Get Up, Stand Up, Exercise Your Right

I arrived a few minutes after 10 a.m. with the sun beaming on the corner of Nelson Street. It was interesting to meet up with several members of the Atlanta University Center as we awaited Congressman John Lewis’ arrival. My first voting experience included me standing on the front line as I walked two paces away from the congressman.

“V-O-T-E! Vote vote vote!” Atlanta area college students and members of the Democratic Party of Georgia said.

I remembered that as a member of Justice League at my boarding school, we would have extensive preparation for MLK day every year. My senior year, we decided that it was important to show the documentary about the Freedom Rides. It meant a lot for me to be a few blocks away from Atlanta Student Movement Boulevard, talking with a supporter of nonviolence and hearing him affirm that voting is the way to get our voices heard. Congressman Lewis urged for millennial voters to pick up where he and other civil rights leaders left off.

Keith Ellison, a Morehouse graduate highlights the significance of this beautiful day in the City of Atlanta. It is the first day of early voting in the state of Georgia with 140,000 newly registered voters and 740,000 registered voters in Fulton County, which means that approximately 93% of eligible individuals have registered to vote in this election. I am happy to be in a county where politicians, particularly, members of the Democratic Party are making strides to ensure that voting is accessible to everyone. This country has come a long way, but there is a long way to go before the political system works to better the lives of all Americans.

Also on this day, Oct.17, 24 voting precincts have opened. Fulton County is Hilary country. Ironically, the march showed that young voters in Fulton County were fired up and ready to go because we are with her.

I talked to several Hilary supporters. I was happy to interview an energetic boy wearing a pink shirt and carrying a sign that read: Early Voting, October 17th.That stood out to me because family is an important agent of political socialization. His mom made it her responsibility to ensure that her son understands how necessary it is to participate in the political process to effect change. His name is Matthew Emmanuel Steps, 9-year-old student at Sherry Adams Preparatory School. He may not be able to vote but he has learned who the better candidate is and offered his support.

“It’s an amazing experience to be here with you guys” Steps said. “Voting is important.”

After talking to Steps he then proceeded to start a chant: “I believe that we will vote.”

The symbolism of John Lewis marching to the courthouse was significant. He endured hard times as a Freedom Rider and never gave up. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing the congressman, a representative of Georgia’s 5th congressional district.

“This election is about our future,” Lewis said. “We have someone who wants to take us back. Donald trump is not ready for prime time.”

“It is important for millennials to stand up because Donald Trump and his campaign are not representative of what this country stands for,” Jake Orvis, a 20-year-old Georgia Tech student and President of College Democrats of Georgia said.

As a first time millennial voter, it has become clear that Democratic presidential nominee Hilary Clinton is best prepared to be president at this time. I was honored to march side by side on the front line to the Fulton Country Courthouse. It is time for us to make history again.

Jonell Brown is a senior political science major from East Orange, New Jersey. She recently finished her internship with Reuters Brazil. Jonell currenlty attends Spelman College.