With the election less than 30 days away, there have been many attempts on campus to make students aware of the importance of voting. From flash mobs in Hillwood to the voter registration table posted in front of Subway, the Office of Student Life is relentless. On Tuesday, October 2, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Club also had its say by dedicating one of its meetings to discuss the importance of voting in the upcoming election.
The NAACP is not only a club on campus, but it is a chapter of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization and it is renowned nationwide for its efforts to promote social justice for all Americans, according to NAACP.org. On campus, the club focuses on controversial topics and depends on its members to express their views and opinions by creating a non-judgmental environment, according to Ashley Abney, vice president of the LIU Post chapter of NAACP.
The executive board of the NAACP has seven executive board members: President Ara McPherson, Vice President Ashley Abney, Parliamentarian Adwoa Boateng, Treasurer Malcolm Daniel, Public Relations Coordinator Kylia Pierre, Membership Chair Javon Best, and Secretary Lionel Hurst.
McPherson began the club meeting with a seemingly simple question. “What does it mean to vote?” The members were silent. When asked by the e-board who was not voting, two hands were raised. “I am not prepared to vote yet,” said a young lady in the crowd. The other student said “It [voting] don’t mean nothing to me.”
To make students aware of the different policies of each Presidential candidate, Boateng introduced topics such as abortion, war, immigration, college, guns, debt, and taxes, and where both candidates stand on these issues.
They then introduced Dan Caccavale, a 2011 LIU Post graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science who is working towards his Master’s in Political Science, to answer questions provided by the NAACP. He began with telling the crowd that only 63 percent of the American population voted in 2008, and in the election before that, 56.7 percent of the American population voted. Caccavale also added that it is important to vote for the President based on his political beliefs and not how he looks. “For example, Jimmy Carter was liked because he was a small town farmer,” said Caccavale. And, in Caccavale’s opinion, “it turned out that he was one of the worst presidents in the United States.”
Caccavale also shared why he is going to vote in the election of 2012, “Personally I like to think you have an opinion, and I’d like to think every American has an opinion,” he said. “If you want to have any say in what goes on, you need to vote. By voting, you’re not only picking a President, you’re having your views expressed, which is a huge deal, and one that we take for granted.”
Another member of the crowd, who is voting, said, “I am voting because I feel it is my right to vote. As a citizen of America, we have the right to choose who we want to be President. It’s a right that comes with being an American.”
“The reason I’m going to vote,” said President of NAACP McPherson, “is because I have two younger siblings…voting for me is not just for me and my generation, but it is for the generations coming up behind me, so they could have a better way of living.” She also added that she would vote out of respect for her forefathers, who risked their lives for us to be able to vote. “Your vote does count,” McPherson explained.
To Parliamentarian Boateng, voting is really important be¬cause, she said, if you choose not to have your voice heard and things don’t go your way, how can you blame the government? Boateng stated that everyone knows there are flaws in the political system, but one cannot complain if he or she does not attempt to change it. “Also as a person of color, we were finally able to obtain this right so you better use it,” said Boateng.
“For those not voting,” said Best, “you may just want to register anyway, you never know if you can change your mind, you don’t want to wait until it’s too late to decide you want to vote and you can’t.”
After the meeting, Bismark Oppong, who is a junior, and one of the members who stated that he would not vote in the beginning of the meeting, stated that he no longer feels so adamant about not voting. He admitted that he has reconsidered it a lot, and even though he has not made up his mind yet if he is going to vote, he is no longer a definite no.
NAACP members also stressed that in order to be registered to vote, you must have your voter registration forms postmarked by October 12. The NAACP’s next meeting, cosponsored by SGA, is on Tuesday, October 16, at 9 p.m. in the Hill¬wood Cinema, where food will be provided, during which students are welcome to eat and watch the second Presidential debate taking place at Hofstra University. Afterwards, there will be an open discussion about the debate and the candidates led by the NAACP e-board. To learn more about the NAACP club, contact email@example.com.