One of the North Carolina voter registration forms available for new voters to fill out at the block party. Photo by Kaylee Sciacca/Echo Co-Editor-in-Chief.

Block party encourages students to vote in municipal primary

August 30, 2017

Multiple student organizations joined forces Wednesday afternoon to get N.C. Central University students ready to vote in Durham’s October primary by hosting a block party and voter registration drive in front of the Alfonso Elder Student Union.

The event, sponsored by NCCU’s chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., the Association of Students for a Better Africa (ASFABA), Democracy North Carolina and the HBCU Student Action Alliance, also had Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for attendees. There were two flavors to choose from: EmpowerMINT (peppermint ice cream with fudge swirls and brownie pieces) and Berry Berry Extraordinary (swirls of blueberry and raspberry sorbet). Ngozi, a Durham-based design collective, also had a table with products for students to purchase.

This upcoming election is significant as Durham will be electing its first new mayor in 16 years and NCCU’s own district representative seat, held by alum G.K. Butterfield since 2004, is up for grabs.

“It’s really important for students to realize that those on this campus who vote can swing this election in any direction,” Alyssa Canty, the campus outreach coordinator of Common Cause NC, said. “It’s critical that students are registered and ready to go to the polls.”

Junior political science and history double-major Ajamu Dillahunt, who is also a member of Black Youth Project 100, Phi Beta Sigma and off-campus organizations like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Legacy Project, said that it was crucial that voter advocacy groups use “any way, strategy or technique possible” to get students to vote.

“North Carolina Central students have a particular amount of power and historically have always exercised that power, from holding different institutions and outside sources accountable to challenging America’s racism,” Dillahunt said. “This (voter outreach) is an important tactic to build a long-term future for our broader black community.”

Story by Kaylee Sciacca with contributions by Aaliyah Bowden.

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