|Bay Window: Voting Counts: Press Release
"BAY WINDOW" LOOKS AT VOTER PARTICIPATION ON THE EVE OF THE CALIFORNIA PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY
KQED Series Gives Bay Area Voters an Opportunity to Discuss Their Reasons to Participate in American Politics
San Francisco, CA, March 1, 2000BAY WINDOW, the local series from KQED that provides a Bay Area view of issues first addressed by national PBS programs, looks at voter participation with a series of spots slated to air up until the California Primary on March 7. Various one-minute spotsbranded "Voting Counts"are introduced by BAY WINDOW host Evelyn Cisneros and funded by The James Irvine Foundation.
With the Presidential election year gaining momentum and the nation facing an opportunistic yet complex future, why do fewer than half of all registered voters go to the polls? Many citizens are feeling apathetic, disinterested and uninspired by the electoral process; they feel that their vote doesn't count. Through BAY WINDOW, people across the Bay Area, people who do vote, are speaking out and encouraging others to exercise their right as American citizens. Why is voting so important to them? What inspires them personally to show up to the polls and vote? "Voting Counts" looks at individuals in the Bay Area making a political difference.
"The Bay Area has always been a center of political activism," noted Peter Calabrese, vice president of television productions at KQED. " 'Voting Counts' spotlights Bay Area residents who think about politics, voting and their future, and why it is so inherently important for them to be engaged in the process."
"Voting Counts" features the following Bay Area residents:
Shirley Bierly (San Francisco) is 76 years old and has never missed an election in her life. She learned to be political from her mother, who advocated for social justice during the Depression (she has memories of her mother "on a soapbox" when she was 5 years old). Bierly says she gets a deep satisfaction from votingit's a "must" for her and she can't imagine not voting. She is active in senior issues and runs an organization called Senior Power. In her words, "I'm high on what I do, and voting is a big part of that."
Paul Evans (Richmond) is a 17-year old who knows what voting can mean in the fight for racial justice. Paul' s grandfather is a former Black Panther, and instilled in him the belief in political action. In June, Paul will graduate from John F. Kennedy High School in Richmond. He follows politics closely and believes that voting can change society for the better. He's excited about his first election and carries around the California Voters handbook. "I think I'll probably turn cartwheels the first time I get to vote!"
Darren Lewis (San Francisco) is 28 years old and homeless. But that hasn't stopped him from voting. He says that registering to vote was one of the first things he did when he came to San Francisco a year ago. A Navy veteran, Lewis says that previous generations have died fighting to preserve democracy. For him, voting is a duty and also a way for the poor and disenfranchised to make their voices heard. This is why he recently helped register the homelessness, volunteering with the Coalition on Homelessness.
Mikel O'Riordan (San Francisco) is an Irish community leader and publisher of the Irish Herald. O'Riordan recently became a U.S. citizen and is passionate about voting, saying it's important for America and for his family. Arriving in America from Ireland, he was confused and disoriented. But when he finally became a citizen last year and voted for the first time, O'Riordan says it was like "coming home."
Larry Parides (Kensington) is a civil rights lawyer who is in a wheelchair. For him, voting is a crucial first step to buying into social change and being a part of solving societal inequities. Larry says, "Historically, people with disabilities have not been countedwhether that's in employment, transportation issues or with physical access. The battle to change that begins with voting."
Dita Pepin (St. Helena) is a survivor of breast cancer. Originally from the Netherlands, she became so politicized by her illness, that she is changing her citizenship from Dutch to U.S. so she can vote and hopefully have an impact on women's health issues. Because of her battle with cancer, she witnessed the tremendous struggle that women in this country face to get adequate health care and decided she wanted to be able to vote and have a voice on women's health in her community.
Lateefah Simon (San Francisco) is a 23-year old African-American woman who grew up in a "way low income" family in the Western Addition. She's been working with the Center for Young Women's Development in the Tenderloin since she was a teenagershe's now their Executive Director. She works closely with young people of color to educate them and help them become organized around political issues. "Young people have been at the forefront of almost every important struggle in this country," says Simon. "As young women in our organization, we're on the streets everyday trying to give young people real information so they can find their own voices and be heard."
BAY WINDOW is an eclectic series that complements national PBS broadcasts with Bay Area perspectives. Formats range from live talk shows to documentaries and from cultural performances to two-minute shorts. The first season of BAY WINDOW included programs following landmark and moving public television presentations, such as AFRICANS IN AMERICA, NOT FOR OURSELVES ALONE and AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY.
BAY WINDOW was created by Peter Calabrese. "Voting Counts" producers are John Roszak and Victoria Reichenberg. Executive producer is Sue Ellen McCann. Major funding for BAY WINDOW is provided by The James Irvine Foundation.
KQED, Inc., operates KQED TV9, the nation's most-watched public television station; KQED 88.5 FM, one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation; and the KQED Education Network, which brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents and media professionals through workshops, seminars and the Internet.