Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Hip-Hop Help for Budding Activists

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Hip-Hop Help for Budding Activists

Article excerpt

They call themselves The League of Pissed Off Voters and their handbook is How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office: The Anti-Politics, Un-Boring Guide To Power (Soft Skull Press). The new book and the league's Web site, www.indyvoter.org, were put together by and for members of the hip-hop generation. Written and edited by a dozen young people--many of them people of color and converts to voting--the book welcomes budding activists to a world where electoral politics is fashionable, full of attitude and, above all, doable.

Take just two examples, outlined in the book, of how young people turned elections upside down: In 1998 in Madison, Wis., college kids organized dorm by dorm to elect the first "out" lesbian to the U.S. House of Representatives, Tammy Baldwin. In 2002 on the Pine Ridge reservation In South Dakota, young Lakotas faced down a moneyed Republican machine and got a (smart) white man, Tim Johnson, reelected to the U.S. Senate--by 528 votes. They used talk radio, signed folks up to vote at powwows, and drove people for miles across the rez to the polls.

Stories tell of 20-somethings getting into the power game themselves. Find out how Jason West, a 25-year-old Green, became mayor of New Paltz, N.Y. And how Alisha Thomas, a 24-year-old black woman, snagged a state legislative seat in suburban Cobb County, Ga., the heart of Newt Gingrich country. Among other things, she printed her home phone number on 60,000 flyers and returned every call!

These useful, inspiring testimonies are packaged with tools to ensure future victories; this is nothing if not a user-friendly book. …

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