April 3, 2012 | By wonkum |
IMPACT is transitioning to a quarterly newsletter through which we hope to provide you with thoughtful pieces about topics that are relevant to the lives of young professionals. This quarter’s newsletter focuses on the intersection of politics and policymaking. Ifoemasinachi “Ify” Ike, the April 2011 IMPACT leader of the month, is a Capitol Hill professional staff member who has dedicated her career to advocating as a voice for the voiceless. Most recently, she led efforts to produce a Washington, DC rally in honor of Trayvon Martin as well as the Congressional panel discussion that followed. Her path to the halls of Congress provides a blueprint for other young professionals seeking to leverage policy and politics in order to be the change they wish to see in the world.
Mavis Baah provides an overview of what African American voters can expect from the Republican Presidential candidates. Activist and scholar Kevin Powell discusses the importance of voter protection in the upcoming election cycle. Shanel Adams and Lara Cole also write about voter disenfranchisement and the need for young professionals to be educated about and engaged in the upcoming election. Audrey Nicoleau provides tips for all individuals seeking to become more informed about civic participation. Finally, Danielle Moodie-Mills addresses the question of race head on by addressing the ways in which race has impacted recent national conversations. No matter what your political affiliation, we hope that after reading this newsletter you decide to become more civically engaged.
IMPACT LEADER: A “Peek” Into Ifeomasinachi Ike
Ifeomasinachi Ike (better known as “Ify” which means “Every good and perfect gift comes from above.” James 1:17) is an artist, athlete, advocate, and attorney. On a full academic scholarship, Ms. Ike left her hometown of Trenton, NJ to attend West Virginia University, obtaining her B.A. in Communication Studies, Minor in Art History, and her M.A. in Communication Theory & Research. After working at the State University of New York at Old Westbury for a year, Ms. Ike matriculated at The City University of New York School of Law. During her tenure at CUNY School of Law, Ms. Ike became the first AfricanAmerican Student Government President, and CUNY BLSA’s first Fundraising Chair. During her third year in law school, Ms. Ike was appointed to the National Black Law Students Association board as the Corporate Relations Director. Her efforts resulted in new corporate sponsors, stronger mentor alliances, and over $500,000 towards NBLSA’s programmatic efforts. At NBLSA’s 40th Anniversary Gala, Ms. Ike was awarded the “Board Member of the Year” Award.
Read More: http://www.impact-dc.com/ifyike
Where They Stand: The Republican Candidates
By: Mavis Baah
Let’s face it: we’re used to President Barack Obama. We’ve grown accustomed to his leadership style (even if we don’t always agree with it), and we know how he approaches critical issues. To make an informed vote in the 2012 presidential election, we have to be just as familiar with the Republican candidates. Here’s how Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul plan to address important matters for people of color:
Voter ID: the American anti-democracy movement’s weapon of choice
By: Kevin Powell*
Anti-democracy forces in the U.S. are relentless.
Each time our nation takes a step forward, sure enough, a collective of well-financed anti-democracy naysayers comes along to shoot holes in the social and political progress of this country. Never mind that voting is a fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. constitution. Never mind that people have been killed, through decades and centuries, so that ordinary working Americans, including blacks and other people of color, women, and 18 year-olds could have this basic human and civil right. Never mind that the 15th amendment to the constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were added as extra layers of protection to insure democracy for all.
Election 2012, Voters Disenfranchised
by Shanel Adams
First appearances of voter disenfranchisement occurred during the Reconstruction Era. Blacks were lawfully allowed to vote, but discrimination led to acts that prevented their success in doing so. These actions ranged from black prospective voters having to correctly guess how many jelly beans were in a jar, to unreasonable literacy tests. In 2012, many fear this same process of preventing minority voters has returned.
Currently one of the most prominent forms of voter disenfranchisement is the implementation of voter ID laws. 30 states have enacted voter ID laws that will be effective during the upcoming presidential election. These laws require voters to show some form of identification in order to vote. Though this may seem like a simple request, the law will discourage potential voters because of the restriction. Some states are strictly requiring specific forms photo identification to vote.
Access to the Ballot Box: Voter Suppression Laws
By: Lara Cole
Overnight a rolling tide of disenfranchising legislation has moved across the country that will further exacerbate existing problems within our electoral system. This is a war on voting used to present barriers and constraints that voters must overcome in order to prove they are worthy of casting a ballot. In 2012 we should be creating access to the ballot box and not building more barriers.
Impact Democracy: Engage and Educate Yourself
By: Audrey D. Nicoleau
The art of politics in a society striving to reach its teleological end as a democracy involves a delicate dance between the citizenry and its leaders. Both must negotiate consensus on the appropriate policies and procedures needed to form a peaceful and orderly society. Ideally, everyone within a democratic society, whether it be on the local or national level—should be equipped with the educational resources and analytical tools to find solutions to identified challenges.
Our Collective Truth: Race Matters*
By: Danielle Moodie-Mills
Over the past month, conversations about race have found their way through tragedy back into our living rooms and Facebook pages. From a very young age in this country you are taught not to see color or mention it for that matter—and that silence has proven deadly.
Flash Mobs Into Flash Lights: The Need for Diversity on Capitol Hill
By: Brandon Andrews
In a place where the boss’ job is predicated upon the ability to represent the multifaceted interests, experiences, and needs of their constituents and vicariously, the nation—diversity suffers.
The National Journal’s quadrennial “Hill People” project affirms that the hallways of Congress have and continue to be exceedingly white; and no I am not referring to the marble floors and archways.