Forum focuses on importance of voting

Photo courtesy: Jared Melhado

The local organization Partners in Progress and the Florida A&M University Chapter of the NAACP joined forces Saturday for a student leadership forum. The event was open to all college students in Leon County, and it was held  in FAMU’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication lecture hall.

There were three guest speakers: Brittney Geathers,  Matthew Isbell and Gayle Andrews, who covered an array of topics including polling, paid and earned media strategies,  turnout methods and statistics, and voter/supporter mobilization. Different election results and data were shared via MCIMaps.

Geathers, an adviser for the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, an NAACP member and a FAMU alumna told the students about different pieces of identification they can use when voting.  

“You can use [your] driver’s license, identification card, passport, military, student, retirement center, neighborhood association, [and] public assistance ID. You can actually use a debit or credit card, as long as you use it in conjunction with a picture. So if you have your student ID and debit card that you signed, you can use that to vote,” Geathers said.

Andrews, a member of Partners in Progress, FAMU alumna and previous SJGC professor, spoke about how important it is that young adults vote and the relevance of voting by mail, and its convenience.

“Young people deserve the same attention everyone else does. This is their world that we are talking about shaping, and it’s only right that they should be involved, especially African American students, because we are confronted with a constant barrage of barriers. They need to be informed, they need to talk peer to peer, and shape their own strategy,” Andrews said.

“Voting by mail is easy, it’s wonderful. You don’t have to worry about getting sick [or] forgetting to vote. We live in a very busy, complex, world. You don’t have to leave your house, go right to the mailbox, it is the easiest way to vote,” Andrews added.

Londe Mondelus, the student body president at FAMU and a political science major, said it is critical for students to be involved in politics.

“Politics is the way of life; I think it’s important to know that whatever the state legislature, your governor, president, U.S. Senate [and] Congress individuals decide. Even the small, local elections are very important because they dictate your day-to-day lives. They have the power to make laws to either improve your life or make it worse,” Mondelus said.

Andrews weighed in one more time. “If you don’t vote this time, you don’t ever have to worry about it again,” she said.

Voting is crucial and essential for the future of African American students, she added, especially on their way of life, how they learn, and their experiences.