Because there have been a historic number of anti-voting bills recently introduced at the state level and in some states, passed into law, groups throughout the U.S. are participating in various activities called ‘Deadline for Democracy’ in the next two weeks in support of the For the People Act, now under consideration in Congress, and preserving voting rights.
Missouri has some of the worst voter suppression in the country.
. A rally downtown St. Louis will take place on Thursday, July 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Kiener Plaza Park, which will feature remarks from Missouri State Rep. Peter Merideth, Dr. Sara Kenzior, Wesley Bell, Denise Lieberman, among others. There will be an ASL interpreter for all speakers.
The rally will open with a community dance led by Ashley L. Tate and Thomas Proctor of Ashleyliane Dance Company called ‘Dancing for Democracy’ for Dance the Vote.
With eight out of ten Americans supporting more access to voting, regardless of party affiliations, Dance the Vote, a non-partisan voting advocacy group, will join with over 30 groups nationwide in the Deadline for Democracy grassroots effort.
In St. Louis, the event is sponsored by the Indivisible Missouri Coalition — includes Indivisible St. Louis, Indivisible Pulaski County, Indivisible Heart of The Ozarks, Indivisible Take Action Now, Indivisible SEMO, Indivisible We Will Persist, Small Deeds Done, Dance The Vote, Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, and Ashleyliane Dance Company.
At the state level, there have been 389 bills introduced in 48 states that would restrict a person’s voting access as of May 14, 2021 according to the Brennan Center.
From 6-6:20 pm, DTV will offer a free community dance class called “Dancing for Democracy” led by Ashley L Tate and Thomas Proctor of Ashleyliane Dance Company featuring favorites like the Electric Slide, the Wobble, the Cupid Shuffle and more. Everyone is welcome, regardless of age or dance experience.
This will be followed by several confirmed speakers: authoritarian scholar, writer and anthropologist Dr Sarah Kendzior, Attorney Denise Lieberman of the non-partisan state wide organization Missouri Voter Protection Coalition and St Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell. Additional speakers may be added.
Postcards will be available for signing and the St Louis Voter Registration Group will be registering people to vote.
“Missouri has some of the most restrictive legislation in the country, blocking access to our most fundamental democratic right,” said Joan Lipkin, the founder of Dance the Vote. “The For the People Act would end gerrymandering, allow universal access to vote by mail, expand early voting requirements, restore the right to vote for people with felony convictions who have served their time, modernize voter registration systems and institute automatic voter registration. It is essential that it be passed.”
Who: Dance the Vote, Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, Indivisible St Louis
What: Deadline for Democracy: Rally for S1 For The People Act
Date: Thursday, July 1
Where: Kiener Plaza Park
500 Chestnut St.
St. Louis, MO 63101
Time: 6-8 PM CDT
Details: Further Details and RSVP can be found here: https://act.indivisible.org/event/local-actions/163030/signup/
About Dance the Vote:
Dance the Vote is a non-partisan project that uses the arts to promote voter awareness and registration. Founded in 2016 by theatre artist and activist Joan Lipkin in collaboration with activist designer Anne Taussig, voter registration specialist Sabrina Tyuse and choreographer Ashley L. Tate, DTV raises public awareness by utilizing dance, video, graphics, music and spoken word.
Programming is based on various themes of the voting experience, including the experiences of African-Americans, women, people with disabilities, college students and immigrants around voting, voting rights, voter suppression, among other themes. This project brings together local as well as artists nationwide who creatively seek to make a difference by promoting voter awareness and getting eligible voters registered and committed to vote.
In 2016, the project was presented at Vintage Vinyl, St, Louis Black Pride and Left Bank Books, and the 2018 midterm performance at the Missouri History Museum attracted an audience of 1200. The 2020 season was virtual due to Covid-19, with 10 episodes of commissioned pieces from artists around the country, and also included participation in Every Vote Counts: A Celebration of Democracy, the national special on voting produced by CBS and Global Citizen. Dance the Vote also collaborated with Webster University to sponsor a contest for college students using a variety of arts media called “Make Good Trouble: Why John Lewis Inspires Me To Vote’’ for which they awarded cash prizes.
Dance the Vote has received several awards, including an IDEA Award for commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility, a 2021 FOCUS What’s Right With the Region Award for Fostering Creativity for Social Change, an award in the 2021 St. Louis Magazine A List for Moving Democracy, and both a mayoral and aldermanic proclamation declaring Dance The Vote Voter Registration Day in the city of St. Louis.
For more info, contact Joan.Lipkin@gmail.com or see www.dancethevotestl.org
About Ashleyliane Dance Company:
Ashleyliane Dance Company (ADC) is a professional performance organization under the artistic direction of Ashley L. Tate, with a mission to cultivate diverse repertory, create safe educational spaces, and a vision to promote the intersection of dance and social issues.
Since its inception in 2007, ADC has performed at a plethora of major events and private engagements, including but not limited to: the Muny, Fair St. Louis, First Night, Loop in Motion, Dancing in the Street, Casino Queen, Four Seasons Hotel and The
Pageant. ADC has been featured on Fox 2 News,”Best of the STL” on STL TV, Show Me St. Louis, HEC-TV, and the Nine Network and in Alive Magazine and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The company has produced a number of dance concerts at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA), Ivory Theatre, and Missouri History Museum, Edison Theatre, and The Grandel. They have also been invited to perform at the Dance Chicago Festival, the American College Dance Association Convention, the University of Illinois-Chicago, the Chicago Choreographers’ Carnival, Peridance Capezio Center, TADA! Theater, and Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York City, as well as the 18th St. Arts Center in Santa Monica, California and Gordon Gamm Theater in Boulder, Colorado.
ADC is a proud resident organization of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation.
Indivisible is a movement driven by a vision of a real democracy of, by, and for the people. The Indivisible movement is a network of thousands of local groups and millions of activists across every state working to build an inclusive democracy by fighting for bold, progressive policies and creating lasting grassroots power.
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Indivisible St. Louis is a grassroots group dedicated to the pursuit of justice, equity, and progress for all. They are a registered chapter of Indivisible (www.indivisibleguide.com) committed to promoting, encouraging, and facilitating constituent contact with members of Congress to help move a progressive agenda forward.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.