On National Voter Registration Day, Massive Push by L.I. Immigrants and Voters of Color



Press Contact:
Steve McFarland, 516-366-0259, steve.mcfarland@maketheroadny.org (English & Spanish)

On National Voter Registration Day, Massive Push by L.I. Immigrants and Voters of Color

Over 20 L.I. Faith, Labor, and Community Organizations Take Part in National Action, Registering 3,000+ In Time for Mid-Term Elections

BRENTWOOD, NY — "If you want it, you need to vote, vote, vote!" sang Polly Henry, a Jamaican immigrant and graduate of the Parent Leadership Initiative. Henry joined nearly 40 other Long Island community leaders and advocates to mark National Voter Registration Day, a coordinated day of actions across the country designed to ensure that all eligible voters exercise their right. The voter registration deadline in New York State is October 10. With hotly contested congressional and State Senate races on the ballot in November, grassroots, faith, and labor organizations are making a massive push to register working class voters of color and reported that they have already registered over 3,000 new voters. [Photos available for download here.]

"Women and people of color were denied the right to vote, but never again!" said Janet Farfan, a member of Make the Road New York. "We fought for the right to vote and now it gives us the power to secure a future for our communities with respect and dignity!"

Diane Goins, President of the New York Communities for Change Long Island Chapter, said, "More than ever people need to register to vote. People need to know that elections do matter and that at the local level important decisions are made every day that affect your life directly by your government representatives. We will continue to work hard so that more people of color in our communities are registered, active and informed voters that will vote in candidates that will do good for our communities."

Janeth Niebla-Galaviz, Suffolk Organizer for the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, "It’s an honor for us be here celebrating National Voter Registration Day with over 20 community organizations. Community groups and service providers across Long Island are registering new Americans and voters of colors like never before. We've registered over 2,500 voters and are knocking on over 20,000 doors. All Long Islanders want to the best for our communities, and working class voters will be making their voices heard this year on the issues that we care about most."

Gina D'Andrea Weatherup, Community Affairs and Advocacy Manager for Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, said, "Today on National Voter Registration Day, Planned Parenthood takes advantage of our unique ability to engage young people and single women.  Here on Long Island, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic and Planned Parenthood of Nassau County are partnering with our patients, communities of color, and young people to help everyone, regardless of political leanings, seize their power and vote.  We've already talked to hundreds of everyday Long Islanders and are actively helping people register to vote.  Planned Parenthood is ready to ensure that the voices of all under-represented populations are heard and their votes are counted."

“This year’s mid-term election is of huge importance to our communities, nationally and locally," said Gabriela Castillo, SEPA Mujer Staff Attorney. "A well-informed, active participant in the voting process holds the power to effect change and hold elected officials accountable.  Registering to vote is the first step to empowering ourselves and our communities.  SEPA Mujer recognizes the significance of National Voter Registration Day and is proud to be participating and partnering up with our allies in this effort."

“Voting is a powerful tool that individuals can use to ensure that government is truly representative and that elected officials are working hard on the issues that are important to their constituents. For too long, the most vulnerable on Long Island have been disconnected from this basic right. Increasing voter participation is critical for making Long Island a region that works for everyone,” said Gwen O’Shea, President/CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island.

"You can see in Hempstead, where the school district is 70% Latino, the importance of registering to vote and making our voices heard." said George Siberón, Executive Director of the Hempstead Hispanic Civic Association. "Our vote has tremendous power, and we are proud to be registering voters to build our community’s power for October, November, and beyond."

Jeffrey L. Reynolds, President & CEO of Family and Children's Association said, “Elections have significant consequences for our clients and our communities. We are pleased to be part of this effort and committed to making sure that our region’s underserved populations have both a voice and a vote on November 4th and beyond.”

"It is important for us to register to vote so our voices can be heard on matters that directly impact our communities and way of life," said Rashad Mitchell, Organizer with the Long Island Progressive Coalition. "The Long Island Progressive Coalition is mobilizing like never before, united like never before, today is a sign of that now is the moment to register and get engaged!"

Blanca A.Villanueva, Education Organizer for the Alliance for Quality Education, said, “One of the most important issues facing parents today is ensuring quality education in communities of needs. We need to elect candidates who support fully and adequately funding our schools; this is impossible to do if you are not registered to vote."

Francis Madi, Long Island Organizer for the New York Immigration Coalition, said, "On National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) today in Long Island, the NYIC is excited to joined our allies and partners to get out the vote and register to immigrant communities and to support integration of our communities into civic life," said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. "All over New York and in Long Island, the immigrant vote will make a huge difference in who is elected into office. We are happy to supports the integration of immigrant communities into civic life."

"The right to vote has no value if you don't use it. Everyone must register and vote wisely," said Rafi Fazli, Director of the American Muslim Voter Club.

Mimi Pierre Johnson, Vice-President of the Haitian American Political Action Committee, said "As a non-partisan immigrant organization HAPAC continues to educate and advocate on many issues that concerns our members and community. We encourage voters registration to make sure our voices are heard through the electoral process."

"We need to vote so that we can be the voice for our children who cannot vote yet," said Polly Henry, a graduate of the Parent Leadership Initiative. "It is so easy when you feel disenfranchised to say 'my vote doesn't matter' but that is why it matters even more. Our children's lives depend on it."

Shanequa Levin, Campaign Director for Every Child Matters - Long Island, said, “If kids could vote, they'd vote for someone who would step up for kids who Live in poverty; Face hunger and homelessness; Have no early learning opportunities; Are left alone after school; Lack quality health care; and Suffer from abuse and neglect.  Be a child's voice by registering to vote and electing someone who will step up for kids. Strong kids = Strong America.”

Hudson River Healthcare’s President and CEO, Anne Kauffman Nolon said, “HRHCare is proud to offer our patients non-partisan voter registration. We understand the connection of participation between both personal health and policy decisions. Our goal is to empower our patients to live healthy lives.”

“The most direct way for our communities to influence policy is through voting and civic engagement," said Charles Fox, Senior Coordinator for Community Services for the Economic Opportunity Commission of Suffolk County. "For the clients and communities we serve, local policy often matters more than national issues: from social service funding, to school resources, to public parks. We're proud to be a part of National Voter Registration Day, and an effort that has the power to alter the political landscape.”