(JACKSON, Miss.) — Jackson State University’s Department of Political Science, the Political Science Club, and the Fannie Lou Hamer Pre-Law Society are hosting a virtual “Get Out and Vote” rally at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. Taking place during National Voter Education Week, the rally is designed to encourage college students and others to “Get Out and Vote”.
The event will feature a panel discussion with Congressman Bennie Thompson, state Senator John Horne, Ashley Shelby, president of the Political Science Club, and Javoris Draine, president of the Fannie Lou Hamer Pre-Law Society.
“Vote as if it is an act of war because your life depends on it. We are up against a system that actively attempts to keep our voices from being heard. So on Nov. 3, make sure you put in your word,” rhymed Draine, a senior political science major at JSU.
“Our generation has given future generations hope because our ancestors fought physical and spiritual battles just so we could give our vote. So never lose hope, just go vote.”
Dr. Lolita Gray, associate professor of political science, will serve as moderator of the panel. JSU Acting President Thomas K. Hudson is scheduled to make opening remarks.
“This event is very important because the upcoming November elections will be some of the most consequential and important elections of our lifetimes,” said Dr. Bessie House-Soremekun, interim chair and professor, Department of Political Science.
We have many significant challenges to address, such as the ongoing impact of COVID-19, job loss in the economy, the increased instances of police brutality, and an increasing climate of racial hostility and fear.”
Within this context, the chairwoman added that efforts to encourage people to cast their ballots in a democratic society must be intensified.
Thompson will address the audience about the importance of the elections, voter participation and voter suppression efforts throughout the country.
The congressman is the U.S. representative for the state’s 2nd congressional district and is serving his 13th term. He is the longest-serving African-American in Mississippi and is characterized as the “lone Democrat” in the Mississippi Congressional District.
A native of Bolton, Mississippi, Thompson has a longtime passion for aiding underrepresented populations. He served as alderman and mayor of his hometown. He also founded the Mississippi Association of Black Mayors. He was elected to Congress in 1993.
Among his accomplishments, Thompson authored legislation that created the National Center for Minority Health and Health Care Disparities, subsequently becoming law. The congressman was also the first Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He has also served on the agriculture, budget and small business committees.
Like Thompson, Horne has an extensive history representing Mississippi. He has served District 26 in the Senate since 1993. Before elected to the Senate, Horn spent 12 years in state government positions, including program manager for the Mississippi Arts Commission, state film commissioner, state tourism director, and director of Gov. Ray Mabus’ Office of Federal State Programs.
Horne has gained a reputation for working across racial and occasionally ideological lines to accomplish goals. He is also credited with authoring the statute allowing Jackson to vote on the 1-cent sales tax program where funds go to rebuilding the capital city’s infrastructure.
On Thursday, Oct. 8, at 10 a.m. watch the “Get Out and Vote” rally