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Mural by @LoveisWiseIllu, Photo by @StreetsDept
Mural by @LoveisWiseIllu, Photo by @StreetsDept - see more here

I'll make this brief as it's very simple: When we vote, we win.

Today is a critical day, a critical election. Go out and vote. 

Don't be seduced by a politics of despair and distrust. It's easy for us to think we can't trust the government and even that we can't trust each other. I'm not saying the government has earned our trust, but we can't turn your back on it either. There is no alternative to government. What we have to do is make government and its representatives accountable—to us, to our concerns, to our right to participate, and to our right to belong to America and belong to its future. This work doesn't happen in a straight line. We'll win some and we'll have setbacks, many of them major and brutal. But we have to continue to work to engage our institutions and make them responsive. And we have to do it at every level: federal, state, local, school board.

We know that the right to vote is under attack. Why do so many states make voting so hard to do? Because they know when we vote, we win.

The "we" I'm talking about is the we who are united in our commitment to care for each other and our living planet. The "we" who insist on a set of inclusive values that recognize our past while embracing a new future. The "we" who work together to secure a fair and inclusive democracy, even while recognizing we have different strategies. The "we" who will not allow the normalization of hate, exclusion, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia in our society. The "we" who know that these forces overwhelmingly harm all people, our earth, our future generations, and democracy itself.

Voting is one of the most powerful ways to claim a shared future we are trying to build. So get involved. Go vote today. We have a lot of work to do but we can do it. Vote and make government responsible for the larger "we." 

This is OUR country: claim it.

the signature of johnpowell

john a. powell
Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society
Check out the Get Out the Vote multimedia content the Haas Institute has developed in partnership with a number of community organizations. These videos are particularly aimed at groups of voters that are often underrepresented at the polls, like young adults, Black Americans, and others. Enjoy and GO VOTE!

"It matters what WE say"—our We are California Get Out the Vote video is a collaboration between the Haas Institute and California Calls. 

Screenshot from Level Up PSA shows a woman with her fist up. She's wearing sunglasses.

Our "Level Up!" series was developed to inspire people in nine cities across six states to vote. Check them out on this page.

An image grab from our BlackVotesMatter video shows a crime screen chalked outline of a body, with text that reads: "I was born with the right to write my freedom on the pages of my life."

"BlackVotesMatter." This dynamic, inspirational video uses spoken word, music, protest footage, and beautiful Black imagery that captures the importance of voting.


  • Header photo from a series of 10 murals created by 10 Philly-based artists for the Streets Dept + Mural Arts exhibition To the Polls. Click here to learn more
  • "We Are California" was created in collaboration with California Calls
  • "Level Up!" was created by the Cashmere Agency and RenderTech
  • "BlackVotesMatter" was created in partnership with Black and Brown Votes
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