Inside Out/Vote: Celebrating the Power of the Vote

Filed under Social Justice

The Inside Out Project, a global initiative from French artist JR, hit the road this summer to inspire, educate, and celebrate the power of the vote.

Sarah is from Yemen, where women aren’t often in decision-making roles. Growing up, she never saw herself as a voter. This year as a first-time voter in Houston, that has changed.

In Aurora, Colorado, a homeless voter said he had never been asked to register to vote. But this year, thanks to voter registration activists, he was prepared to cast his first ballot.

Momentum surrounding this year’s midterm elections resulted in record levels of voter registration. Motivated by the issues that are most important to them, people across the country—some for the first time—rallied around the chance to make their voices heard. In celebration of that spirit, this summer the Inside Out Project traveled to 20 cities to create community art projects, register voters, and celebrate the power of the vote. A project of JR’s global art initiative, Inside Out/Vote partnered with local organizations in each city to register nearly 1,000 voters, particularly young people and people of color in communities often skipped over by candidates and the media.

Harnessing Passion for Civic Participation

At each stop, we encountered advocates passionate about a range of issues that will impact the future of their communities and the country, from the environment and education to protections for women, minorities, and people with disabilities. And for many voters, immigration was top of mind. In Texas, voters discussed the harmful effects of policies like racial profiling associated with SB4 and with the need for better policies around resources to support immigrant families and those seeking asylum in the United States. In Miami, young voters spoke about their desires to represent their friends and family members whose immigration status prevents them from casting votes.

At each stop, people of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences showed up to take their portraits, share the ideas they're most passionate about, and celebrate the power of democracy with Inside/Out.

The Power of Mobilization

Inside Out/Vote relied on the energy and enthusiasm of local organizers and volunteers at every stop. From longtime activists to students on college campuses and even non-citizens unable to cast their own votes, these organizers demonstrated what it means to be civically engaged.

Volunteers and voter registration partners

Beyond registering new voters, Inside Out/Vote had a unique effect in communities across the country: it brought people together, gave joy to families, educated young people, fostered new collaborations, highlighted local issues, gave strength to undocumented families, and inspired everyone involved—whether participant or bystander. This is the type of ripple effect that will surely be felt beyond Election Day.