Voices of Youth: Students advocate for voting rights through art

This article is part of Concentrate's Voices of Youth series, which features content created by Washtenaw County youth in partnership with Concentrate staff mentors, as well as feature stories by adult writers that examine issues of importance to local youth. In this installment, student artists Vaishnavi Attili and Tova Weiss share posters they created to advocate for voting rights.

Artists' statement: 

This series of posters shows the progression of voting rights in the United States. 

The first poster represents the suffrage movement in the 1910s. During this time, the women's voting rights movement was prevalent across America. After decades of protests, the 19th Amendment was finally ratified on August 18, 1920.

The second poster we created is from the style of the 1970s, advocating for giving 18-year-olds the right to vote. The 26th Amendment, which gave 18-year-olds this right, was ratified on July 1, 1971.

Finally, the last poster relates to the present day. The Michigan legislature just passed a bill that allows 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote!

These posters emphasize the importance of civic engagement. When America was first founded, only male property owners were allowed to cast votes, but with decades of protests, rallies, and speeches, we have improved so much from that position. Now that people as young as 16 can register to vote, youth have more of an opportunity than ever to get involved in their government and make a difference through their vote. Michigan's new law makes it so that 16-year-olds can either register to vote online or at a Secretary of State office when they get their driver's license/permit.

Overall, through engagement, activism, and taking every chance to make our voice heard, we the youth have the potential to change the world.

Artists' bios:

Tova Weiss has been drawn to unique forms of storytelling for her entire life. From music to creative writing to, in this case, graphic design, she loves telling her and others' stories through a creative lens. Tova is passionate about the arts and social justice, and she thrives in combining the two of them.

Vaishnavi Attili may not consider herself the best at art, but she truly believes in the transformative power of art. Her work is deeply inspired by her commitment to social justice, using creativity to advocate for change and express powerful messages. Vaish thinks that through continuous learning and artistic expression, anyone can make a meaningful impact in the world.

Concentrate staffer Yen Azzaro served as Vaishnavi and Tova's mentor on this project.

To learn more about Concentrate's Voices of Youth project and read other installments in the series, click here.
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