Today is National Voter Registration Day and registering yourself to vote is one of the most important things you can do to improve your child’s future.
It might sound a little cheesy, but it’s true—your vote is your voice. It’s how we tell our elected officials what our priorities are and set expectations around what we want them to do on our behalf.
As a mom on the front lines of policy and politics, I know all too well that without political power our elected officials will often make choices based on pressure from special interest groups, not on what’s best for our children. I’ve seen firsthand what happens when parents are missing from the conversation and are robbed of the ability to make crucial choices about their own children’s lives.
Our elected officials listen to people who get involved in the political process—if we don’t participate, we don’t count.
Now, I know with everything competing for our time and attention—getting the kids to school, soccer and baseball practice, as well as trying to get dinner on the table after work—registering to vote might be the last thing on our minds. But registering and casting your vote is critical to changing the conversation and the balance of power toward our children and families.
Our families are impacted every day by so much—from the safety of our neighborhoods to finding safe affordable housing. Then there’s the issue of protecting our environment and equitably funding our schools. These are all issues determined at the ballot box.
We need bold leaders who are ready to take on the tough fights and challenge the status quo that threatens to leave our children and communities behind. Unfortunately, parents have learned firsthand what happens when our voices are dismissed and it’s our children who end up paying the price.
We need to make sure we elect leaders who understand the importance of disrupting the institutional education system and demand innovation and opportunity for every child as we work toward a brighter future for our country.
None of that happens if we don’t vote.
And step one is to make sure you are registered.
Parents are the most powerful, untapped, and misunderstood force in politics today. That’s why as Matthew, Miles, and David’s mom, I am proud to be the founder of Massachusetts Parents United and president of the National Parents Union, I’ve made it a point to register to vote and show up during the elections to make sure my voice is heard.
As a kid, I had difficult experience in Massachusetts district schools and ended up earning my GED after the system couldn't serve my needs. Then, once my children started school, I continued to struggle with navigating the system and knew I had to stand up.
Ending generations of poor decision-making by our elected officials and disrupting the political system that allows the special interests of adults to outweigh the needs of our children would require parents to step up and get involved.
I hope you’ll join me today. Registering is easy! Get registered in less than five minutes with a new tool from the National Alliance.
Keri Rodrigues is the founder and mom-in-chief at Massachusetts Parents United and president of the National Parents Union.
Raise your voice on behalf of students! Register to vote today.