Penn Hillel and student groups kick off campus voter registration

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By Mnali Patel | The Daily Pennsylvanian - 9/24/2014 

At least on Penn’s campus, Democrats and Republicans can work together.

On Tuesday, Penn Hillel, Penn Democrats, College Republicans and other campus organizations came together to kick off National Voter Registration Day — and celebrate democracy in the U.S. with the Penn community.

The event, called “Bridging The Gap: Voter Registration Kickoff,” explored the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on voting and highlighted the importance of voter registration.

 

A brief CBS video recounting Selma’s Bloody Sunday, a civil rights march for racial voting equality that turned violent, started off the event. Following the video was a brief presentation given by host Denzel Cummings, a College senior and co-chair of UMOJA, the umbrella organization for black student groups. Cummings emphasized that voter registration allows students to directly participate in the American democracy.

 

“Bridging The Gap aims to explore the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on voting,” he said. “As American citizens, it is important for Penn students to stay informed and develop the ability to express their concerns in regards to the government.”

Representatives from Penn Democrats and College Republicans also talked about the Pennsylvania gubernatorial election and shared background information on the candidates.

During the event, students had the opportunity to register to vote. Speakers also talked about the initiatives taken by the student organizations in attendance in the broader Philadelphia area.

Last spring, Penn Democrats and members of the Penn NAACP chapter went to high schools in West Philadelphia and registered 50 students to vote. In a continuation of their efforts to get high school students to participate in elections at a young age, the organizations will be returning to West Philadelphia high schools next week.