In pursuit of our efforts to encourage civic engagement and push legislation reform on the two primary issues of increasing the minimum wage and the tax credit bill, which provides a tax credit to business owners who hire the formerly incarcerated, IMAN, in collaboration with Every Vote Counts Illinois’ larger goal, set a goal to register 500 Englewood residents to vote. The Get Out The Vote (GOTV) team, consisting of adult and youth leaders, worked closely with the corner stores affiliated with IMAN’s Muslim Run Campaign to get 500 Englewood residents registered by October 7th, 2014 and thanks to the Most High we were able to reach our goal before the Eid holiday!
IMAN’s GOTV leaders regularly spent evenings throughout the month of September roving the neighborhoods, holding conversations with Englewood residents, understanding their direct concerns and frustrations with the electoral process. Through various strategies like walking the neighborhoods, hosting a barbeque, utilizing the corner stores affiliated with the Muslim Run Campaign as bases, leaders were able to engage in conversations about the tax credit bill and the minimum wage increase.
Unquestionably, the ultimate goals of this campaign are beyond getting people registered to vote. These efforts will mobilize residents and encourage them to use their vote as a platform to have a real effect and change their communities. Currently, business owners receive a tax credit as an incentive to provide the formerly incarcerated with jobs, but they still aren’t hiring. If they are, they aren’t providing them with jobs or positions that give them livable wages or allow them to move up in the company. IMAN is pushing for the bill to be investigated and redeveloped in order for it to be a meaningful piece of legislation.
The GOTV leaders were constantly encouraged to speak and connect to residents in “a real way”–to be able to get into the nooks and crannies of each community and see how issues like the minimum wage increase affect individuals on a personal level. Community members expressed feelings of frustration, desperation and neglect by the electoral system, which only motivated the GOTV team to think bigger!
Stay connected with us for updates on the next steps in our campaign for encouraging civic engagement!