I don't remember voting with my parents as a kid. I probably did. I definitely remember wearing my mom's oval “I voted” sticker, but I don't remember talking about why it was important.
Now I have a two-year-old daughter and a 12-week-old son. I've been taking my daughter with me to vote since she was growing inside me. This year was the first time my husband and I took both of our children to the polls.
Now that I have children, voting is more important than ever before. I want to make sure that the future is filled with equal opportunities for both my son and daughter. I want to make sure that my kids are safe from gun violence and can afford college.
One day I hope they have jobs where paid family leave is provided - something neither my husband nor I had. When our daughter was 13 days old, my husband was fired from his job. Something happened while he was supporting me through a labor that lasted days. I went back to work when she was five weeks old in order to provide for our family, but I wasn't given back my full-time position. No parent should have to worry about his or her job while struggling to figure out what it means to be a new mom or dad.
Before my children made me a mother, I never knew the struggles parents face. Now, issues like affordable childcare, early childhood education, access to healthy foods, paid family leave and health care matter.
When we took our children to vote, my two-year-old was running around the polling site. My 12-week-old was crying. We were that family. We had tried to vote twice before during early voting, but the lines were too long. This time we weren't giving up.
As we voted, I told my daughter that our voices matter, and that women before us fought for us to have this right. I told her we can make a difference like those women did and that she could even be president one day if she wanted. I vote because I believe what I told my daughter. We can make a difference.
Are you looking for a way to make voting a memorable, positive experience for your entire family? Then I hope you’ll join MomsRising and Kids Voting Durham this Saturday for their annual voting party and parade. This is the seventh year for this great event, and it’s become something everyone in the family looks forward to each year.
This year’s party will be superhero-themed because voting is a super power we can model for our kids. It’s a way each of us can help change the world where our kids are growing up.
Here are all the details for this year’s party:
What: Kids Voting Durham and NC MomsRising with Jack and Jill, Lango Kids RTP, and other family groups are joining forces to help make voting a superhero-themed family affair. We’ll celebrate early voting with a special bilingual voting-related superhero party with voting for kids, snacks, a special library story time and democracy-inspired activities and crafts at the Durham Main Library. Bring your wagons and strollers to decorate. Patriotic and superhero-themed dress or costumes welcome!
Children and adults will make capes, take pictures in a super hero photo booth, make instruments and take part in other crafts and activities. Then we will blast off with the Bull City Strutters marching band leading the way to parade through downtown to the early voting location at 201 N. Roxboro St. where Durham voters can cast their vote. The event is nonpartisan.
The library story time and event will be in both English and Spanish.
When: 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 29
Where: Durham Main Library Auditorium, 300 N. Roxboro St, ending at the downtown early voting location at 201 N. Roxboro St., Durham (Durham Board of Elections).
Questions? Contact Beth Messersmith, MomsRising, at 919-323-6179 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Carolyn Kreuger, Kids Voting, 919-560-7321, email@example.com
Like so many things in life, kids will do what they see their parents do. Let’s take our kids to vote and show them it’s something worth celebrating!
If you aren’t able to make it to the party, you can find information on early voting locations, schedule, and absentee voting on the Durham County Board of Elections website or by calling the board at 919-560-0700.
Kim Swanson is a Durham mom of two and a member of MomsRising.org.