NEW YORK – As New York and the nation face key issues concerning jobs, evictions and access to education, a local voter drive is underway. Its goal is to ensure that communities of color, particularly the voices of younger voters, are heard.
In Suffolk County alone, organizers say there are 40,000 eligible voters of color who are not registered. Joeselo Lucero, outreach coordinator for the Hagedorn Foundation, is convinced that many New Yorkers of color feel left out of the early stages of the economic recovery. He believes greater representation in the voting booth in November is the best way to fix that.
“Economically, you know, how many people are losing their houses? And the banks? They’re not accountable for anything. So, you have the power to change that; if you don’t vote, you don’t change nothing. It (takes) one person to vote and make a change, little by little.”
Organizers (including Make The Road New York) say they hope to register 2,500 voters from communities of color in Suffolk County in time for the November elections.
Field director for Local 1102 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers Union (RWDSU), Alvin Ramnarain says they will be working extra-hard to register younger voters from immigrant and African American communities.
“I think it’s very important to target young people, because they are ‘way under-represented, and things that are important to them are just not being heard or spoken about. Jobs, minimum wage, college tuition – Congress is just not paying a lot of attention to them.”
Ramnarain adds they are hoping the increase in voter registration will be noticed in Albany, where lawmakers are considering measures to increase the minimum wage, as well as a local version of the DREAM Act, legislation that would extend tuition assistance to undocumented students.
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