Alpha Phi Alpha President, Everett Ward, Pushes Voter Mobilization Efforts – GDN Exclusive “A Call to Colors” Vol. II Part XIVby Cash Michaels, GDN Contributing Writer May 21, 2019
With local elections this fall, and critical state and national elections coming in 2020, the time is now for historically black Greek organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council (also know as “the Divine Nine”) to claim their important roles in nonpartisan voter registration, education, and ultimately mobilization.
Dr. Everett Ward, General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and vice president for the Council of Presidents – an organization of all of the national Divine Nine presidents – agrees.
“What we’re saying to our members is that parties and step shows have their place, but in 2020, our Number one priority, as an organization is voter inclusion, voter empowerment, and ending voter suppression,” Ward told GDN in a recent phone interview.
“At the end of the day, the only color [for our community] that matters is black,” he continued. “We all realize that the important issues confronting our community demand that we, as leaders of these various organizations be front and center providing service to our communities, and advocacy for our people.”
Alpha Advocacy in Action is a great example, and in fact, is the theme of this year’s upcoming convention. Under the national campaigns, “ A Voteless People is a Hopeless People,” and “First of All, We Vote,” Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. has been aggressively involved in voter registration, education and mobilization activities on hundreds of member college campuses across the nation.
Some of those Alpha strategies saw action for the 2018 midterm elections with “Voter Operation I.C.E. (Inform, Collaborate, Execute), which encouraged participants to actively volunteer in campaigns; work with Divine Nine chapters and other community-based groups to combine resources and information-share; and sponsor GOTV activities to engage voters.
Dr. Ward also endorses GDN’s “A Call to Colors” voter registration/mobilization campaign, which consists of creating a standing voter participation committee in Divine Nine and national HBCU alumni organizations; asking members to volunteer 8, 6, 24 hours or more per election cycle; volunteer through the NAACP or other nonpartisan groups; and keeping records of volunteer hours.
Currently, in collaboration with the National Urban League, the NAACP, along with the other fraternities and sororities of the Divine Nine, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is working to increase African-American turnout in 2020 by encouraging strong social media visibility when pushing voter engagement efforts with the hashtags #Firstofallwevote and #Getoutthevote.
That commitment was clearly demonstrated May 8th when Dr. Ward and other members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. kicked off the Inaugural Alpha Day on the Hill Issue Forum in Washington, D.C., focusing on securing the right to vote, advocating for critical legislation, and ensuring a proper census count.
That campaign extends to December 2020.
“There is nothing more important for us to be focused on than voter engagement, voter empowerment, and making sure we’re counted,” Ward insists.
Per “Securing the Vote,” Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is combating organized voter suppression against the African-American community.
Per “Advocacy in Action,” Alpha Phi Alpha is advocating for state and federal legislation that protects the right to vote, which includes support for House Resolution 4 – The Voter Rights Advancement Act, which would restore enforcement of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
On May 15th at the annual Divine Nine Legislative Lobbying Day at the NC General Assembly, attended by approximately 600 students, administrators and Greek organization members from HBCU across North Carolina, advocates, led by Dr. Ward, rolled out a comprehensive legislative agenda focusing on economic empowerment to voting reform.
Dr. Ward says each of the Divine Nine organizations already have voter engagement and empowerment as part of their programmatic thrust, and working together, each can learn from one another.
Divine Nine organizations are encouraged to share their voter mobilization campaigns and programs through Greater Diversity News (firstname.lastname@example.org) and read about them at (www.greaterdiversitynews.com/enews-vote).
The mission of GDN is to maximize voter mobilization by creating a mobilization blueprint for HBCUs, Greeks, college and university students, churches and other community organizations.
To get more information about “A Call to Colors”, sign up for GDN’s free eNews Click Here.