The South Boston community came together Saturday evening at Edmunds Park for a time of fun and fellowship with a serious common goal: making sure everyone is registered to vote in the November election.
While “Halifax Has Talent” attendees listened to upbeat music played by disc jockey Key Ferrell, ate hot dogs and Sno Cones, and played corn hole, event organizers — members of the Citizens Registering Citizens group — took the stage and urged everyone to register to vote.
“The people who you vote into office are the people who can bring about the change that you want to see. Your vote is your voice, be sure to use it,” said Nevaeh Hodges, a member of the Citizens Registering Citizens Group as well as the Stomp and Shake cheer team who performed at Saturday’s event.
A voter registration table was set up with members of Citizens Registering Citizens available to help first-time voters with the process of registering to vote. Group members said one of their goals is to get young people just becoming eligible to vote this year registered for the November election.
“The young people have got to step up to the plate and get information from people who are out here fighting for us to vote,” said Reena Dixon, a member of Citizens Registering Citizens. She added the decisions elected officials make in the immediate future would have a “great impact” on the lives of young people.
Mikhail Stephens, a motivational speaker from Greensboro, North Carolina with family ties to Halifax County, encouraged the young people at Saturday’s event to make sure their voice is heard by voting in the November election.
“Voting is important. It is not only a right and a responsibility, but it is God’s will for us to vote,” Stephens told the crowd.
He continued, “People died for you to vote, so I think that alone should give you motivation to get out and vote. People paved the way for you to utilize your voice to bring about change…Voting is your voice. Your voice is important to produce change for the next generation.”
Stephens added voting is particularly important this year because it is an unprecedented time in history.
“Not only are we in the midst of a global pandemic, we are in the midst of a whole social injustice situation due to oppression, and then on top of that we are in the middle of a presidential election,” Stephens said. “All three of those things have never happened at the same time in history before, so I think right now it’s important for us to come together in unity.”
After Stephens’ speech, Citizens Registering Citizens leader Mattie Cowan once again encouraged everyone to vote in the presidential election.
“We have the opportunity to vote somebody into the White House who will represent everybody,” Cowan said.
The Citizens Registering Citizens group has been setting up voter registration tables at various locations around the county on Saturdays for the past three months to ensure that everyone is registered to vote prior to the November election. Group member Barbara Coleman-Brown, who is also president of the Halifax County branch of the NAACP, said the group’s goal is to ensure that men and women of all races and age are registered to vote in the November election. She added the group has placed a special emphasis on getting young people and women registered to vote, and restoring voting rights to felons.
“This year is the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. Women are going to have a big sway in this election, and we want them to have a voice,” Coleman-Brown explained. She added she believes teaching young people about the role of voting in the democratic process is important.
“If the young people don’t understand that voting is the cornerstone of democracy, they could lose that right (to vote),” Coleman-Brown explained.