On November 8, 2016, The Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center hosted an elections return gathering and focus group. The purpose of the event was to gather information from the community regarding the concept of a Freedom Center “Voter Education Class” to be presented on an ongoing basis. Attendees highlighted several ideas including “the need for education from the national to the local level” and “how do we get people to get active and turn out to vote”.
The focus group was moderated by Professor Alton Jelks, who proceeded to ask a series of questions to the focus group attendees and Freedom Center youth. “We live in a country where we really do have a low voter turnout. “We live in one of the oldest democracies in the world, if not the oldest, we should be way up on top in voter turnout.” “How do you all feel we can get to a place where the people exercise this democratic right”? Asked Alton Jelks.
Focus group attendees expressed a range of different views and opinions that will be evaluated and then used to create the upcoming “Voter Education Class”. Some of the answers given on Tuesday night’s group were. “We need to stay neutral when we are trying to get people to vote.” “Stress neutrality, we have to let people think for themselves… it’s so important not to pressure people with bias opinions because it may be off-putting.”
The Focus Group ended with some words from the Executive Director of the Freedom Center, Dr. Roy Wilson. Dr. Wilson stated “Here is what we intend to do: We are going to build it as we go. That is how we build and create social change. We intend to have 2 or 3 more focus groups in different settings around Alameda County. Then we are going to start creating some of what we heard. We will consult you on social media as well as email. We want to practice classes, picnics, and workshop sessions where we can get people to hear and offer their ideas and then to proceed to let the education begin.”
If you are interested in becoming part of this ongoing Focus Group
Please Contact: The Staff at The Martin Luther Freedom Center