by KYW’s Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A musical uses the civil rights movement — with a little help from bubbles and jelly beans — to teach kids the importance of voting.
A crowd at Overbrook Educational Center saw the show’s latest performance as part of the Martin Luther King Day observance.
“Don’t vote, don’t count…”
Don’t know how many jelly beans are in this big jar? Can’t count all the bubbles in that tub of soap?
“We have a right to stand here.”
So was part of the impossible roadblock for blacks leading to the ballot box before 1965:
“One man, one vote…”
“We use the history and the sacrifice that was crucial to the Voting Rights Act being passed,” says ‘Voices of Voting’ writer and director David Bradley. “We hold that up against how we need to keep that activism and engagement going today.”
‘Voices of Voting’ is produced by Committee of Seventy.
“Really, the purpose is to engage people in what we think is the crowning act of citizenship,” says David Thornburgh, the president and CEO of Philadelphia’s good government advocate. “Martin Luther King was a symbol and a fierce fighter for voting rights, for inclusion, for diversity, and we think this play amplifies and exhibits all of those things he demonstrated through his life.”
One of the characters in the show is John Lewis — a man who’s again put himself on the front lines of what he would call a battle for the country’s future, just as he did in Selma, Alabama:
“He was 23 then, and it’s great to show young people what it is to really put your skin in the game for what you think is right,” Bradley says.
Christyann, 7, and Simritt, 13, get the message:
“Speak up for yourself, no matter what.”
“It provokes you to vote, because people have gone through a lot for us to vote today.”