by Mandla Deskins, Program Associates--Voting Rights
2013 has been a rough year for youth. Our peers are being gunned down, their killers allowed to walk free, our employment prospects in high school and just out of college are bleak, and some of our families are still slogging through a slow recovery from the 2008 recession.
But one issue, one that could dictate the role we play in our governance, in the key issues of our day, and in our future, has been largely overlooked.
That issue is our right to vote. The right of young people, especially young people of color and those in the lower and middle income brackets, has been under attack this year— with more than 80 voter suppression bills introduced, several in the last few weeks, and Section 4 of the VRA overturned.
Apply for NAACP Youth and College Campus Voting Rights Advocacy Grant! We are aware that budgets are tight and advocacy can cost, so we will be offering $250 mini-grants to help 12 creative, organized and ambitious NAACP College chapters across the nation organize and act.
To apply, or get more information, download the request for proposal form today. Please remember that decisions will be made on a variety of factors— including, creativeness, intercampus partnerships, and strength of proposal— so make it good!
We are at a crossroads.
As the most vicious attempt to silence us since the 1960s is ongoing, the fight to protect the vote has to be carried with the same fervor civil rights activists once possessed.
Unfortunately, too many of us think of voting rights as this issue of the past. As a part of history that we should remember and a legacy that we live on, but not something that we need to worry about in our present day.
2013 is our 1963, and it is time that we take our voices back, so we can speak on the issues that are hurting our generations the most.
We must remember that Florida’s elected officials passed stand your ground legislation, that elected officials fought against gun control, and that elected officials allowed our colleges to be defunded.
Without the ability to elect officials that can speak on our behalf, we have no voice in the problems or solutions plaguing us the most.
Here is the challenge: For the next two months, headed into2014, take the message of My Right, My Vote to your peers, to you community, to your college, and make sure that you fight for your right to be a part of the American democracy together.
To apply for the NAACP Youth and College Campus Action Grant, please click here.