Professor Bill Jong-Ebot, Juan Cuba, executive director, Communication major; Alonna Williams, Jabari Hopkins, Bethonokel “Jerome” Volcy, Maria Camila Montanes and Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
The Florida Memorial University community prepared to vote in the mid-term elections by participating in a “Debate Your Fate” forum on Oct. 22, 2014 in the Lehman Auditorium.
The event featured a panel that addressed a wide range of issues, including raising the minimum wage, same-sex marriage laws, legalization of marijuana, tuition costs, support for HBCUs, including FMU, the Affordable Care Act, and the Dream Act.
Panelists were mostly FMU students and a representative of Miami-Dade’s Democratic Party, all with different view-points on the topics discussed.
The event format allowed for a lively, engaging and entertaining discussion of the issues, with significant audience interaction from over 100 students, faculty and staff in attendance.
Moderator Bobby R. Henry, Sr., publisher of the Westside Gazette, ensured that the panel discussed issues of importance to the FMU community. He was so impressed by the panel that he referred to them as “degreed lawyers” because of their knowledge of the issues and ability to articulate them.
Panelists were: Juan Cuba, executive director, Miami-Dade Democrats; Maria Camila Montanes, Communication major; Alonna Williams, Jabari Hopkins, and Bethonokel “Jerome” Volcy, all Political Science majors. Tom Turex, Chairman Broward Republican Executive Committee did not show.
“This forum enlightened me about the issues that are important in the upcoming mid-term elections,” said Kourtni Garvin, a Political Science major. “I did not know, for example, that Thad Hamilton will become Florida’s first Black agriculture commissioner, if he wins,” she noted. “Voting is a duty. We not only need knowledge about what is happening in society but we also have to be accountable – we must vote. We are the change,” she added.
“This was a very inspiring forum,” said Ricardo Dormevil, a Political Science major. “Every department on campus should have a civic engagement activity like this so that we can discuss diverse views. We can create different parties on campus and invite representatives of various political parties to join us,” he added.
The event was organized by the Civic Engagement Group on campus. It is made up of faculty, students majoring in Communication, Political Science, and representatives of Lions for Justice. Members are: Danneal Jones, Bill Jong-Ebot, Olivia Jackson, Tameka Hobbs, Vernon Martin, LeQuoyal Graham, and Camille Vickers.