Posted by Guest on September 20, 2017 in Blog
By Sydney Roeder
Voting rights “has moved from a movement for equity to a movement for existence.” Rev. Yearwood with the Hip Hop Caucus stressed in a panel at the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund Democracy (LCVEF) convening on Wednesday. The two-day training sought to cast light upon voter engagement in underrepresented communities. This parallels AAI’s current efforts in the #YallaVote campaign since-- as AAI’s field organizer, Heba Mohammad, stated-- “Yalla Vote is not only about getting people to vote, it’s also about keeping them engaged.”
The panel began with President and CEO Convener of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Melanie Campbell. She touched on the need to address an 11 percent drop in African American women’s belief that their interests are being properly represented by politicians.
Following the underlying theme of coalition efforts, AAI’s Heba Mohammad also emphasized that “[Arab Americans] need to push to make sure that our allied communities know what our issues are.” In many instances, she stressed, “American issues are Arab American issues.” While many in the panel spoke about frustrations with voter participation, Mohammad was able to provide a unique perspective to the conversation, noting that Arab Americans often turnout in high numbers for elections, with 91% planning to vote in the 2016 election.
“There is no right more important than the right to vote,” highlighted Rev. Yearwood on his talk for the need of increased involvement of underrepresented Americans in the electoral process. He also stated that this voter movement must begin “to work in love.”
At the end of the panel, there was a hum of excitement amongst the attendees about ways they could take what they learned about voter engagement back to their communities. Even panel moderator, Dee Dawkins Haigler, ended the conversation by exclaiming “Yalla Vote!”
For more information on how you can get involved with voter registration, check out AAI’s Toolkit.
Sydney Roeder is a 2017 fall intern at the Arab American Institute.