Posted on 10/28/2020
On Thursday, September 24th, UNCG hosted a virtual faculty-student panel entitled “Defending Your Right to Vote”. The presenters on this panel were Jessica Agbemavor, a UNCG Democracy Fellow, Mark Elliot and Watson Jennison, both professors of History.
This event was co-hosted by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, the Human Rights Research Network, the Humanities Network and Consortium, the Office of Civic Engagement, the History Department, and the Political Science Department.
The aim of this event was to raise awareness for students of the current and pressing issue of voter suppression and it’s historical precedence. The panel hoped that students in attendance would become proactive in defending their voting rights and those of others, and feel prepared to approach the polls in the following months.
Dr. Mark Elliot, the host, gave the introduction to the topic and introduced the panelists. Dr. Watson Jennison provided the group with a thorough and detailed explanation of the history of voter suppression and how it looks in today’s society. Voter suppression has been occurring for a very long time through both direct and indirect methods; the reason being that every vote matters and counts. Jessica Agbemavor went over the logistics of getting registered to vote, how to vote, and how to make sure students’ rights weren’t threatened at the polls.
Preparing students with the tools to protect their own voting rights and those of others in the political climate preceding the 2020 presidential election is crucial political work. It gives young people the confidence to ensure that their voices are heard and that their votes count, and allows them to be leaders in their communities, families, and even classrooms in ways that WGSS seeks to foster everyday. If students were to take anything home from this event, it should be the power of your voice and the importance of democracy; make sure you go out and vote!