Civic Engagement and Representation

"We were never meant to thrive or succeed in the system that we live in."—Tatiyana Benson

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From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. African American demonstrators outside the White House, with signs “We demand the right to vote, everywhere” and signs protesting police brutality against civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama, 1965. Photo/Warren K. Leffler.

From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. African American demonstrators outside the White House, with signs “We demand the right to vote, everywhere” and signs protesting police brutality against civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama, 1965. Photo/Warren K. Leffler.


Resource: S1 Ep3 | March 24, 2021

Tools to understand local and national politics, including information on elected officials, laws, voting rights, how to become engaged, and a look at the history of civic engagement in our state.

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Local and National Government Resources

Official Wisconsin State Legislature Website
Find more information on your local legislators, research laws and legislation, access session information and more. 

A Citizen’s Guide to Participation in the Wisconsin State Legislature
The Wisconsin Legislative Council Staff created a guide with a general description of procedures in the Wisconsin Legislature, designed to help people participate in the legislative process.

United States Congress
The official page for the U.S. Congress includes information on legislation, Congressional record debates, Members of Congress, legislative process, and educational resources presented by the Library of Congress.

U.S. Congress Resource – How Our Laws Are Made
This online resource provides a basic outline of the numerous steps of our federal law-making process from the source of an idea for a legislative proposal through its publication as a statute.

United States House of Representatives
The official page for the United States House of Representatives. Information on members of the House, legislative activities, committees and more. 

United States Senate
The official page for the United States Senate. Information on members of the Senate, legislative activities, committees and more. 

Voting Resources

Wisconsin Vote
Wisconsin Vote is a service of PBS Wisconsin and Wisconsin Public Radio and is updated during election season. The website provides voters with information on candidates and races, election results and resources for educators.

Wisconsin Vote FAQ’s
Frequently asked questions and answers around voting presented by PBS Wisconsin and Wisconsin Public Radio. The website provides information on how to vote, polling locations, ballot information, requesting absentee ballots and more. works to use technology to simplify political engagement, increase voter turnout, and strengthen American democracy.

Vote 411
Presented by the League of Women Voters, a non-partisan organization encouraging informed and active participation in government, a resource providing voters with information needed to successfully participate in every election.

History of Civic Engagement and Black Communities in Wisconsin

Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams
PBS Wisconsin tells the story of civil rights leader Vel Phillips. Discover how Vel Phillips achieved an impressive list of “firsts” as part of her legacy, becoming the first African American judge in Wisconsin and the first woman, and African American, in the nation elected to executive office in state government.

UWM’s March on Milwaukee Collection
This digital collection presents primary sources from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society that provide a window into Milwaukee’s civil rights history.

PBS Wisconsin’s University Place Lecture on Black Suffrage in Early Wisconsin
Christy Clark-Pujara, Associate Professor in the Department of History at UW-Madison, explores the history of Black male disenfranchisement during the early years of Wisconsin’s statehood. This exclusion at the ballot box ultimately resulted in Wisconsin becoming the first state where Black men could vote.

Black Student Strike
The University of Wisconsin-Madison presents an interactive site dedicated to sharing the history of the 1969 Black Student Strike. Black students at the university, propelled by long-standing grievances and fresh flashpoints, called for a campus-wide student strike until administrators agreed to 13 demands.


Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement
In these essays, interviews and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world.

Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements
Drawing on Black intellectual and grassroots organizing traditions, including the Haitian Revolution, the US civil rights movement, and the LGBTQ rights and feminist movement, author Charlene Carruthers challenges those involved in the social justice struggle to make the movement for Black liberation more radical, more queer and more feminist.

Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets
A treatise of Black women’s transformative influence in media, entertainment, and politics, and why this intersectional movement building, especially on Twitter, is essential to the resistance. In Reclaiming Our Space, social worker, activist, and cultural commentator Feminista Jones explores how Black women are changing the culture, society and landscape of feminism by building digital communities.

The Undefeated
Author Kwame Alexander crafts an ode to Black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a Caldecott Honoree.

Back to Black: Black Radicalism for the 21st Century
Surveying Black radicalism’s many varied forms and influences, and incorporating feminist and LGBT perspectives, author Kehinde Andrews shows that Black radicalism has too often been misconstrued as a narrow form of cultural nationalism, an attitude which overlooks its fundamentally global and inclusive character.


Other Resources

Wisconsin 4-H Civic Engagement Project
Wisconsin 4-H is the state chapter of the national organization dedicated to youth programming. Through their civic engagement program they help youth become active in investigating a public issue, learning about the roles of governing officials, and how to carry out a plan to solve a problem.

Whose Vote Counts: A FRONTLINE Investigation
A FRONTLINE investigation examining the 2020 election reports on allegations of voter disenfranchisement, rhetoric and realities around mail-in ballots, and how unfounded claims of extensive voter fraud entered the political mainstream.

Wisconsin Watch’s Narrow Margin Series
Narrow Margin is a series by Wisconsin Watch staff, media partners and a University of Wisconsin-Madison investigative journalism class. The project examines voting security, suppression and disinformation aimed at voters in Wisconsin.

All In: The Fight for Democracy
All In: The Fight For Democracy is a documentary examining the issue of voter suppression in the US. The film interweaves personal experiences with activism and historical insight to expose a systematic problem from the beginning. With the expertise of Stacey Abrams, the film offers an insider’s look into the barriers to voting.

The 19th Article: Stacey Abrams Blew Up Georgia’s Electoral Map
The 19th is an independent, nonprofit newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy. In this article they examine how Stacey Abrams mobilized thousands of Black voters in Georgia and how it impacted the 2020 elections.

Key Facts About Eligible Voters in 2020 Battleground States
A 2020 article from the Pew Research Center examining key facts about Black eligible voters living in battleground states.



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Podcast: S1 Ep3 | 28m 55s

Civic Engagement and Representation

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S1 Ep3 | 17m 12s