On Oct. 19, the 18 social work students from Niagara University’s Class of 2024 participated in a voter registration drive in the City of Niagara Falls. The drive was organized by Josh Barnes and Alyssa Bovolotto, both interns in the university’s Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity, & Mission.
Locations including Heart, Love, and Soul, Community Missions Inc., the Niagara Falls Public Library, the Community Health Center of Niagara, and Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative, welcomed the students, who set up tables to talk about voter registration. In total, 33 people registered to vote in the upcoming Nov. 7 local election.
“Voting is a human right,” said Bovolotto and Barnes. “Voting is a fundamental right that United States citizens are entitled to exercise according to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Historically, not all citizens have had the human right to vote. White women advocated to advance this social injustice and gained the right to vote in 1920. African Americans successfully rallied and changed the federal voting law in 1965. These efforts demonstrate that our voices matter, and that voting matters, as it helps impact community change. Though rights have been in place for years, barriers and suppression still exist. Our voter registration reduced barriers as we paid for postage, we assisted community members in finding their poll site, and we met community members in spaces they are at.”