Civil Rights Leader to Speak About Voting Rights at USFSP

A photo of Congressman John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis

During what has become a tumultuous election year, U.S. Rep. John Lewis will speak to students at USF St. Petersburg about the history and importance of voting on Wednesday, Nov. 2, from noon to 1 p.m. Lewis, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other demonstrators during the Civil Rights era, will participate in a town hall-style Q&A with students and members of the public. He will be joined by former Governor Charlie Crist.

The event came about when a Victor St. Arnauld, a USFSP Environmental Science and Policy senior who interns at the Florida Suncoast Sierra Club, shared that he was upset that his classmates seemed indifferent about voting.

“He was distressed that so few of his classmates said they would vote,” said Phil Compton, senior organizing representative of the Suncoast Sierra Club. “They don’t seem to understand the relevance of voting with regard to the environment or their own futures.”

Compton reached out to the USFSP Student Government representatives and, together, coordinated the event with the USFSP Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership

“Civic engagement is an important part of our education,” said Laraine Ruiz, acting president of USFSP Student Government. “Congressman Lewis was a Civic Rights leader advocating for equality for all Americans regardless of any stereotype we use to categorize one another. In a time when some of us are unsure of whether to vote or not, Congressman Lewis wants to remind us why we need to participate and have our voices heard. He deserves to be heard and we should listen.”

The noontime event is sponsored by the USFSP Student Government Association and the Florida Suncoast Sierra Club. It will be held in the University Student Center, 200 Sixth Ave. S. in St. Petersburg. The event is free and open to the public. Register now to attend.