In the last few weeks, protests that began after the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers have spread to practically every major city in the United States. Black Lives Matter has become a rallying cry followed closely by “no justice, no peace.” Protests that are successful are more about winning the hearts and minds of the people than politicians. When the people want change, then there is the political will to change.
Protesters in Hong Kong to Chinese rule have lead a very successful DIY campaign that US protesters can learn from. A key component of Hong Kong’s success has been leveraging the internet and social media. Modern society is celebrity obsessed and the movement has had celebrity supporters testifying in high profile settings including on social media platforms.The Hong Kong movement has had a decentralized organization with self-chosen diplomats representing it in interviews. They have even called on foreign governments to discourage them from sending more crowd control equipment to the area.With racial protests pitting extremely well equipped police forces against unarmed protesters and journalists with tragic results.In Hong Kong, Twitter has become a major tool for organizing protests and for keeping their message front and center. The Hong Kong movement has catchy slogans, even an anthem and flag which help magnify the message on social media. Further, Hong Kong protesters have run successful crowdfunding campaigns that have been used to pay for advertisements to keep the issue in the spotlight. Viral videos are easily shared and keep protesters motivated and further spread the message. The eyes of the world are now on racial injustice in US. These are techniques that be used to keep them there.
October 5, 2020 is an important day. It is the last day to register to vote in order to be able to vote in the Presidential election in Florida. We are all used to seeing voter registration drives friendly people with clip boards covered with forms gracing shopping malls and the front of grocery stores. Times have changed, in more ways than one. With the pandemic still lingering, ensuring that you are ready to vote is just as important as minimizing your exposure to the novel coronavirus. Luckily, there are many routes to do so with people holding virtual registration drives such as a Vote.com. To register directly with in Florida, apply online at RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov. The site allows for first time applications as well as updates to existing registrations. More and more elections are shifting to a mailed in vote. Now more than ever, it is important to make sure your address is up to date with the Division of Elections.With a few exceptions, any Florida resident that is also a US citizen and at least 18 years old can register to vote.
There are many routes to having your voice heard and voting is one of the most powerful. It may be surprising to you that 2020 marks only 100 years that women have had the right to vote. Florida’s history with African American voters is even more brief with most roadblocks to voting only having been swept away in the 1960's. Florida, however, has the dubious honor nationwide of having one of the worst records for disenfranchising would be voters that have felonies on their records. Amendment 4 was overwhelmingly approved by Florida voters, restoring voting rights to over a million people that have served their time for felony convictions. A federal court just ruled against the Florida Legislature that had stated court fees had to be cleared up first stating it amounted to an illegal poll tax. With so many efforts to minimize access to voting, the message is clear that voting is a powerful act.
For further information, check out the Florida Division of Elections page: https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/voter-registration/register-to-vote-or-update-your-information/
Attiyya Atkins is a former municipal reporter for the Sun Sentinel. Her journey has taken her from Queens, New York to the sunny shores of Fort Lauderdale, Fl. She enjoys spending time with her family, attending community events, and playing with her children. She's a proud Gator and has freelanced for several publications, including the Huffington Post. She enjoys motivating people, starting activist campaigns, and helping her community.