Flushing black women’s group seeks to increase voting among youth

By Madina Toure

The Flushing chapter of the National Congress of Black Women is looking to recruit area high school students to educate people on how to vote.

In June, three chapter members—Maxine Gallmon, Mireilli Leroy and Farida Daughtry—went to Flushing HS, Jamaica HS and Townsend Harris HS where they handed out voter registration forms from the main voter regristration office in Manhattan and gave students an opportunity to volunteer. Their target is juniors and seniors but they are also looking for students who are interested in politics, political science or advocacy work.

Daughtry, the chapter’s northeast Queens representative, said they plan to return to the three schools in October and recruit any students who expressed interest in volunteering to go around the district and inform people about the voting process.

She noted that District 25 has a large immigrant population and that families end up relying on their children, who learn English more quickly.

“What we’re trying to do is encourage the upper level children to talk to their parents about the importance of voting,” Daughtry said.

The three schools were chosen because they were convenient for the members as far as their connection to the school or location. Also, by starting small, they can see how the initiative rolls out before expanding the program.

“We emphasized we were not about any particular party or interest instead giving these young people who are now entering the world of self-reliance, that they have the opportunity to register to vote,” Pauline Murray, the chapter’s president and eastern Queens representative, said. “My understanding is that the schools were very receptive to that request.”

When they go back to the schools in October, they will have voter registration forms available in English, Korean, Chinese and Mandarin.

Te organization, which currently has 12 members, has other projects in the works,some of which have already been implemented.

A proposal for a recycling business that would employ formerly incarcerated individuals is still in the pre-planning stages, Murray said.

The chapter is continuing to run a food cooperative program with Long Life Unity Food Buyers Collective in Brooklyn.

The organization also continues to support the Macedonia A.M.E. Church’s Healing Hearts Ministry, a support group for incarcerated individuals or family members of those who have been imprisoned or are still imprisoned.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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