South side neighborhood support in Chicago, homelessness in Dallas, and diversity in media in L.A. — Americans know our cities need help, but do we know who’s helping? Community organizations, churches, state agencies, social entrepreneurs all spring to mind. What about a global telecommunications, media and entertainment company? In cities across the U.S., AT&T employees are taking initiative to make change in their own communities, and they are bringing their teams along. Could a major corporation find its place in the already-rich ecosystem of changemaking? Is it an organic new form of employee-led citizenship, beyond the familiar tricks and traps of CSR? Ashoka caught up with Hardmon Williams, VP of AT&T BelievesSM, and Michael Peterson, VP of AT&T External Affairs, to find out how one of the country’s most powerful corporations learned to lead from behind.
Ashoka: What’s the core idea of AT&T Believes and how did it come about?
Hardmon Williams and Michael Peterson: Believes is a unique approach AT&T has taken as a company. Instead of making CSR policy at the top, we are letting employees identify the issues that matter most in the places where they live and work. It started in Chicago in 2018. Employees came together and asked what they could do for south side communities suffering from inner-city violence. It was happening in their neighborhoods, places of worship, schools. Their concerns were real, and their interest was credible. But we are a tech and media company, and our people have expertise in those areas. So, we had to find the right collaborators who had experience with addressing the local issues.
Throughout 2019, we rolled out that basic model — following our employees’ lead then
Iowa was the last state to ban those with felony convictions from voting, even after completion of their sentences.
Des Moines Register
Days before early voting begins in Iowa, Secretary of State Paul Pate has unveiled a new website and voter registration form with updated information on when people with felony convictions may resume voting.
Iowa’s four-member Voter Registration Commission approved the new form on Friday, Pate announced in a news release. The update comes two months after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an executive order in early August restoring the right to vote to most people with felony convictions in Iowa once they have served their sentences, including any parole or probation.
The form, which Iowans fill out when they register to vote, includes a reference to a new state website, RestoreYourVote.iowa.gov, which contains information about the executive order and how to register to vote. The site lets people with past felony convictions check to see if their rights have been restored.
More: Early voting begins Monday. Here’s what you need to know about absentee ballots and voting early in Iowa
A sentence at the top of the new voter registration form states: “In Iowa, you are not qualified to vote following a felony conviction until your right to vote is restored by the Governor. To learn more about voting after a felony conviction visit RestoreYourVote.iowa.gov.”
At the bottom of the form, where a signature is required, the voter is asked to swear that “I have never been convicted of a felony OR my right to vote has been restored by the Governor, including through Executive Order, after a felony conviction.”
The commission that approved the change is bipartisan. Pate and Reynolds are both Republicans.
“I agree with Governor Reynolds that Iowans who have served their time deserve a