JEFFERSON CITY - The NAACP and Building Community Bridges co-hosted an event on Saturday to encourage community participation in the voting process.
“We're here today working as a part of a national coalition,” Nimrod Chapel Jr., President of Missouri State conference of the NAACPsaid. “We're talking about the passage of HR one, which is the ‘For the People Act, and HR four the John Lewis Act.”
The event included a barbecue and free buttons with the face of the late John Lewis. One of the cornerstones of the event was to honor his life and legacy.
“We are out here to really celebrate John Lewis, his advocacy and his life,” Julie Allen, the founder and organizer for JC Vote, said. “We also want to really support voting rights and the freedom to vote.”
Chapel Jr. says that the event was to help get people involved with progress.
“What we have in front of us as Missourians, as Americans, is an opportunity to ensure that we engage fully with our system,” he said.
Alicia Edwards, the executive director of Building Community Bridges, said the organization partnered with JC Vote because they want to see more community involvement at the polls.
“We want to educate people about why voting is so important,” she said. “We want to help people learn about local elections because your local elections affect if you have Medicaid, it affects if you have housing.”
By being able to connect with the community, Edwards said she wants to make sure people's votes help bring the change they want to see.
“That's why we thought it was important to have them here, as well as at all of our events,” she said. “To educate people on why it's so important to vote and to know what's going on with legislation right now.”
Chapel Jr. said he thinks events geared toward giving people a voice are essential with the current state of the government.
“I was in the Capitol recently, and they told me that it is not the people that decide what it is that gets done in that building,” he said. “They told me that the people sent them, and now it's their judgment that gets substituted for the voice of the people. That's wrong.”
For Edwards, she wants to make sure that people see this event as a call to action.
“I would like everyone to know that it doesn't hurt you to give back,” she said. “It doesn't hurt you to do good for others, because it really does take a village.”