Vice Presidential Visit Spotlights Student Civic Engagement
FAIRFAX, VA — Vice President Kamala Harris visited George Mason University’s Fairfax campus on Tuesday, September 28th to commemorate National Voter Registration Day and encourage students to vote:
“Democracy is at its strongest when everyone participates.”
“Elections matter. Your organizing ability and your power really matters.”
Harris began her visit by sitting in on Dr. Samuel Frye’s “Community, Culture, and Change” course (SOCI 395), where she discussed the need to protect voting rights, the history of voter discrimination in America, and the importance of community empowerment through coalition building. “When you vote, it matters, and you get things done…but we need you to stay active because there are so many big issues at play right now and so many rights that are at risk,” Harris told students. “We all have something at stake in this issue…and it’s not about telling people how to vote, it’s just saying that your vote is an expression of your voice and we should never support anything that stifles somebody’s voice or takes their power.”
Following the indoor class discussion, Harris made a brief appearance at a National Voter Registration Day event taking place on Wilkins Plaza. “Are you all registered to vote?” she asked the crowd after emerging from her motorcade, holding up a sign promoting voter registration and receiving loud cheers and applause in response.
During an interaction with student leaders at one of the voter registration tables, Mason Votes’ own Bryan Childers asked the vice president for a quote about the importance of voting on behalf of Fourth Estate, Mason’s student-run newspaper:
“It is critically important that everyone registers to vote as an expression of your power as an individual in the context of the collective, to make things happen or not happen in your life. The issues that are at play include whether we are going to support public education, are we going to respect a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, are we going to have leaders who respect the sanctity of the right to vote and pass the laws that make it easier for people to vote, not more difficult? This is the power of your vote, to determine the outcome of those issues depending on how you vote. But we can’t talk about how you vote unless you register to vote, so let’s start there!”
Are YOU registered to vote?
Virginia’s deadline for registering to vote or verifying/updating an existing registration is Tuesday, October 12, 2021.
Visit elections.virginia.gov/registration to learn more.
Overhead event photo by: Rodger Smith
All other photos by: Bryan Childers