MDC Students Rally and Lead Procession to Cast Early Votes in Florida Primary
Miami, January 27, 2008 -
Despite three torn ligaments in his right knee, Felipe Sousa Matos was determined to lead a procession several blocks from MDC’s Wolfson Campus to the Stephen P. Clark Government Center to cast votes early in the Florida primary election. On Friday, Jan. 25, the president of Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Wolfson Campus Student Government Association (SGA) made his way to the polls in a wheelchair, surrounded by dozens of MDC students who wanted to have their voices heard this election year.
“The students from MDC stand united to say ‘basta,’ no more! We will not stand quietly. We will make our voices heard. Today, when each and every one of you casts your ballots remember that many around the world have died to secure this right that you are about to exercise. Together, one vote at a time, we can make a difference,” Matos told the crowd at a rally held prior to the march. In addition to students, MDC administrators, faculty, staff, and State Representative Luis Garcia were also on hand for the One Vote One Walk march.
Organized by the Wolfson Campus SGA, the non-partisan One Vote One Walk campaign is aimed at empowering a new generation of voters by increasing awareness of the issues at stake during the 2008 Elections. The campaign kicked-off on Jan. 16 with a candidate platform discussion and a legislative forum. At these events, students discussed the proposed education, health and immigration policies of presidential hopefuls. Attendees also learned about ballot items such as the property tax amendment and others.
As the procession of nearly 100 marchers traversed Miami’s downtown streets, students held up signs encouraging others to vote, while North Campus SGA President Lance McGibbon and others kept the momentum going by chanting “one vote, one walk.”
Like many who come to the U.S. seeking freedom of expression, Kendall Campus SGA president Jesus Reyes echoed what is in the heart of many immigrant students when he said, “As a native of Venezuela, I don’t take democracy for granted.”
Evelyn Rodriguez, a journalism and communications major, said she was there in part to honor her parents.
“My parents are Cuban,” she said. “They have always encouraged me to vote and instilled in me that it was a benefit they didn’t have.”
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, firstname.lastname@example.org, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949, email@example.com, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, firstname.lastname@example.org, media specialist