Our Values, Our Voice, Our Vote

Today in New York State, people who are incarcerated don’t have the right to vote. The family and friends of people who are incarcerated, along with formerly incarcerated people themselves, are also least likely to engage in activities like voting or community organizing. There are many barriers to understanding how their vote can matter, or which elected officials support issues that matter to them, leading to a lack of representation.

CUP worked with the Alliance of Families for Justice and designers Karl Orozco and Tahnee Pantig to create a fold-out poster in English and Spanish called Our Values, Our Voice, Our Vote. The guide breaks down decision-makers at different levels of government and shares other civic engagement strategies, like voting and community organizing. 

The guide illustrates how family members of people who are incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people can have an impact on legal system reform and ultimately end mass incarceration through voting and other forms of civic engagement. With this information, those most affected by mass incarceration will be able to play a more active role in determining policies that affect them and their loved ones. 

Alliance of Families for Justice is distributing the guide to tens of thousands of people in New York State, including directly impacted family members visiting their loved ones in prisons upstate, local community-based organizations, and elected officials. 

Resources & Links

Alliance of Families for Justice empowers directly impacted families and individuals by providing them with training in advocacy and communications. Families and individuals are then mobilized to tackle the issues that directly impact their lives and their communities. 

Karl Orozco is an artist and educator based in Queens, NY. He is interested in gaming as a multidisciplinary art form for community building, storytelling and social commentary. He believes good art is playful. Karl loves working with youth and strives to give them the tools to create change in their communities.

Tahnee Pantig is an artist and designer based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work is characterized by taking on the stuff that people don’t like to talk about because she believes in the value of having difficult conversations. Tahnee’s practice is medium agnostic, producing work that is reflective of her own experience and her community’s.

Making Policy Public is a program of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). CUP partners with policy advocates and graphic designers to produce foldout posters that explain complicated policy issues, like this one.

Funding Support

Support for this project was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Leigh Taylor, Clair Beltran, Christine Gaspar, María Nóbrega, Eddie Rosario, Barbara, Marilyn Terrero, Ashley Terrero, Daleton Gilmer, Daryus Meohammed, TJ Nelson, and everyone else who provided feedback on the project.

Participants

  • CUP
  • Amanda Finuccio
  • Yasmin Safdie
  • Sucharitha Yelimeli
    • Alliance of Families for Justice
    • Soffiyah Elijah
    • Carol Harriott
    • Beverley Schlackman
    Designers

    Karl Orozco

    Tahnee Pantig