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Committee of Seventy's “Voices of Voting” Returns for One-Day Election Run

November 4, 2016

VOICES OF VOTING addresses youth voting rights and advocacy, 
Four Performances at University City’s Enterprise Center on November 7.

Press Contact:

Aileen Kain, Committee of Seventy
610-331-4107, akain@seventy.org

Bryan Buttler, Bryan Buttler Media Relations
609-902-0923, bryanbuttler@gmail.com

Philadelphia, PA (For Immediate Release): Over the summer of 2016 during the Democratic National Convention, Committee of Seventy, the civic engagement advocacy group, commissioned a new play called "Voices of Voting" written by David Bradley with music by Ill Doots. They performed the work for teen and young adult audiences for free several times during the DNC week in Philly, and it spoke directly to the lack of local civic engagement in local and national elections. The performances reached over 1,000 youth in 3 days.  The play in part addresses the hurdles of the Civil Rights movement as it relates to voting.

After each performance, Committee of Seventy staff were on hand to recruit what they call "Election Ambassadors," or individuals who can assist during the election process. In short, they were able to recruit and reach youth to become voting advocacy leaders.

The concept was such a huge success that Seventy is bringing the show back for one day, November 7, 2016, for four performances. They are hoping to reach more than 600 Philly youth with the show next week at the Enterprise Center (Enterprise Center - 4548 Market St in Philadelphia). Full details are below.

Interviews with David Bradley and Committee of Seventy staff are available, plus photo/video opportunities at the performances are welcome.  

Thanks for your consideration!

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Join us for “Voices of Voting,” the acclaimed play that connects the modern-day challenge of engaging youth in civic participation to the stories of the young men and women who struggled to earn their voting rights in the 1960s.

Written and directed by the award-winning David Bradley, three young actors play more than a dozen characters in a nonpartisan event full of audience participation and live music. A brief “talkback” session follows the 35-minuteperformance, challenging the audience to reflect on their own citizenship by considering the courage of the previous generation, which fought so mightily to attain this fundamental right.

Catch performances on Monday, November 7th

11 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 7 p.m.

Enterprise Center - 4548 Market St in Philadelphia (easily accessible via SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line at the 46th St.Station).

Admission is FREE. Reservations are required only for the daytime shows. For more information and to reserve tickets, email: voicesofvoting@seventy.org.

“Voices of Voting” is a play targeted for young and diverse audiences that takes as its source material and starting point the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which bans racial discrimination in voting practices and is widely regarded as enabling the enfranchisement of millions of minority voters and diversifying the electorate and legislative bodies at all levels of American government. Written and directed by the award-winning David Bradley, Voices of Voting brings to life the stories of those who fought to achieve voting rights in 1965—their personal struggles and political courage. Three actors play more than a dozen characters in an event full of audience participation and laced with live music from the award-winning hip-hop/funk/jazz collective ILL DOOTS. The 30-minute play is followed by a 15-minute town hall-style question-and-answer session in which the piece’s three actors engage directly with the audience, letting audience members speak their arguments for and against voting.  Seventy’s staff will be on hand to also talk about its voter education program, featuring high school Election Ambassadors.

A core mission of the Committee of Seventy is to promote active citizenship. Democracy only works if citizens actually go to the polls, yet upcoming generations of voters have proven extremely uninclined. In Philadelphia, data provided by the Office of City Commissioners reveals that 70% of 18- to 35-year-olds have not voted in any of the last five elections, and a staggering 88% of them sat out Philadelphia's 2015 municipal elections, which included the highly publicized mayoral race.

The cast includes Equity actors and a truly professional team. On November 7, the day before the national election in a pivotal part of a swing state, we will host performances at the Enterprise Center, 4548 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19139.  We would love for you to join us. 

Our partners on the project to date have been: Urban League of Philadelphia, Urban Affairs Coalition, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Philadelphia Youth Network, and the Enterprise Center. 

The November 7 performances of “Voices of Voting” have been underwritten by the Philadelphia Foundation. This grant was made possible through The Philadelphia Foundation’s Fund for Children, which is supported through generous annual contributions from the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia Phillies.

For more information, please review our website at: www.seventy.org/events/voices-of-voting

ABOUT THE COMMITTEE OF SEVENTY

The Committee of Seventy is a nonpartisan good government group established in 1904 for the express purpose of combating corruption in Philadelphia, playing a major role in the adoption of civil service reforms and the passage of the 1919 and 1951 Home Rule Charters. A nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, Seventy does not endorse candidates or represent any special interests.

It is fair to say that during the past ten years, Seventy has radically transformed itself from being just an election watchdog to a bolder and more comprehensive good government group, due in no small measure to the introduction of new executive and Board leadership.

That investment helped resurrect the City’s only independent good government organization and allowed Seventy to reinvigorate itself to change permanently Philadelphia’s political culture. During 2005-2010, Seventy led the fight to defend campaign financing limits, a fight that went all the way to the Supreme Court thanks to a lawsuit initiated by Seventy, in 2007-08. Our war against pay-to-play politics in Philadelphia helped to turn the ideas of better government and fair elections into a movement.

Seventy continues to drive toward its founding objectives from 1904: Open up and improve the voting process and our political culture; Elect honest, capable people to public office and help them make government work better; Engage citizens in the process of making important decisions about our future. Our vision is better government citizens can trust.

ABOUT THE PHILADELPHIA FOUNDATION

Since 1989, The Philadelphia Foundation has been committed to improving the quality of life in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. It links those with financial resources to those who serve societal needs. The foundation growth the more than 900 charitable funds established by its donors and distributes about $20 million annually in grants and scholarships to about 1,000 effective nonprofit organizations. Through this support, the Foundation builds healthy communities, strengthens children and families, advances economic opportunities and enhances culture and recreation. For more information, please visit: www.philafound.org.