Press Release: Future of Fish launches the Seafood Voting Challenge
October 13, 2020
For Immediate Release
Voting is an essential right, and in a year of so many urgent challenges — from Covid-19 to climate change — it’s more important than ever that everyone’s voice is heard. This week, Future of Fish launched the Seafood Voting Challenge: a call to action for the sustainable seafood and communities, to ensure that all seafood workers have the time, information, and resources they need to vote.
The United States 2020 election has highlighted the challenges to fair and equitable access to voting, including increasing pressures on the US Postal Service and the growing evidence of voter suppression tactics that disproportionately impact marginalized communities. On an individual level, people cite lack of time and resources as the most common reason for not voting. Voting can require taking time off work, finding childcare, organizing postage, or arranging transportation to the polls. These challengers can be a barrier that prevents people from making it to the polls, but supportive employers and access to information can help.
Future of Fish, an international non-profit dedicated to supporting resilience in coastal communities and ocean based economies, launched the Seafood Voting Challenge to mobilize its own community — the sustainable seafood and ocean world — to help ensure everyone can exercise their voting right.
“We believe this is a critical time for the sustainable seafood community to step up and help equalize people’s opportunity to vote” says Peter Battisti, Executive Director for Future of Fish. The Seafood Voting Challenge asks seafood organizations to sign a pledge committing to ensuring their employees have access to the information and resources needed to vote. This may include any number of initiatives such as giving employees paid time off to go to the polls, providing voting resources directly to staff through emails, or creating a No Meetings Day.
Some big seafood organizations, like Thai Union North America, have already committed to ensuring their employees have the resources needed to vote. “We’ve stepped forward to give our employees increased flexibility, access to resources, and a No Meetings Day on Election Day to make sure everyone has the opportunity and knowledge to vote,” says Roxanne Nanninga Director of Sustainability, Diversity & Inclusion for Thai Union North America. “We would love to see the entire seafood sector come together to enable the thousands of workers in our boats, farms, factories, and offices across the country to exercise and celebrate their right to vote.”
Future of Fish is acutely aware that environmental threats, including climate change, disproportionately affect marginalized populations and low-income groups around the world. With a global focus, it makes sense that the US election is just the beginning for the Seafood Voting Challenge. The Challenge will be promoted in Belize, Peru and Chile — three countries where Future of Fish works — in the lead-up to those countries’ national elections in November 2020, April and December 2021.
“As individual organizations, we might feel like there’s not much we can do but together, we can be a significant force for voting equality,” says Peter. With a coordinated effort from the seafood and ocean communities, and a little bit of peer pressure in the form of the Seafood Voting Challenge, Future of Fish is hoping that everyone in the industry, from fishers to administrators to scientists, will head to the polls and cast their votes.
To learn more about the Seafood Voting Challenge, visit SeafoodVotingChallenge.com.
Press contact: Julie Budkowski