Rock the Vote: A Discussion to Enact Change

Jordan Geriane
Staff Reporter

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The Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority hosted an event aimed to empower the people to vote and enact change during this past election. Photo by An Phan.

 

A small group comprising of people from various student organizations gathered in the Congress Lounge to discuss the reasons why voting is important to them and why they will emphasize the act of voting to their outlying communities.

On Nov. 1, representatives from Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority (the Beta Rho Chapter), various other sororities and fraternities, Black Student Union (BSU), Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) and the Student Government Association (SGA) came to speak on behalf of their organizations.

Each organization indicated numerous reasons why voting was important to them personally and communally, as well as providing information to their peers on how to vote and become informed. It was an event that spotlighted spoken word, voter registration and resources to motivate people to get out and vote.

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One organization Sigma Gamma Rho reached out to was the Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL). Tanya Watkins, a leader of this large community was the head speaker at this event. SOUL is a group established on the Southside of Chicago that primarily focused on the continuous fight for justice. According to Watkins, it is a community that stands under the firm principals of “power, leadership, accountability and action.”

In speaking to the audience, Watkins asked, “What has this government, this generation, turned our country into?” Accountability must be shown, Watkins explained. As a grown woman, looking down at this generation who has many years of voting ahead of them, has given her the motivation to stand up and empower those who must realize they have the power and take action, Watkins said.

Watkins said people of color are being oppressed and criminalized by the government. “The justice system is not fair,” said Watkins, to which the audience nodded in agreement.

Watkins said people need to feel empowered in order to “allow people of color the power to vote and to impact change.”

“Voter turnout is so low in our communities that we aren’t getting what we want or what we need,” Watkins said. “It is time to enact change.”

Inspiring the people, educating our communities, discovering the power within us and enacting change among various societies were the principal points and ideas drawn during the devoted discussion.

SGA President Brandon Glynn expressed the importance of voting and how it heavily affects our environments.

Glynn said since Roosevelt is a social justice school, applying the school’s social justice principles is important.

Glynn then explained that voters and soon-to-be voters must take this mission and get educated. It is the first step to creating change.

“We are the people who will be voting years to come,” Glynn said. “We should be building a community with politics that we need.”

On the afternoon of Nov. 2, SOUL organizers took as many students as they could on a bus and transported them to early voting polls.

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