Last week was a difficult week for many people. You, your friends, family, and your community may be feeling confused, uncertain, anxious, overwhelmed, or even angry, about the events happening locally and nationally. While we continue to navigate a direct attack on democracy, there is no doubt that the events of last week undermined the integrity of our voter engagement work and the democratic process. At the Morgridge Center for Public Service, we center ourselves on public service and civic engagement; indeed, a central part of our mission is to support a thriving democracy. A direct pathway to engagement is through community organizing and activism, particularly related to policy and governance.
The events of last week clearly sought to undermine the integrity of U.S. elections and the democratic process. I also want to note the stark contrast between the response to last week’s events and how protests for the Black Lives Matters movement continue to be handled. We need to hold accountable those who committed violence in the U.S. Capitol.
My name is Zachery Holder and I am the voter engagement and civic learning coordinator for the Morgridge Center and the co-chair for the BadgersVote Coalition. My role is brand new at the university and works to engage students in the democratic process and foster civic learning opportunities with a team of student voting interns. As Chancellor Blank said in her statement: “As a public institution, it is our duty to teach civic responsibility.” There is a lack of trust in our political process and how we receive information through the media.
I invite UW students to join us in our efforts to create a campus community of democratic engagement through participation in the BadgersVote Student Coalition, where all individuals on the political spectrum can come together through nonpartisan democratic engagement work. The Morgridge Center and BadgersVote coalition will also partner with both campus and community groups to collaborate on programs and events that engage all students on campus. We will also be creating a new civic learning website housed through the Morgridge Center that emphasizes the Pathways of Public Service and civic engagement. Be on the lookout for our events and follow us on social media @BadgersVote. Encourage your peers to subscribe to Morgridge Mail to continue to build our network of engaged citizens. Now is the time we come together to sift and winnow.