Connect with us

FOREIGN NEWS

9 months after their classmates were shot dead, Parkland survivors face their first Election Day – National

Published

on

[ad_1]

Nine months after 17 classmates and teachers were gunned down at their Florida school, Parkland students are finally facing the moment they’ve been leading up to with marches, school walkouts and voter-registration events throughout the country: their first Election Day.

READ MORE: How the U.S. midterm elections work and why they matter

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student activists set their sights on the 4 million U.S. citizens turning 18 this year. They’re hoping to counteract the voter apathy that’s especially prevalent among the youth during midterm elections. Many of the activists, now household names like David Hogg, postponed college plans to mobilize young voters. Many of them support gun reform, in the name of their fallen classmates.

“It is kind of the culmination of everything we’ve been working for,” said senior Jaclyn Corin, one of the founders of the March For Our Lives group. “This is truly the moment that young people are going to make the difference in this country.”

WATCH: Millennials are largest cohort of U.S. voters for first time







Corin, who voted along with her dad at an early polling site on her 18th birthday, visited a half-dozen cities in just a handful of days last week, getting up at 3 a.m. to board planes.

It has been a whirlwind for the students, with celebrity support from Oprah to Kim Kardashian, a Time magazine cover, late night TV spots and book deals — but all of it misses their main target unless it motivates students to cast ballots by the end of Tuesday.

WATCH: Major issues facing voters ahead of U.S. midterms







At a University of Central Florida event during the final week of election campaigning, Stoneman Douglas graduate and current UCF student Bradley Thornton escorted fellow students to the campus’ early voting site. UCF student Tiffany McKelton said she wouldn’t have voted if the Parkland activists hadn’t shown up on campus.

“I’ve never voted in a primary election. I actually did it because of them,” said McKelton, a psychology major from West Palm Beach.

In the past months they’ve boarded countless buses and planes, passed out T shirts, and hosted BBQs and dance parties on college campuses around the U.S.

READ MORE: U.S. Education Dept. mulls letting states use federal funds to buy guns for schools

Thornton said talking things through often does the trick.

“I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had that were like, ‘Ah, I’m not interested’ … and through just a simple, really nice cordial conversation, they get this magical inspiration to vote,” Thornton said.

Corin said she’s encountered plenty of voter apathy along the way. The students often note that voter turnout in the last midterm elections was the lowest since World War II.

“It’s really about tying it back to gun violence or tying it back to immigration or whatever that person is passionate about,” Corin said. “I’ve used that tactic so many times and it has actually worked.”

WATCH: Obama rallies for Democrats ahead of midterm elections







It remains to be seen what role the youth vote will play in this year’s midterms.

The 30-and-under crowd is more likely to vote in this year’s midterms than in the past. Forty percent say they’ll vote, compared to just 26 percent in 2014, according to a new poll by Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. They’re being pushed, in part, by a strong disapproval of President Donald Trump.

Trends in Florida’s early voting suggest a surge in young voters.

WATCH: Parkland students return for new school year with new security measures in place since Florida shooting







Of the 124,000 people aged 18 to 29 who had voted in person at early polling stations as of Thursday, nearly a third did not vote in the presidential election in 2016, according to analysis by University of Florida political science professor Daniel Smith. About half of those new voters were newly registered.

“There are newly energized voters who sat out in 2016, or have registered since then, who are turning out. There’s no question about that,” Smith said.

In contrast, for people 65 and older who had voted early and in person, about 7 percent didn’t vote in 2016.

READ MORE: Students to stage protest outside HQ of firearms giant Smith & Wesson

Matt Deitsch dropped out of college after the Feb. 14 shooting at Stoneman Douglas to help start March For Our Lives alongside his younger siblings, Parkland survivors Ryan Deitsch and Samantha Deitsch.

He said this year’s election will be a starting point, “not a culmination.”

“It’s where we really get to see what kind of push we really made to the needle,” Deitsch said in between passing out fliers to UCF students. “We’re running a really good race but there’s really so much work to do.”

Corin said the young activists will continue with their mission regardless of the election outcome.

“The fact that we’ve engaged a new generation of voters, that’s a win,” Corin said.



[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Published

on

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

Continue Reading

FOREIGN NEWS

Harris accepts VP nomination

Published

on

Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

Continue Reading

FOREIGN NEWS

Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

Published

on

Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

Continue Reading

Trending