N.C. A&T Hosts “Vote-Coming”

Courtesy+of+Rory+Aldridge

Courtesy of Rory Aldridge

Charlee Major, TheYard Lead Reporter

 

Before the start of homecoming, Aggies took to the polls for “Vote-Coming.” On Friday, N.C. A&T and Bennett College hosted an early voting day party encouraging students to make their voices heard in this upcoming election.

The purpose of Vote-Coming was to emphasize to young voters the importance of local elections, so it was promoted in a way that students would pay attention to: a darty. Early voting started at 11 a.m. and lasted until 2 p.m. Then, everyone made their way over to the N.C. A&T Health Center for an afternoon of music, food, an obstacle course and more. 

Many organizations were at the event, including Common Cause and New North Carolina Project, emphasizing how important it is for young, Black people to be voting in local elections.

“In the past, people died for us to have the right to vote,” said Common Cause fellow and N.C. A&T student Jordan Collins. “People have marched, walked and were attacked because they were trying to give us the voice that we have now.”

Common Cause is a nonpartisan group that works to uphold the core values of American democracy. The organization also strives to make sure students’ political action does not just end with voting. 

Collins does not want the organization’s efforts to stop in Greensboro.

“I want to make sure we hold the people that we elect accountable,” Collins said. “I want all N.C. A&T students to have a list of things that are affecting them, so maybe we can have an event in Raleigh or even Washington, D.C.”

Even though some Aggies and Belles were in attendance for the voting part of Vote-Coming, more students showed up to the party afterwards, many not knowing what the function was even for.

“I held a march last year and we had the same kind of turnout,” Collins said. “A lot of people came to the voting site, but didn’t actually vote. We want the stuff that comes afterwards to be a reward for holding up your rights. It shouldn’t have to be, but that’s what we’re working on.”

Voter turnout is not as high with young, Brown and Black people when it comes to elections that affect what is happening directly in our communities. Representatives from the New North Carolina Project, modeled after the New Georgia Project, were also in attendance at Vote-Coming working to change the narrative.

“Over a million African Americans in North Carolina were registered to vote, but didn’t,” said Amber Rivero, regional organizer for the New North Carolina Project. “A lot of young people only think federal elections affect us. If there’s no access to public transportation, no funding for sidewalks, or sanitation doesn’t pick up things in your neighborhood, it’s because local politics makes those decisions.”

The main goal of the New North Carolina Project is more voter engagement and Black voter turnout during election season, but to also stay engaged in the community post-elections.

“A lot of Black people have had white organizations come to them telling them who to vote for, but why do we only see them during election season,” Rivero asked. “What about those three years in between when they’re suffering?” 

To register to vote in North Carolina, visit The New North Carolina Project’s website.