Young Voters Called to Arms at NCCU PDF Print E-mail
By Aaron Saunders -- Black College Wire   

Students from across North Carolina  came in droves Tuesday night to N.C. Central University's B.N. Duke auditorium for  Greater Together's National HBCU Student Summit.

Chi Brown/Campus Echo
Gabrielle Union at NCCU
Constituents were given the opportunity to interact with U.S. Representatives David Price and G.K. Butterfield in addition to Obama campaign manger Jim Messina, senior adviser to the president, Valerie Jarrett  and actress Gabrielle Union.

The event was streamed live on and served as a pep rally for young voters to get excited about the November 2012 elections.

"We really wanted to make sure young people had a seat at the table," said Valeisha Butterfield-Jones National Youth Director for Obama for America.

According to a study conducted by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, voter turnout for 18-29 in the 2008 presidential elections ages rose to 51 percent, an increase of two percentage points from the 2004 elections.

Also, in the 2008 presidential elections, 36 percent of youths without college experience voted, compared to the 62 with college experience.

Young African Americans posted the highest turnout rate ever observed for any racial or ethnic groups of young Americans since 1972.

There was also a significant gender gap in voterturnout: young women voted at a rate eight points above young men.

"Now more than ever we need to be more involved," said NCCU SGA president Reggie McCrimmon, adding that "we must continue to come together as HBCU's to be heard."

While urging students to get more involved, North Carolina State field director at Organizing for America said "We won the battle in 2008 but it's not going to be easy to win this battle."

In 2008 President Obama became the first Democrat to win North Carolina in the general election since 1976.

"NCCU and Durham were absolutely critical in getting president Obama elected,"said Represen-tative Price.

Durham's primarily Democratic constituency may be one reason why NCCU was chosen as the kick-off location for the summit.

"NCCU is a great representation of what the best HBCU's have to offer," said Cameron French North Carolina press secretary of Obama for America.

Union, an actor famous for her roles as Eva in "Deliver us from Eva" and as Martin Lawrence's sister in "Bad Boys," has been on the campaign trail since 2008. "My support stems from the fact that the President and I share the same value system," she said.

Union said that, like her, the President worked his way through school and that he knows how hard it is for college students.

As the moderator, Union kept the crowd fired up and boasted that the planners hoped to get 500 people to come to the summit.

In fact, 1,000 people had to squeeze into B.N. Duke Auditorium. Those who couldn't get into the auditorium could watch a video stream of the event in the Farrison-Newton Communication Building.

Aaron Saunders is editor-in-chief of the Campus Echo, the North Carolina Central University student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Posted Feb. 27, 2012
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