By JoAnn Fields
San Diego, CA: California State Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber of the 79th District recently held an assembly elections and redistricting committee informational hearing to discuss the current status of voter participation and engagement among traditionally underrepresented groups. The hearing was held at the California State San Diego building located at 1350 Front St. in downtown San Diego.
Shaun Manning, Founder & CEO of the Ground-Up Youth Foundation and Kevin Henderson, Founder & CEO of the Leaders of Change brought members of their respective organizations to advocate for youth, communities of color and the re-entry population of San Diego. These efforts of collaboration is part of a new program and movement called PACE: Pro-Active Civic Engagement that originated at the MLK Park & Recreation Center with San Diego activist Pearl Hooper, JoAnn Fields and Shaun Manning of the Ground-Up Youth Foundation.
Brandon McCoy, student-athlete, Ground-Up Youth Foundation states, “I just turned 18 years old and have registered to vote. I would like to advocate for new voter educationinformation to be readily available and be taught in schools. There are so many mailers being sent to my house on both sides of over 2 dozen propositions and initiatives currently on the ballot that it is challenging to know if a proposition is truly yes or no on an issue. Words are sometimes twisted to mean the opposite of what is written. Mailers are biased. I want to read neutral information so I can make the best decision possible when I step into the voting polls.”
Gerard Andrus, student athlete, Ground-Up Youth Foundation shares, “I recently moved into California for school and have recently learned the importance of voting. I believe schools should provide a venue to have a hands on experience what it’s like to “go to the polls and vote”. Host a mock poll on campus to get the first time jitters out so it’s not so intimidating when a voter actually goes into vote or maybe provide a video how to vote by mail.”
Bay Loc, member, Leaders of Change, “I appreciate what the young men in Ground-Up Youth Foundation has brought forward when it comes to new voter education. But I would like to advocate for my network of new voters. I have never voted in my life and I am in my early 40’s. I was also formerly incarcerated. There needs to be voter education for my segment of the community. Most of us have voter rights too but that information is not readily shared and I believe it is by design.”
Kevin Henderson, Leaders of Change states, “I appreciate the opportunity to bring-up our concerns at today’s hearing. Unfortunately 2 minutes to speak after waiting for over 2 hours is not very favorable. I know this is just the beginning of change and we look forward to working with Assemblymember Weber to improve voter participation and education in the near future.”
For more information regarding PACE contact Shaun Manning via phone at (619) 892-0364 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.