BGLOs Host Joint Voter Engagement Forum

DUO Member Saunjah Powell-Pointer takes notes from the Job Access breakout group. (To view photo album - click on the image)

Seattle, WA. This November, voters across King County will influence who will be elected to a number of critical positions dealing with important issues. On Saturday, October 7, 2017, the local chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. hosted a joint community forum, called “Your Vote, Your Voice,” with the goal of helping African American voters in King County get informed on key issues and find avenues to amplify their ability to influence political change.

Saunjah S. Powell-Pointer, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and one of the organizers of the forum emphasized, “Community Forums like these create space for authentic dialogue, learning and the development of small, yet tangible, action items to empower regular citizens in their daily lives. At a time when it is easy to feel hopeless and disenchanted, these forums can awaken us to sow seeds for change in our local communities.”

The second annual, “Your Vote, Your Voice” forum, which was first launched last year by the Seattle Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., featured representatives from local campaigns and initiatives, and a keynote from Bailey Stober, Chair of the King County Democrats.

Strober remarked, “I think these forums provide a venue for both the community to learn but also for elected officials and community leaders to learn from each other. They give us a two-way dialogue.”

During the forum, guests, representatives, and candidates also participated in breakout discussions on homelessness, police reform, job access, affordable housing, mental health/health care access, and environmental sustainability, which was facilitated by experts with the goal of building action items to better impact community and influence community leaders.

“Being civically engaged and community focused is something we can’t afford to not do,” said Karissa Braxton, a forum organizer and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. “Other communities make this a priority. You won’t be able to attend every meeting or research every topic being discussed, but what you can do is to be in the know and vote. Voting is incredibly important. Support those working on your behalf. No one is too busy to be intentional about being involved with the different structures and issues that are impacting your daily life.”

Powell-Pointer described three action steps to learn more:

Be Informed: Leverage Smartphone Apps like TurboVote and VoteSpotter to learn about local elections and to stay current on the voting trends of your US and state legislators that impact your daily lives.

Stay Engaged: Sign-up and join local and national groups, emails and newsletters for updates on issues you care about. For a list of advocacy groups, check out http://www.smallwhitefilter.com/alpha.html.

Use Your Voice: Decide on your position on a particular matter and call your representatives to let them know that you want them to represent you on a particular issue. To find your representatives, visit https://ballotpedia.org/Elected_Officials_Lookup

October 30, 2017 is the deadline for in-person new Washington State voter registration.

Voter ballots are mailed between October 7 and October 14. King County ballot drop boxes open on October 19. Or you can mail your ballot with a postmark by election day on November 7, 2017.