MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The 44th Annual Pan African Student Leadership Conference at Minnesota State University, Mankato is making voting rights its main topic this year.
Organizers said the ballot is a big part of empowering the African American community to get involved in government and politics at all levels.
With the election year in full swing, the Pan African Student Leadership Conference is stressing voter education and political knowledge.
“In addition to that, we’re trying to inspire them to think about running for an elected position, or lobbying and talking with their elected officers about ways they could better support their communities, ways that they can better support them as students and just thinking about what does it mean to be a part of the election process,” explained Kenneth Reid, director of African American and Multicultural Affairs at MSU.
An MSU student and office assistant with African American and Multicultural Affairs said the time for voter education is now.
“It’s especially important in the day and time that we’re in, there’s a lot at stake for our people and I feel like it’s very important that they get out there and they utilize their voice and make sure that we are all heard,” stated Ezechiel Agbemadon, a student and office assistant with African American and Multicultural Affairs.
“We have the ACLU talking to students about serving as judges and lobbying with their politicians, the thing is, we don’t want students to walk around and think their voice is silent,” said Reid.
The conference coincides with the Black History Month theme of the right to vote.
“Because if you don’t have the right to vote, you basically are invisible and that is something we as a people have struggled with for the past 200 to 300 years and I feel like it’s time for us to finally take a stand and make a change happen,” said Agbemadon.