Minorities' interest in politics encouraging
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 7, 2008
By Sarah Nagem
To Billy Bradley, a 23-year-old Livingstone College graduate, an increased interest in politics among minorities is somewhat of a dream come true.
As a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Bradley said his fraternity takes pride in encouraging people to vote. They regularly host voter-registration drives.
It’s something that Martin Luther King Jr., a fellow Alpha Phi Alpha member, would have been proud of, Bradley said after he cast his ballot at Miller Recreation Center. “He’d just say it was part of his dream, and this is only the beginning,” Bradley said.
The West Ward III voting site at the recreation center on Bank Street is in the mostly black West End community of Salisbury. There, many front yards sport Barack Obama campaign signs.
And some voters there weren’t shy Tuesday afternoon about divulging who they voted for.
“Barack Obama all the way,” said Jametra McIver, a 19-year-old Livingstone College junior.
This was McIver’s first voting experience. “I want to vote and make a difference,” she said.
While this presidential race has obviously brought black-and-white issues to the table, it’s also about age, McIver said.
She thinks more young people are excited about the election.
“This is our election now,” McIver said.
By 2 p.m., about 200 people had voted at the site, said Rosalind Mitchell, the chief poll judge. Many of them were young, she said.
But it only makes sense, since this is a historic election, Mitchell said. Whether Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Obama wins the Democratic nomination, history will be made.
“It’s a very good turnout,” Mitchell said.
Reggie Wilson, 40, said former President Bill Clinton might have been considered the first black president, but this race is still exciting.
“It’s going to make history,” said Wilson, who voted for Obama.
Some of the issues important to voters, they said, are better jobs, gasoline prices and education.
As an education major at Livingstone, McIver said she wants the government to put more money into college scholarships and less money into fighting wars.
Education is important to Tammy Payne, too. Payne, who also voted for Obama, is already encouraging her 12-year-old son, Antwuan, to vote when he’s old enough.
“I try to talk to him, tell him to vote,” Payne said.
Choices voters make today might influence her son’s future, Payne said.
But the main reason Obama got her vote, Payne said, was the promise of new beginnings.
“I think it’ll be a change,” she said. “We need a change.”
Contact Sarah Nagem at 704-797-7683 or firstname.lastname@example.org.