Miami Dade Student Receives Award at National Summit
This story was originally published by Patch on June 26, 2019.
On Saturday, June 22 at 7:15 p.m., The Andrew Goodman Foundation recognized Miami Dade College student Rebecca Diaz, alongside 4 other young campus leaders from around the country, for their dedication to ensuring that their fellow college students have access to polling places and voter registration services. The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s mission is to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy by training young leaders, engaging marginalized voters, and challenging restrictive voter suppression laws. The “Hidden Heroes” awards ceremony took place at Montclair State University and featured a video address from Stacey Abrams, 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate and founder of Fair Fight Action, an organization whose mission is to advocate for election reform and engage in voter education and turnout to secure the voting rights of Georgians.
Rebecca Diaz is a graduate of the Honors College at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus. She previously served as Secretary for the college’s Student Government Association. As a Vote Everywhere Ambassador, Rebecca attended a city budget hearing prior to the 2018 Midterm Elections and, alongside a coalition of students, delivered a compelling speech to the County Commission, which successfully advocated for the addition of two early voting sites at Miami Dade College. As a result, nearly 11,000 people were able to take advantage of the early voting sites on Kendall and North’s campuses.
“I wanted to take a moment to congratulate The Andrew Goodman Foundation on all the success you are celebrating this evening in the Hidden Heroes ceremony,” said Stacey Abrams, 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate and founder of Fair Fight Action. “Through the Vote Everywhere program, you have fought back by registering voters, breaking down barriers and advancing social justice issues across 59 college campuses and 24 states including Georgia. But we must keep up the fight together, because our very democracy is at stake. The American people are relying on leaders like you to carry the torch of Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and other civil rights leaders who worked tirelessly and gave their lives to strengthen our democracy. So keep up the great work, and let’s get it done.”
The Hidden Heroes Award honors The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s outstanding Vote Everywhere Ambassadors and Puffin Democracy Fellows for demonstrating a commitment to continuing Andrew Goodman’s legacy of expanding civic engagement and defending democracy in their communities. More than 100 of these civic leaders from around the country were considered for the award. Vote Everywhere Ambassadors are college students from schools around the country who lead voter campus registration drives, Get Out the Vote efforts, and remove the barriers that student voters face. The Puffin Democracy Fellows, the Foundation’s newest leadership program participants, work on innovative and impactful projects to expand voting rights and social justice in their local communities and nationally.
“This year’s Hidden Heroes award ceremony comes at an important time in our country’s history as more states push to restrict voter registration efforts. These extraordinary young leaders, along with all of our Vote Everywhere Ambassadors and Puffin Democracy Fellows, are standing at the front lines of these battles,” says Sylvia Golbin Goodman, the Executive Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “We are in awe of their dedication and fearlessness in the face of these efforts and we couldn’t be more honored to recognize these outstanding young people.”
The awards ceremony took place during the Foundation’s fifth annual National Civic Leadership Training Summit where students from 59 campuses around the country meet to train and prepare Vote Everywhere Ambassadors for the upcoming school year. The event featured workshops and lectures with staff, alumni, and expert speakers. The Summit also commemorated the 55th anniversary of Andrew Goodman’s murder by the KKK in Mississippi while registering African Americans to vote.
For more information on The Andrew Goodman Foundation, visit their website at www.andrewgoodman.org.