By Joy Moton | Reporter
Baylor NAACP is hosting its first campus-wide mass voter’s registration drive Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. on Fountain Mall.
The purpose of the event is to educate students about voting and get them excited for the significance of their participation in the upcoming election. Nationally, the organization considers voting an important initiative. According to NAACP president Reginald Singletary, the initiative is designed to address the low voter turn out among 18 to 25 year olds.
“The initiative through NAACP to push African-American students and students in general to vote has always just been something that we’ve focused on,” said Edgewater, N.J., junior Eriq Hardiman, Baylor NAACP membership chair.
Baylor’s chapter was tasked with hosting a voter registration drive along with NAACP chapters from other universities including University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington and University of Houston.
Due to the serious nature of voting, the NAACP put their own twist on the event by turning the voter registration event into a block party. There will be enough food to feed 500 people, music, games, prizes, activities and performances.
“The reason we’re doing a block party is because we want to combine this serious issue of the youth being left out in terms of deciding our future politically and combining that with a fun time,” Singletary said.
There will also be a thrift shop experience where students will be able to buy clothes that have been donated by their peers for lower prices.
“We live in Waco; there’s a lot of thrift shop areas,” Hardiman said. “Why leave campus?”
The National NAACP Youth and College Director Stephen Green will be the keynote speaker for the event. Green’s speech will address the significance of being registered to vote and the upcoming Nov. 8 election.
The NAACP has partnered with Baylor Ambassadors, Student Government, the National Panhellenic Council, Baylor Democrats and the Association of Black Students for the event. They have also received support from Multicultural Affairs, as well as Campus Living and Learning.
“At this event, they would have fun, but they would also leave with a charge and be inspired to perform their civil duty and their right to vote in this election,” said Dallas junior Annette Christie, Baylor NAACP secretary.
This will not be the last election-related event the NAACP will host, according to Singletary. The NAACP’s strong encouragement for people to vote is not simply about picking the next president; it is about getting young people to continuously engage in politics.
“Not only should you just vote, you’ve got to hold people accountable to the things you’re voting for,” Singletary said. “If you don’t hold them accountable, then your vote can be useless.”
Above all else, Singletary hopes that the event will inspire students to actually exercise their right to vote once they have registered.
“If you create a culture of people voting now, that means you create a culture of the youth not being left out in the future,” Singletary said.