Opinion: Working parents need a ‘Boost Democracy’ texting plan to participate in local government
As a parent of the San Diego Unified School District and an advocate for gun violence prevention through Moms Demand Action, I understand the importance of having a voice when decisions are made at the local level.
I have participated in my fair share of school board meetings, city council meetings, and county supervisory board meetings. Like all parents, I care deeply about the safety and well-being of our children.
But I’ve often had to wait one, two, or even three hours to talk about topics that impact the safety of students and families. And I have seen voters leave meetings before they have had a chance to speak because they have work, school or family obligations.
Someone may be deeply affected by a problem and want to share their thoughts, but their baby needs dinner, or their grandchild needs help with homework, or their job doesn’t allow for a three hour break. in the middle of the day.
So if we want to make sure that all voices are heard, the Boost Democracy initiative, which offers a call or SMS notification when it’s time to speak, is a simple but effective way to do that.
We have seen over the past year how the move to virtual meetings has already increased accessibility, allowing us to hear the voices of those who cannot physically be present at a meeting. Boost Democracy will work to increase this accessibility.
Having to wait on hold indefinitely creates unnecessary barriers to civic participation and perpetuates existing inequalities. Something as simple as an SMS notification will create a more equitable environment for community engagement in local decision-making, and I hope other communities will follow San Diego’s lead.
As a parent of the San Diego Unified School District, I am delighted that our district is the first to pilot this innovative initiative. As a Moms Demand Action volunteer, I am honored to join with other members of the community in supporting Boost Democracy so that all residents of San Diegan have the opportunity to participate in the decision-making processes that affect their lives and that of their relatives.
Kasey Zahner is the local manager of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.