"I saw the incredible creative potential of people in my age group and realized that, for the most part, we weren't using it for social change," says 26-year-old Jamie Laurie. "I wanted to change that."
Thus was born VoterCrews, a group whose agenda is best described through its unofficial mantra, Don't just vote, organize. Unlike other collectives that focus solely on getting people registered to vote, VoterCrews encourages individuals who may already be registered to form their own crew -- a group of friends, a soccer team, a band -- and make sure that everyone is registered and actually gets to the polls.
"Voter registration is only the first step in getting the youth voters in Colorado mobilized," says crew member Gail Bransteitter. "It's also important to get young people involved, organized and educated."
Beginning with a July 4 in-store performance at Tower Records by Laurie, who's also a rapper in the Flobots, VoterCrews has relentlessly offered opportunities for people to get involved, from barbecues to concerts to day-long seminars in a church basement. Its members have gathered nearly 700 people into assorted crews and have an active core of around 100 who help out with and attend the various engagements.
And now the group is launching Last Chance Week, a cafeteria of events aimed at enlisting and educating voters before October 4, the last day to register. A few highlights from the tenacious barrage: "Get Up and Move Somethin'," a live dance, hip-hop and spoken-word show at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, on Saturday, September 25, followed that evening by "Hip-Hop Bash" at the University of Denver's Sturm Hall; a Sunday kickball tournament at noon in Cheesman Park; Freak the Vote at the Bug Theatre on Monday; an Ice Cream Info Session at Blackberries Cafe on Tuesday; a hardcore show at Bender's Tavern on Thursday, with Cowboy Curse and Enfilade; "Mock and Awe," an evening of standup at Theatre du Quirque on Saturday, October 2; and a Last Chance BBQ the next day at the Rhino Beer Garden.