The Apollo Theater gets out the vote
The Apollo theater played host to some of the most prominent African-American intellectuals monday night, as they emphasized the importance of voting and criticized recent legislation that may disenfranchise minorities.
The panel, named Vote Like Your Life Depends on It, included such luminaries as Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson, NYC Urban League director Diana Coleman, and MSNBC commentator Rev. Al Sharpton.
While the focus often drifted to national issues, such as voter ID laws and the presidential election, the panelists repeatedly stressed the primacy of voting in local elections as a way to affect change:
“People think that local elections don’t matter, but we have the most at stake, and we don’t act like it,” panelist Keli Goff, a political analyst and author, said.
Also discussed was the problem, especially among blacks, of a reluctance to engage in politics:
[According to Dyson] voters’ interests, from education to local businesses, will not be taken care of unless all residents embrace the political process. “Because of that suspicion of civil engagement, we are taking the hit for our communities,” he said.
The key to solving that suspicion, Dyson said, will be dispelling the spirit of anti-intellectualism that he believes is rampant in the African-American community. He noted that he was often mocked for focusing on his studies as a teenager.
What do you think are the most pressing political issues for Harlem residents? Let us know in the comments!
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