With the importance of the 2018 midterm elections as a referendum on the current state of politics and the direction of the country, the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition participated in the national phone banking effort on November 1 to remind voters about going to the polls and participating in the democratic process.
The day was part of the larger #MyMuslimVote campaign, a national nonpartisan program to increase civic engagement in U.S. Muslim communities through voter registration and mobilization efforts.
#MyMuslimVote was designed to ensure that Muslim voices would be heard through their vote. Most recently, the campaign launched a video detailing Muslims “Vote Plan.” Making a vote plan empowers Muslims to hold themselves and others accountable to vote in the election.
Volunteers from the Milwaukee community gathered to make phone calls encouraging area Muslims to get out the vote. Volunteers played “voter bingo” and created handwritten postcards to send to registered voters. Other activities included a photo booth and a “Unapologetically Muslim” mosaic, where individuals wrote on a tile what it meant for them to be Muslim without having to express regret.
“I really liked phone banking, since I actually felt like I made a difference,” said Sana Shakir, a UW-Milwaukee freshman and volunteer. “It also showed our community that we are active just like other groups, and we care about the Muslim community’s welfare. The people we called appreciated our efforts and encouragement.”
The #CallingAllMuslims National Phone Bank Day reached 7,800 registered voters across 12 states, with 430 located within Wisconsin. Partners such as MPower Change and Emgage helped support local communities to ensure the day was a success.
Studies have shown that many obstacles affect minority communities, like Muslims, from being able to participate in the voting process. Lack of civic awareness and language barriers pose challenges for voter engagement, as well as restrictive voter ID laws.
“The Muslim community has much at stake in this year’s election,” said Ishraq Ali, Organizing Director of MPower Change, “From anti-Muslim rhetoric of our elected officials, to policies like the Muslim ban, Muslims need to take reins of their political destiny. Calling All Muslims is a testament to our community doing exactly that.”
Wisconsin Muslim Journal