ABOUT

This website repository of the virtual and online programs and resources developed as part of the national Federation of State Humanities Councils’ initiative Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation, generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, seeks to continue the conversation started by communities across the country about the histories, experiences, and value of civic and electoral participation as experienced by individuals and communities in the US and its territories. This website offers these resources and recorded programs free to the public and invites visitors to participate in this conversation by exploring, sharing, and discussing the programs on this website and through social media using #whycivicsmatters.

ABOUT WHY IT MATTERS: CIVIC AND ELECTORAL PARTICIPATION

In the fall of 2020, as our country faced a fraught political landscape in advance of a highly contentious 2020 Presidential election,, the state and jurisdictional humanities councils launched public programs related to Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation, a national initiative administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore questions around civic participation as it related to electoral engagement in a multivocal democracy. From October 2020 through June 2021, more than 1,000 programs and resources were developed across 40 states and three US territories by the state and jurisdictional humanities councils to engage communities in collaborative, accessible, and thought-provoking dialogues. From online discussions, lectures, and podcasts to magazines and exhibitions, these programs, while diverse in topic and format, all used a humanistic approach – historical, philosophical, legal, and ethical – to provide the necessary context.

Throughout the six months, more than 100,000 people participated in these programs and as the recordings were posted to websites, shared on social media, and broadcast through media partners, more than two million viewers and listeners engaged with the content. Because the COVID-19 necessitated virtual programs, many of these events and resources are now compiled and widely available through this website to those interested in exploring civic engagement in their communities.

Thank you to the partners, speakers, authors, cultural organizations, and participants who made this program possible.

ABOUT THE FEDERATION OF STATE HUMANITIES COUNCILS

Founded in 1977, the Federation of State Humanities Councils is the national member association of the US state and jurisdictional humanities councils. Our purpose is to provide leadership, advocacy, and information to help members advance programs that engage millions of citizens across diverse populations in community and civic life.

ABOUT THE HUMANITIES COUNCILS

The state and jurisdictional humanities councils are independent nonprofit organizations supporting and creating grassroots humanities programs and community-based activities. Humanities councils were established by Congress in the early 1970s and receive an annual congressional appropriation through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which most councils supplement with state and private funding.

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