How Low Literacy Affects Voting
Post Halloween Messages from Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity
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“With our thoughts, we make the world.”
A MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CYNTHIA BRIAN
Halloween is almost over and we hope it was fun, safe, and spooky for all the kiddos! I love seeing all the costumes and the houses decorated for this very favorite holiday.
Now it’s time to get down to the importance of literacy and your vote.
According to U.S. Code §10508, any voter who requires assistance to vote because of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may be assisted by a person of the voter’s choice, other than the voter’s employer or agent of that employer or officer or agent of the voter’s union. Yet with redistricting and the numerous new State laws targeting people of color and other minorities, voting for people who struggle to read is challenging. According to ProLiteracy, more than 35 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level. An estimated 63 million adults only read between a sixth and with grade level. Children of those parents have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. Parents are our first teachers.
Understanding a ballot is difficult when one is a proficient reader as many of the statements are confusing. When a person has low or no literacy skills, knowledgeable voting is almost impossible. Some states have required those who need help to sign an affidavit explaining why they need assistance. Other states do not allow voters to bring sample ballots to the polls and some states limit the number of voters a volunteer may assist. Even when federal courts strike down these restrictions, states create more obstacles.
Voter suppression is real, yet voting is a right of all Americans. The cost of illiteracy to American taxpayers has climbed to $250 billion a year. When someone can’t read, they are excluded from innumerable activities that allow them to function as a human or to reach a level of success. Many are forced to live in poverty. Our prisons are filled with illiterate inmates.
The midterm elections are upon us. Carefully read the sample ballots and if you know someone who has difficulty reading, read the information to them.
Although our young children cannot vote, READ to them daily. Reading to kids early on can help to boost literacy rates over the long term. An estimated 77% of children who are read to are more likely to read or attempt to read on their own, versus 57% of kids who don’t have regular story time at home. Growing up in a literacy-rich environment will one day enable them to be voters who understand what’s on the ballot.
In California, one proposition on the ballot that is not contested is Proposition 28 which will provide the arts to our students. As a mom, actor, author, artist, and coach, I’m asking you to Vote YES on California Proposition 28 on the November 8 ballot. If passed, Proposition 28 will funnel nearly $1 billion annually in new funding to arts and music education in our PreK-12 public schools. All without raising taxes!
A well-rounded education might start with language and math, science and history. But it is not complete without the arts, and on that score, too many California schoolchildren are getting shortchanged.
When the state budgets get tight, arts and music programs are often the first to go. As a result, barely 1 in 5 California elementary schools have full-time art and music program.
Children deserve an opportunity to discover and develop their creative talents. Plus, research shows that students in art classes tend to do better in other subjects and are less likely to miss school. Arts education also correlates to better mental and physical well-being.
For the adults reading this newsletter, remember your vote matters. The political environment has been especially hostile, negative, and violent this season. Study the reference guide to familiarize yourself with the ballot. Vote for the people, policies, and programs that will create a better environment for our nation, our states, and our communities, as well as for you.
READ and VOTE!
Have a SAFE and Happy Halloween!
- Cynthia Brian
- Founder/Executive Director
- Be the Star You Are!®
- PO Box 376
- Moraga, California 94556
- DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504
Cynthia on Points of Light Inspiration honor Roll: https://www.pointsoflight.org/inspiration-honor-roll/2022-2/
by Karen Kitchel
This election season can create stress and division, but it also presents an opportunity to inspire kindness with our words and actions.
The Inspire Kindness organization captures many ideas to make the world a kinder place. They offer some good tips to inspire kindness in conversations.
Be kind today, tomorrow, and always!
Karen Kitchel who penned two chapters in the book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World, is the Kindness Coordinator volunteer with BTSYA. She serves meals to the homeless and is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. www.scatteringkindness.com
EXPRESS YOURSELF TEEN RADIO’S NEWEST REPORTER
Alix Erlij is a senior in high school in Los Angeles who loves all things food! She operates a restaurant review blog and Instagram account called “Sweet and Savory LA” and works at AOC, a well-known farm-to-table restaurant. She also is a volunteer for CCAP, Careers Through Culinary Arts, the managing editor of her school’s newspaper, the leader of a feminist club at her school, and the captain of her water polo team. Alix hopes to share the importance of food and doesn’t hold back any of her strong-willed opinions about restaurants! Her first report is about her favorite picks for Los Angeles Restaurants on Halloween or whenever. Tune in at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/140013/halloween-and-great-la-restaurants
CYNTHIA BRIAN HONORED ON THE POINTS OF LIGHT INSPIRATION HONOR ROLL
The Points of Light Inspiration Honor Roll was created to celebrate acts of service, kindness, and civic engagement by individuals who create change in communities around the world. It recognizes the people who take action, in both large and small ways, to improve the lives of others. This year, more people are volunteering, using their voices, giving back through work, and taking action when they see a need. Points of Light honors Cynthia Brian, Founder/Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity on this year’s Inspiration Honor Roll. Uplifting stories show how in communities worldwide, the power of people continues to drive the world forward. See the honorees: https://www.pointsoflight.org/inspiration-honor-roll/2022-2/
PEAR FESTIVAL A GREAT SUCCESS
Thanks once again to our volunteer coordinator, Sharanya Roy, and our two sponsors, Lamorinda Weekly Newspaper and MB Jessee Painting for helping Be the Star You Are!® create another fantastic event for families. Our volunteers were kept busy with activities for kids and attendees enjoyed the festivities.
Thanks to everyone who bought books and donated. We appreciate you!
No Barnyard Bullies , based on a true story, is the latest book with proceeds benefiting Be the Star You Are!®. Pick up your copies today. They’ll make great holiday gifts that encourage KINDNESS and INCLUSIVITY.
NOT TO BE MISSED!
Buy an NFT for $99 to support Be the Star You Are!® and you are entitled to a bevy of exclusive experiences only for members of the StarStyle® Community.
Check out: https://www.StarStyleCommunity.com
Mark your calendars and get ready to have fun! Here’s what’s coming up:
Sunday, November 6th, 1pm PT/4pm ET – First ZOOM hangout with Cynthia Brian and Special Guest
First ZOOM hangout with Cynthia Brian and special guest, illustrator Jensen Russell. Find out the true story about the animals behind the book No Barnyard Bullies and how the illustrator interpreted the events. Ask questions and get answers.
Saturday, November 12th, 3-5pm PT – In-Person Book Signing
In-Person Book Storytelling and Signing at Point Richmond Art Gallery, 145 West Richmond Avenue, Point Richmond, California, 94801. Come meet Cynthia, enjoy refreshments, art, and a FREE gift to NFT holders. Bring the kids and the family!
- Monday, November 21st, 2pm PT/5pm ET – “Thanksgiving is Everyday”
“Thanksgiving is Every Day” Zoom discussion about how to be grateful with Cynthia Brian
- Sunday, December 18th, 4pm PT/7pm ET – Virtual Wine Experience and class
Virtual Wine Experience and class with Sommelier Heather Brittany
- Buy your NFT today and support Be the Star You Are!®https://www.StarStyleCommunity.com
- HELP CONTINUE THE POSITIVE WORKS! DONATE TODAY!
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SIMPLE WAYS TO HELP!We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882
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