Foundation, AAMU Host 2020 HBCU Voting Summit
Summit Stresses the Importance of Voting
On September 10 from 6-8 p.m. and September 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Central), The Andrew Goodman Foundation, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to increase student voter participation and access to the ballot box, in partnership with Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and Students Learn Students Vote Coalition, will host the inaugural National HBCU Voting Summit. The event will feature over 40 Historically Black Colleges and Universities nationwide.
This virtual event will honor the legacy of late Congressman John Lewis, civil rights champion and voting rights advocate. The summit will be hosted by Alabama A&M University and will, for the first time, bring together HBCUs from around the country to plan for an election and prepare students to vote in 2020 and in the future.
“Ensuring that young people of color, particularly black students, have full and equal access to the ballot box is crucial, especially in light of the widespread voter suppression efforts taking place across the country,” said Alexandria Harris, Esq., executive director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “As we continue to witness more and more schemes aimed at disenfranchising college students, particularly black students, this summit is focused on informing, preparing, and equipping students with the tools they need to exercise their constitutional right to vote. HBCUs are anchor institutions in the communities they call home, and their influence goes beyond their student bodies. Given the ongoing fight for racial justice and equity, this summit will also serve to educate and advocate at the intersection of the unjust murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the global health crisis that disproportionately impacts Black communities, and the current economic depression.”
AAMU is excited about hosting the inaugural voting summit, according to Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr., president. He will join Summit hosts Monica Clarke, service and learning coordinator for AAMU’s Freshman Academy; Austin Smith, Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Team Leader, AAMU; and Amaya Rearden, Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Ambassador, AAMU.
The Foundation stresses the importance of young people engaging to ensure that their voices are heard through the voting process. America began its great democratic experiment in the late 1700s by granting the right to vote to a narrow subset of society – white male landowners. As barriers to voting began to recede in the ensuing decades, many Southern states erected new ones, such as poll taxes and literary tests, aimed at keeping the vote out of the hands of African American men.
Voting is key, organizers note, because “many sacrifices, including lives, were made to give us this most important privilege and right. The United States has one of the lowest rates of youth voter turnout in the world. The youth vote has the potential to be extremely influential in this country. Therefore, young people, Vote as if your life depends on it because in the end it does.”
The summit is funded by a grant through the Students Learn Students Vote (SLSV) Coalition and underwritten by Facebook. It is an extension of AGF's commitment to supporting students of color and creating infrastructure to support HBCUs and their students. HBCUs who are interested in participating may register at https://andrewgoodman.org/summit/national-hbcu-voting-summit/.
About The Andrew Goodman Foundation
The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s mission is to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy by training the next generation of leaders, engaging young voters, and challenging restrictive voter suppression laws. The Foundation's Vote Everywhere program partners with America's colleges and universities to provide resources, visibility, and mentoring to a national network of student leaders who involve their peers in participatory democracy through long-term voter engagement, public policy, and social justice initiatives. The organization is named after Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old Freedom Summer volunteer, and champion of equality and voting rights who was murdered by the KKK in 1964 while registering African Americans to vote in Mississippi. To learn more about The Andrew Goodman Foundation visit andrewgoodman.org.