By Kaleigh Cortez, Staff Writer-
On Tuesday, Oct. 20, guest speaker Ed Gordon and UTC faculty members hosted the “Impact the Vote” event to discuss the importance of voting in the 2020 election and other current issues.
Gordon, an award-winning broadcaster who has worked at organizations such as NBC News, CBS News, NPR and currently hosts “Impact the Vote” on The Impact Network, joined Communication Department Head Dr. Felicia McGhee, Communication Department Academic Advisor Nicole Brown and McGhee’s father Thomas McGhee to draw attention to issues within the African-American community and to encourage people to vote in the upcoming election.
Gordon began the event by expressing his opinions about the importance of the upcoming 2020 election.
“[Election] night is really going to depend on us and our turnout.” Gordon said. “If Black America comes out in the numbers we came in for Barack Obama … then we will see Donald Trump no longer in office.”
Gordon also described the importance of continuing to participate in American democracy even after the election.
“In order to hold your candidate accountable,” Gordon said, “you must demand them to do what they said they were going to do.”
In the discussion, Gordon also used the example of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who was initially going to be granted immunity after his involvement in the murder of Michael Brown, to further encourage Black citizens to vote.
Citing how police chiefs -who have the power to grant immunity to cops who kill civilians- are often appointed by elected mayors, Gordon called for Black people to vote out of office the people who would legislate against the Black community.
Gordon left the discussion early, but not before making his final statement to attendees that “lives are dependent on this election.” Following Gordon’s departure, Thomas McGhee spoke about his experience during the
1965 march in Montgomery, Alabama where he joined demonstrators who had marched for three days from Selma, Alabama. McGhee recalled thousands of people walking together and singing songs to stay energized, and also remembered the nonviolence training he received when he participated in sit-ins while he attended Alabama State University.
“You keep your mouth closed, and you don’t fight,” McGhee said. “If they hit you, you don’t hit back, and you have to be in a certain mindset to do that.” McGhee attributed today’s voting environment to the efforts made by advocates during his youth.
“More people of color are registered to vote and are voting early,” McGhee said, “and now you have people running for office that look like you.”
To close the event, Dr. McGhee reiterated Gordon’s statements that “we are in a fight for our lives.”
Early voting in Hamilton County is open until Thursday, Oct. 29 and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. For a list of early voting locations in Hamilton County as well as other important information regarding the 2020 election, visit the Hamilton County Election Commission’s website here.