One of the main problems we noticed coming into this work was the apathy surrounding voting and civic engagement in general. Before even getting to the stage of registering new voters, we wanted to make sure that we were doing our part to educate communities as a whole about why it was so important to become active in the political process.
In 2016, we held a series of civic engagement workshops at mosques around the metro Atlanta area to teach folks about the basics of civic engagement: what it means, what are the different forms, and immediate steps that they can take to become active. These workshops were especially useful in areas with high populations of former refugees who have recently naturalized. In addition, closer to the 2016 Election, we hosted an issues forum to discuss the four constitutional amendments that were being voted on here in Georgia. Guest speakers from various fields (education, judicial oversight, etc.) came and spoke on their positions about these amendments. In 2016, we served nearly 1000 people directly through voter education.
So far in 2017, we partnered with other local organizations to host a candidate forum for the Roswell City Council Special Election that took place in March. This was a great educational opportunity for members of the Muslim community to meet and learn directly from candidates about issues they would work on if elected. The forum was held at the Roswell Community Masjid – the first time a candidate forum has been hosted at a mosque in Georgia.