POLL DANCING! CHA CHA SLIDE YOUR WAY INTO THE VOTING BOOTH!
What to do when racial and political tension, a pandemic and voter suppression campaigns threaten voter participation? You dance. You share music. You share goodwill. You do the Cha Cha Slide.
A group called, “Joy to the Polls” wanted to encourage people to vote by ratcheting down the tension and ramping up the joy. And they found an answer that brought fun to voters and ‘contributors’ alike. It seems that there are all kinds of people just waiting to help – dance groups, marching bands (distanced), people with great playlists on their phones – signing up and organizing to make voting a better experience.
You see, music evokes a “we” – instantly. It reaches into our emotional worlds. Our impulse to sway or move can be irresistible. Science has shown that when we dance together, we are a little less able to differentiate self from others – we become part of a bigger whole. And, as humans, that can feel like coming home. Like family. We’re in “this” together.
Imagine standing in a long slow-moving line, when suddenly you hear drums in the distance. And as those drums come closer you see happy dancers – nothing formal – just enjoying moving to the music – and they are coming your way. Soon they move among you all – and invite you to just feel good – to relax – and maybe look into the eyes of all the others waiting in line. You loosen up, see that everyone is as bad at dancing as you are so your moves start taking up more room.
That’s the moment – the alchemy of music. The group you are in is now a “we.” You feel the shared commitment – the hope. Ana DuVernay said, when she saw the work of the “Joy” movement, “I love us so much. We rise. Always.”
And music helps with the lift.