With the election just around the corner, we’re chatting with some of our amazing volunteers about the issues that matter most to them and how they’re motivating voters to cast their vote. We hope these conversations inspire you to vote for your values and join us in this unique fight to protect our nation.
Our first conversation is with Julia Lundy, a Maryland-based team lead on the ACLU People Power copywriting team. People Power is the ACLU’s platform for grassroots action. Our volunteer teams help mobilize and organize communities across the country to defend our civil liberties by making calls, texting, and connecting with potential voters on the issues that matter most to them.
ACLU: What motivated you to volunteer with the ACLU?
JL: I was very disappointed in the direction the country took after the election of Donald J. Trump, the ban on Muslims and the election of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Jeff Sessions had said in the past that people with disabilities like me shouldn’t be in regular classrooms like I was growing up. There were just so many violations of law and decency that really scared me.
ACLU: What experiences have influenced your activism?
JL: As a person with a disability, I couldn’t vote on my own. I voted for a while, but someone had to fill out the ballot for me. And when I finally got the chance to go in there and vote on my own, it just felt like another layer of freedom because I could say what I wanted to say without interference. This experience really motivated me to help vulnerable people and communities who cannot speak for themselves.
ACLU: How do you explain to people why voting is important and convince them to vote in the upcoming elections?
JL: I always try to explain what impact a particular choice will have on someone’s life. It’s also important to convey to a potential voter why their vote is so necessary at this moment. It’s not always clear how momentous something is until you think it through a bit and have to explain it to someone else. That’s pretty much the strategy I try to use to engage people more when texting volunteers, and I find it works pretty well.
ACLU: What has surprised you in your activism over the years?
JL: It surprised me how much I can inspire people through texting volunteers. And also the level of what people are willing to do for what they believe in. At first it was very shocking. Some of the replies I received when texting supporters could be mean. But at the same time I realized that there was so much support. And I’ve also learned over time not to jump to conclusions on civil rights issues because there are aspects I haven’t even thought about. So I’ve learned to ask more questions and try to get to the bottom of things before I jump to conclusions. I have found all of these to be extremely useful in my daily life as well.
ACLU: Why is the right to vote so important to you?
JL: I think being able to speak for yourself and stand with people who share the same values as you to come together and make the changes that we need to see is empowering. Every vote counts. It’s amazing how a few votes can affect an entire election, or how a bunch of votes can make a point. For example, look at Kansas’ ballot initiative on access to abortion. People came out and voted for their rights. You can’t make the change if you don’t try.
ACLU: Why did you decide to share your story? What else would you like to tell people about your experience?
JL: Sometimes things can be difficult like the moment we are going through as a country. But if you work hard on it, you can come to a solution as long as you all work together. I enjoy working with the team of volunteers that we have at the ACLU and I love knowing that there are so many dedicated people working 24/7 to make the good work of the ACLU a reality.
Are you interested in working with people like Julia to defend our rights? Find out more about how you can get involved here.