During this past year, many students have become more politically involved in their local communities due to the many tensions created from the election in 2020, and the losses of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Within the Hampton Roads area, there has always been a strong emphasis on political involvement for college students. However, within the past year, it has become even more important. Hampton University provided a shuttle bus on Election Day, Nov. 2, 2021, from 8 am to 6 pm and drove students to their nearby polling station.
Throughout history, students have always been the ones to spark change in this nation. From the work of The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s during the civil rights movement with Dr. Martin Luther King to the 2018 March for Our Lives protest movement which impacted so many in my home community to spark change across the country, students’ political involvement has always been necessary to spark the transformation of America as we know it today. For this nation to continue to progress, students need to continue to use their voices in and outside of the polls to be the change that we want to see in the world.
Due to my home state of Florida being a swing state, I have always understood the importance of being politically involved in my local community. I even made sure to vote absentee while studying abroad. During the past year, I have found it even more crucial for me to get politically involved. I have done so by working with organizations such as Virginia Black Leadership Organizing Collaborative (VA-BLOC) and Color of Change as a digital organizer getting people to sign petitions, register to vote, and helping them complete their census. During my time working for VA-BLOC, I learned a lot about the various issues that the local community faces and how doing something as simple as contacting your local delegate’s office can bring about positive change.
As leaders of the future, we owe it to ourselves and our communities to remain politically aware and active, regardless of how young we are.
Lydia Makondo is a Senior Strategic Communications Major Liberal Studies Minor attending Hampton University. She loves storytelling and sharing the stories of others through various platforms. She has a brand called The HBCU Experience where she shares the culture, history, and legacy of HBCUs on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. As a graduate she plans to continue her studies in business and communications and will begin working in those fields while pursuing her PhD in education. Check out these and her other initiatives on Linkedin and Instagram.