laughed. While I hadn’t intended that to be a joke line, I get it: that’s a pretty heavy title, and doesn’t sound like the “pleasure reading” that maybe I should be doing in my spare time.

The government shutdown drags on. Watching Congress’ continued “incredible ineptitude,” as the United Methodist Women have called it, with increasing frustration, incredulity, and a sense of powerlessness, I now find myself feeling towards our elected officials the way a preschool teacher feels toward three-year olds who won’t share their toys.

I know. I’ve taught preschoolers. Also, I’m a mom—with two boys who, while they aren’t preschoolers anymore, still don’t always play nicely together.

Eleven-year-old Sawyer Chandler is not resting on her famous father's laurels. The daughter of Emmy-award winning actor Kyle Chandler (who played the beloved Coach Taylor on "Friday Night Lights") has launched a website and petition to raise awareness about shark finning, the cruel and unsustainable practice that is decimating tens of millions of sharks each year.

Pledge to Vote Today at PledgeToVote.org!


According to the Texas Secretary of State's website, almost 75% of the Texas voting age population is registered to vote...but most of the Texans who are registered don't make it to the voting booth. In the 2014 gubernatorial primaries in Texas, fewer than 10% of registered Republicans bothered to vote, and just over 4% of Democrates cast ballots.

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