Skip Navigation
Essays on Civic Engagement

This Is Your Democracy

I just remember going up to the podium having my voting sheet of paper in hand and checking those boxes. I felt empowered.

Make Your Voice Known Brittney Washington Springfield

When I was a child, voting was a little confusing

Voting Against the Absence of My Father Jaseth Beason Belchertown
Onyedikachi Nwogu

The goals of my activism were to bring the events that affect gay men to the mainstream media and secondly to ensure the right health care is given to any LGBTQ persons in need.

Speaking Out for Members of My Community Onyedikachi Nwogu Worcester

People were excited for hope, change and progress; this was the vibe I was feeling from those images while I was standing in line.

Black People Are Not Monolithic Nathan Pickens Worcester

As I reflected on my current stance as a voter, I can remember being so proud to register and become an active voter.

My Ancestor’s Hope Darlene Williams Springfield

It is easy to start a movement that speaks to people’s emotions of the moment.

The Politics of Education Kenza Dekar West Brookfield

Growing up, I never really realized how lucky I was to be able to be living in America, to an American citizen, and to have the power to vote as soon as I turned 18, as I was only months away from my 18th birthday, and actually being able to cast a vote.

Voting and Responsibility Mamie Jackson Springfield

I learned more about them in one song, “You Must Learn” by KRS-One, than I ever did in my years in school. I also learned about the importance of asking questions and being willing to educate myself.

Only Time Will Tell Greg Ashley Springfield

My father had strong feelings for national candidates and actively supported state and local candidates.

Voting William Murphy Weymouth
Crystal-Cedeno

After my incarceration, I wasn’t eligible to register to vote. It was 2008 when I was cleared after a certain number of years.

Why People Should Vote Crystal Cedeno

Never stop believing in voting because your vote does matter and could make a big difference in the world.

It Will Take All of Us to Make a Change in Our Country Linda Washington Springfield
Charlie-Knight

I have not said this to many, but now I say it because in my 76 years of life I have met so many that are so hurt by society’s putting them down.

Piece One Charlie Knight Springfield
Charlie-Knight

Because of the Clemente Courses I have been given the viewpoint that I can say things of value.

Piece Two Charlie Knight Springfield
Peta-Gaye-Williams

“You’re going to turn my daughter gay and corrupt the rest of the girls.”

Story One Peta-Gaye Williams Worcester
Peta-Gaye-Williams

Now I know I am a person of importance. I know my voice matters. I know my skin color shouldn’t determine how I should be treated.

Story Two Peta-Gaye Williams Worcester

My lifelong engagement in the life of the community was also inspired by the older people who used to hold weekly senior citizens meetings in my town.

My Mother the Philanthropist George Thorney Worcester

Every generation leaves behind a legacy. What that legacy will be is determined by the people of that generation. What legacy do we want to leave behind?

What Will Our Legacy Be? Renee Dingman Springfield
Don-Vo

Class discussions are always rich because Clemente students bring their extensive life experiences, questions, and emotions into the conversations.

Don’t Sink in the Sea of Despair Don Vo Worcester
Oumar-Kenneh

Because of this experience, I started having meetings with Mandingoes boys like me. If we kept our mouths shut, nothing would change. We needed to stand up for one another.

The Day I Learned Standing Up for People Can Save Lives Oumar Kenneh Worcester

I believe that the job of human beings is to nurture nature, do no harm to the earth, and bring about the creation of a beloved community.

Motherhood as Civic Engagement Wileen Jamison Springfield
Suzan-Khan

Remembering what it feels like to be hungry, I started volunteering with an organization that helps the homeless, but I quickly realized I needed to do more.

Lessons Learned from an Empty Pot Suzan Khan Stoughton

I showed them the importance of hard work and I talked about the importance of education so they could have different lives than I do.

I Know What Sisyphus was Going Through Trina Steed Springfield
Jude-Samuels

I learned early in my life that it is only in giving that we truly receive.

In Honor of the Lanky Laughing Boy Judith Samuels Marion

To build a safe and harmonious community, I think about making my own contributions like others do.

From Anger to Action Meng Ling Shrewsbury
Felicia-Gasque-Wilson

I reach out to other women who may be going through stressful situations managing their homes, their children, or school. I try to help them realize their dreams.

A New Path to Community Service Felicia Gasque-Wilson Springfield

We must support organizations and individuals doing the work to break the cycles of incarceration.

Adjacent Incarceration Kelly Russell Boston
Mallory-Shelley

This class really opened my heart in terms of how I feel toward advocacy, educating, passing on knowledge, activism and calling out problems.

An Education in Social Problems Mallory Shelly Worcester
M.Toni-Hall

Everyone has an importance to someone and should never be devalued based upon bad decisions. There is a chance of redemption for us all.

Recognizing the Need for Civic Engagement M. Toni McComb Hall Springfield

Sometimes we come into the rooms of recovery spiritually and mentally, sometimes we’re fiscally bankrupt and near death. We have no choice but to begin our path to becoming productive members of a society we know nothing about when we are sober.

A Community in Recovery Rochelle Bascom Springfield

My teacher was Mr. Frangules, who looked at me with a smile and said, “This is where you belong, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.”

Classroom Belonging Rodney McCrimmons Springfield

I learned that I can best be engaged with my community by providing important educational services.

Teaching Chinese and Building Community Yuanli Wang

Stay in touch with Mass Humanities

Sign up for our Newsletter