A major voter-registration drive kicked off Thursday in Patchogue with the goal of registering 2,500 new voters in working-class, African-American and immigrant communities on Long Island.
Fabian Torres, a movement-building organizer for Strong Youth Inc., is among the young people who will spend the next six weeks beating the pavement in an effort to convince those living in minority communities that registering to vote is a crucial first step in getting change to happen on issues they care about.
“People are really upset about the issues in the community, so, I try to talk to people and convince them that their voice does matter,” he said. “I try to get them to get registered; I just try to tell them, ‘Yo, man, you’re not alone! If we all come together, our voices will be heard.’ ”
Torres said he tells Long Islanders their vote matters on key issues, including funding for after-school programs and curbing police brutality. Among the key elected positions up for grabs in the November elections is the Nassau County District Attorney and the Suffolk County Executive.
Alejandra Sorto, an organizer with the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, said four young people who represent local immigrant-rights organizations will be devoting the rest of the summer and early fall working to get people to register.
“They want better schools, they want better opportunities, they want to improve the policing,” she said. “That’s why the youth are so important to us. They’re learning how to do voter registration, and then they are going to take that information back to their home organizations and continue the work over there.”
In addition to Strong Youth, young people from Make the Road New York, SEPA Mujer and New York Communities for Change are taking a major role in the get-out-the-vote effort. The mobilization effort was launched from a church that was a focal point in seeking justice for Marcello Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who was killed in a hate-crime incident in 2008.
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