By Salma Heram
With midterm elections coming up this fall, it’s likely that you’ve encountered one of the many Get Out the Vote campaigns, perhaps from a fellow community member or an advocate at a local non-profit.
IRUSA is no stranger to such campaigns, and our advocates have been working tirelessly to get people engaged and ready to vote come November 8.
Take our recent Qurbani distribution at Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, VA, for example, where community members received information on how to vote on their way to collect the Eid Al-Adha meat and produce. But why is voting so important, and what does voting have to do with Qurbani distribution?
During election seasons, voters have a chance to select who represents them in office. It’s important for voters to be well-informed on the issues that their elected representatives support and advocate for. IRUSA recognizes that while food distributions, like our Qurbani events, work to mitigate the effects of food insecurity and hunger in our country, such issues will not be eradicated without well-informed, specific, and effective legislation. Since elected officials are the ones that write and pass legislation into effect, it is important to wisely choose our representatives.
As a faith-based organization guided by Islamic values, IRUSA is dedicated to increasing voter turnout in order to better serve our community. In the United States, citizens have the opportunity to vote for their representatives, who in turn, advocate for important issues affecting their constituents. Thus, IRUSA’s missions of fighting climate change, eradicating hunger and impoverishment, and empowering women, among many others, can be strengthened by appropriate legislation informed by constituents like you. Let us not forget that it was not long ago when only the votes of white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant (WASP) male landowners counted toward legislation. Now, any U.S. citizen can be represented, no matter their gender, religion, socioeconomic status, race, or ethnicity. And more and more, elected officials reflect the desires and diversity of the American population rather than just one segment. The more of us who vote, the more that our representatives will actually represent us.
While our work at IRUSA is undoubtedly impactful and important for our fellow community members’ wellbeing, we know that legislation passed by well-informed individuals who champion the priorities of their constituents will only increase these mitigations and further benefit our communities. It is time to make our voices heard, ensure we are properly represented in our own government, and prepare for the upcoming elections. For information on how to register to vote, find your voting location, confirm your voter registration, find out who your candidates are, and so much more, please visit https://irusa.org/govote/.