The Power of ONE WORD

How an Idea Jawnified the Culture of Philly Voting

By Gigi Varlotta

The author and Professor Lorene Cary. Source: @votethatjawn on Instagram

All I did was sign up for a course taught by someone whose play I loved. It was last winter, just before theaters shut down. What I didn’t realize was that I was also signing up for an inside look into what it takes to get youth in Philly registered to vote. From the jump I began learning what VoteThatJawn is all about: out of the box thinking and creative solutions. Combining art, education, passion, technology, all with the end goal of not only getting young people registered to vote, but getting them excited about being heard. So how about a voter registration House Party for Philly Youth, by Philly artists? Or for those who don’t speak English . . . check out the #VoteThatJawn Spanish Registration Video. And a pop-up art contest for students in K-12 who can’t vote yet, but want to be involved in the political process. Peep the Fresh Artists #VoteThatJawn, Jr. Art Exhibition. And definitely leveraging some of those viral TikTok trends… that one about romanticizing your life. Jay Falk created an iconic spinoff about applying to be a poll worker. (She’s the founder of the High School Voter Project.)

VoteThatJawn is effective because it allows young people to share their experiences through more mediums than ever before. From a #StormtheElection virtual event that combined poetry readings and live music, to showcasing businesses celebrating voting like