Start Lighthouse’s ‘Power of the Vote’ event shares importance of participating in elections

Shelby Williams, director of community outreach and engagement at Start Lighthouse

A nonprofit focused on literacy in the south Bronx recently held a virtual workshop about the importance of free and fair elections, voter suppression and how to protect voting rights.

On Sept. 24, Start Lighthouse hosted “The Power of The Vote,” where Chantel Jackson, a candidate for Assembly District 79, Kenny Burgos , a candidate for Assembly District 85 and and Felicia Singh, a City Council candidate for District 32, discussed these issues.

“With my district leaders, I have been pushing for more young people to be poll workers,” Jackson said. “It allows them to see the process early on. I started being a poll worker when I was 17 which allowed me to truly engage with the process. It’s important to start young individuals early with the necessary training and these jobs.”

The conversation was led by  Start Lighthouse Co-founder Anya Morales and its Director of Community Outreach  Shelby Williams. According to Lighthouse Executive Director and Co-Founder Rina Madhani, about 50 people attended the program from New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

“Our panelists were engaging and passionate about standing up for our voting rights,” Madhani said to the Bronx Times. “It was just really cool to see how far Start Lighthouse reaches.”

Burgos stressed how important voting is not only for presidential elections but also on the local level.

“It begins with electing officials at the local and federal level that look like them, who have struggled like them and who believe in them,” he said. “By putting that belief back into our democracy, we can set a path towards a better future.”

Ted Young, a senior math teacher at The Bronx School of Law, Government and Justice enjoyed the program and said voting in this coming election is crucial. He commended Start Lighthouse for holding the program.

“Events like these are important because they help empower and educate members of the community of all ages by making complex knowledge of systems more accessible,” Young said.

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