Participants Reflect on the 2019 National Civic Leadership Training Summit
BRUNY ALONSO ORAMA, MIAMI DADE COLLEGE – WOLFSON AMBASSADOR
“Before the 2019 National Civic Leadership Training Summit, I had a band-aid placed over my eyes. I failed to realize the voting struggles other states were and are facing. Throughout the summit, my eyes were opened to the reality of voter suppression; motivating me more and more to fight for the voting rights of those who cannot exercise them. The Summit didn’t merely open my eyes; it also equipped me to fight for the rights of others. I was taught strategies on how to get voters safely from point A to the polls. I learned about the laws being passed all around the nation regarding voting and what I can do to stop those adversely affecting my community. Through hearing, leaders and my peers speak I obtained ideas for events to inform and get my community out to the polls. This event was a powerhouse of knowledge.”
ERIN DECERO, UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON AMBASSADOR
“Hearing the ideas and plans that were working at other Ambassadors’ campuses. I came away with so many ideas and lots of energy, ready to try new things on my campus. […] NCLTS was truly an amazing experience. I feel ready and empowered to head back to my campus and start making a difference!”
TAMIA FOWLKES, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN – MADISON AMBASSADOR
“My experience at the 2019 NCLTS was absolutely incredible. It was so empowering and uplifting to be in a space with young people who were so adamant and determined to make change on their campuses. By equipping students with the tools and networks to truly make an impact on their campuses, The Andrew Goodman Foundation offered all of the Ambassadors the skills and mindset necessary to serve as a change agent on their campuses. I am so grateful for all of the friendships, meaningful conversations, and insights that I had while attending NCLTS, and I am thrilled to utilize each and every one of the lessons I learned this year to contribute to my Vote Everywhere team.”
WENDI HAUGH, ST. LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS CHAMPION
“[The NCLTS] was both inspirational and informative. It was great to hear from so many different speakers talking about history, about current issues, and about the nuts and bolts of running campaigns to register and mobilize voters. It was fantastic to meet people doing this work on campuses all over the country. I feel much more strongly connected to the Foundation and to the mission as a result of attending the Summit.”
EOWYN (WYN) GARFINKLE PLYMESSER, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE AMBASSADOR
“NCLTS was the true embodiment of democracy. I could look around myself and find Ambassadors of every political party, every race or ethnicity, every religion, and every sexual orientation. NCLTS is a place to learn from and work with those who may not be exactly like you, which is what helps build a thriving democracy.”
DUANE D. OAKES, MESA COMMUNITY COLLEGE CAMPUS CHAMPION
“I have worked in higher education arena for close to 30 years and the National Civic Leadership Training Summit was one of the best conferences I have been able to attend and take my students to. I left feeling motivated and inspired. We all gained knowledge that will help us return to our campus and community to help make a difference. We need to educate, empower and engaged our students and our communities in this work. I am really grateful for the opportunity to be part of Andrew Goodman’s legacy!“
MATTHEW TOLBERT, TUFTS UNIVERSITY AMBASSADOR
“I enjoyed learning from other students across the country about what they are doing to advance civic engagement in their own campuses and communities. These campuses include private universities like Tufts, but also large state schools, HBCUs, and community colleges. Each of these places faces unique challenges to voting access and advancing civic engagement. Schools like Miami Dade College, Louisiana State University, and others continue to set the bar for effective activism, and I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with them over the past two NCLTS conferences.
I am excited to bring the passion from this conference to Tufts this year and to support Lidya, our new Team Leader. From continuing and expanding our work during orientation, to building on our relationships with the cities of Medford and Somerville, to extending our collaboration efforts with affinity groups on campus, I believe that NCLTS has prepared us for the road ahead. Now it’s time to get to work.
This academic year will be critical in the lead up to the 2020 General Election. Our work this semester will build on our work from this past spring in emphasizing that activism and civic engagement do not end at the ballot box. In the next few weeks, we will have our NSLVE report from the 2018 Midterms. This report, while incomplete due to Tufts’ only releasing limited data to the National Student Clearinghouse, will help inform us of the degree of voter participation in the last midterms and guide us in setting goals for the 2020 General. A more detailed report, including voting rates by race/ethnicity and major, would allow us to focus our outreach more effectively. For now, our targeted outreach is based on national trends and our personal knowledge of the Tufts community.
The legacy of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner informs not only my work with voter registration efforts at Tufts but my entire outlook on what I believe is our role in society. Listening to Andrew’s brother, David Goodman, and Dr. King’s personal attorney and advisor, Clarence Jones, at NCLTS is just one reminder that their legacy is hardly history. The people that murdered, and enabled the murders of Dr. King and these three young men, are either still alive today or recently deceased. Their children are our parents’ age. To honor the legacy of King, Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner is not to reconcile history, but to boldly face the present.”