Grounding ourselves in civic history means embracing generations of community. This doesn’t mean that we must all agree, but instead that we listen to one another across the different places, lived experiences, and rich cultures that make up our nation.
Where we are affects what we do, and that relationship extends to civic participation across the nation. From a rural island off the mainland of Amerika Samoa to Philadelphia, a city at the center of national news during the last election cycle, that environment will motivate people’s civic investment in different ways.
Civic engagement itself takes many forms across communities, and one of the most recognizable acts of civic engagement is voting. The right to vote has historically fallen along lines of identity. Take the Voting Rights Act of 1965, for instance, which prohibited discrimination in voting based on race—that’s only been in place for 56 years of our country’s history.
Given the upheaval and tragic losses of the pandemic, among so many other unprecedented events that have since materialized, it makes sense that our ideas about civic tenets like community, responsibility, and involvement are changing.