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Sep 09, 2016

Engaging in Civic Life

by Margaret George

Taking an active role to improve lives in our communities is part of Caesars’ DNA. Our employees are deeply involved in volunteering through our HERO program, and our Foundation supports community organizations and nonprofits with grants. There’s another way to get involved, too, and it’s especially relevant in this election year: by engaging with the political and government process. We encourage all our guests and employees, no matter their party affiliation (or lack thereof), to support the political issues that affect them.

Supporting Citizenship

For employees who have immigrated to the U.S., nothing represents civic engagement more than the opportunity to become a citizen of this country. The process of gaining citizenship can be confusing and intimidating; our goal is to provide the necessary support to simplify the process. To date our Citizenship Rewards program has helped 320 employees become citizens, with more than 40 attaining citizenship in 2015 alone, and plans to aid another 60 employees this year.

In southern Nevada and southern California, our properties partner with local organizations like American Immigration Lawyers Association, Mi Familia Vota, the National Immigration Forum and the Human Rights Campaign for Community-Based Naturalization. We host workshops on the legal and financial aspects of applying for U.S. citizenship, and help employees fill out the actual citizenship application. To assist employees offset the $680 application fee, Caesars properties in southern California give employees $150 per application and loans employees the remainder of the cost; employees repay Caesars through a small withdrawals from each paycheck.

Registering Voters

Vida Lin

Caesars partner Vida Lin of the Asian Community Development Council registers voters at Paris Las Vegas.

“It’s important that Asian Americans vote and have their voice heard,” says Vida Lin, president and founder of the Las Vegas-based Asian Community Development Council (ACDC). “However, Las Vegas is a 24-hour town, and it’s hard to reach our community to help them understand why voting is so important.” So ACDC worked with Caesars to bring voter registration to Caesars employees at work, giving them the opportunity to register and learn more about issues on their breaks. In 2016, ACDC made a total of 18 visits to our Las Vegas properties and registered a total of 160 Caesars employees. ACDC helps register all Caesars employees, no matter their racial or ethnic background, and is also available to educate our Asian American employees on issues that specifically impact their community. Where possible, we offer similar voter registration and education services in partnership with other local organizations around the country.

Caesars also supports the Las Vegas Asian community by hosting the ACDC’s events, such as a health and civic engagement fair, which will place in October. The fair will address the challenges of the Asian American community in accessing wellness and preventive care.

Championing Civil Liberties

There is perhaps no better-known advocate for civil liberties than the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Caesars has long partnered with the Nevada chapter. For example, in the 2015 legislative session, we helped the ACLU defeat a bill limiting bathroom access for people who identify as transgender. Similarly, in 2013, Caesars supported marriage equality, partnering with the ACLU of Nevada to overturn an existing law defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman.

In 2016, the ACLU is celebrating its 50th anniversary defending the civil liberties of Nevadans and hosted a gala to celebrate. Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of government affairs and corporate responsibility, was honored with the organization’s Community Equality award for her longstanding commitment to LGBT rights, women’s rights and gender equality.  “Jan is a progressive, action-oriented and forward-thinking leader, and Caesars is always ahead of the pack in preventing discrimination and advocating for equality,” said Tod Story, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada.

It is our hope that our commitment to civic engagement has a meaningful impact on our employees, guests and the communities where we all live and work.