This week B.C. Dodge & Mordant welcome three community leaders who are working to educate the public on the importance of voting. With election season in full swing, Sharif Aly from Islamic Relief USA, Hoda Hawa from the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and Sarah Cochran from Emerge USA share their insight and personal experiences working with this timely topic.
The podcast begins by tackling such questions as: Should we even be talking about voting? As a humanitarian organization, what is our place in the voting debate?
“Right now humanitarian disasters and conflicts across the world are so severely impacted by politics,” Sharif says, posing an answer to the podcast’s opening question. “For us to make real change, it goes beyond providing relief and development support. Our donors are doing a good job, but in order to amplify their donation, we need to make policy changes, and we need to support policy changes. And we need to have a voice at the table.”
Hoda and Sarah echo the same sentiment, insisting that organizations like Islamic Relief USA can be the voice for their donor base. Sarah from the Virginia chapter of Emerge USA elaborates.
“It’s about legislation,” she says, “and what we are doing for those needy populations in terms of being involved in civic engagement, changing legislation to support those types of people who fall through the cracks. We’re talking about minimum wage, we’re talking about universal healthcare, we’re talking about things that help people at the grassroots level.”
The three activists go on to tackle issues like voter apathy and the sentiment that, “my vote doesn’t matter.”
Sharif explains that it’s not just the vote itself, but the 364 days leading up to the vote as well. “We have to be engaged in advocacy and community organizing,” he says. Hoda talks about the importance of education, saying that it is “key to understanding how we can utilize our voice for the elections.”
This episode addresses not only the importance of voting, but also offers practical advice on how to register in your area. Despite popular belief, voting does not have to inconvenience your daily schedule.
The three also discuss the importance of voting as an American, not just as a Muslim. In addition to focusing on Muslim-centric issues, our responsibility, they say, is also to weigh in on the issues that all Americans face, like hunger and poverty.
“It’s in the tradition of the Prophet (pbuh) to work for the sake of humanity and not just for our own population,” Sarah says.
If you’re on the fence this election season, tune in to hear a fresh perspective on the importance of voting.
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“What a Relief!” is the official podcast of Islamic Relief USA. Co-hosted by social media specialist B.C. Dodge & Mordant Mahon, IRUSA’s “What a Relief!” puts a human face on what’s going on in the world and how you can enact positive change in it. New episodes every week!
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