Chicago, Illinois – September 20, 2008 - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is mobilizing its members in an aggressive Get Out the Vote campaign. Triggered by what its international president Barbara A. McKinzie characterizes as a "historic election," members are fanning out to every community, neighborhood and block to educate, register and provide any service that will ensure a massive showing of voters on Election Day, November 4.
Led by the Sorority's Connection Committee, whose chair is Vanessa Rogers Long, members are forming partnerships, building coalitions and educating communities to be vigilant about schemes aimed at suppressing the vote.
Rogers Long said that the communities are excited and voter registration is at a high peak because they grasp the critical importance of this Election.
The nationwide campaign encompasses the sorority's 10 regions, several of which include states that are highly contested. The South Atlantic Region is comprised of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, which is considered an intense battleground state.
Ella Springs Jones, of Augusta, Ga., and the South Atlantic regional director, said it is crucial for members and their families to vote and bring others to the polls as well.
"Our members are aware of the issues in their communities," Jones said. "Our vote is the best way to make sure our voices are heard."
McKinzie said given the overall state of the nation, it is vital that voters participate at the ballot box.
"We are at a critical juncture in our history with the economy faltering, people losing jobs, lifestyles depreciating and with America losing worldwide stature because of failing policies," said McKinzie.
"Because so much is at stake," added Rogers Long, "this is a make-or-break election that will determine if America proceeds up a progressive path of prosperity, or down a path of doom and gloom."
Rogers Long cautioned that forces are at work to suppress the minority vote and members are educating voters about "purges" taking place in all counties. In this plot, states are removing voters from the rolls without alerting them. Voters aren't aware until they are denied a ballot on Election Day. Then, says Rogers Long, "It's too late."
She added that members are being vigilant about making sure individuals are registered since, after so many missed elections, they are removed and ineligible to vote unless they register again.
She says a surefire way to counter this is to:
•Contact the local county office for the listing of registered voters in the county
•Divide the listing
•Contact each voter
•Encourage them to vote in the election
McKinzie is urging Alpha Kappa Alpha members to intensify their efforts of voter education, voter registration and voter transportation where residents are driven to the polls if they have transportation issues. She added that every excuse must be countered with a solution.
Asserted McKinzie, "If it rains, provide umbrellas. If they need a baby sitter, sit with the children while they vote. If they feel down, lift them up with the message of how important this election is to their lives."
Stressed Rogers Long, "As recent elections demonstrate, every vote counts. Against this historic reality, we must swiftly and aggressively get involved in this process."