Voices of Prop 17
They are mothers and fathers. Essential workers and community organizers. Full-time, taxpaying employees. Adult students who have gone back to school to earn a degree. They are engaged in their communities and eager to build a future that their own children can be proud of—but California law treats them as second-class citizens with no say at the ballot box.
Above all, these individuals are human beings who deserve the dignity that a democracy should afford all of its citizens. And once you hear their voices, you will see them, know them, and understand their fight for the right to make their voices count. Access our social media toolkit to spread the word.
"It would give me back some dignity."
Hear Paul Martinez's thoughts on how being denied voting rights undermines the goal of reintegration, amounts to taxation without representation, and makes individuals feel that society does not recognize their value.
"We want to affect change. We want our voices to matter.
Hear from Charles Joseph about how being denied the right to vote makes individuals feel invisible in American society—and the good that can come of giving people a voice in their futures and the future of their communities.
"I'm a mother, a student, an essential worker, a taxpayer—and I'm formerly incarcerated."
Hear Dominique Davis talk about the importance of voting as a part of her identity and her ability to affect positive change for her family and her community.
"People on probation can vote. People in the county jail can vote. Why can't I?"
J. Vasquez is working two jobs and putting himself through school but still can't vote. See his reaction of joy when he imagines the passage of CA Prop 17.
"I could lead by example as a mentor."
William Ramirez discusses the unfairness of being deprived the vote while paying taxes, and how voting would enable him to lead by example in his work as a youth mentor.
"I'm free. That should mean something.
Jose Avina shares his thoughts on what it feels like to want to change your community for the better while being denied access to the primary democratic lever for change.
"I would feel full part of what exists."
Rey Aguilar discusses the pain of being told that serving his time and doing everything he can to right the wrongs of his past isn't enough to have a voice in his country.