Student leaders and elected officials will join together in a virtual panel on Thursday, October 8, to share personal experiences and discuss the importance of elevating the voices of people of color within the community. “Your Voice Matters!” will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Advance registration is not required. Use this link to attend the live event.
Olivia Butts, instructional assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology and Recreation, is organizing the event for Illinois State University’s Voter Engagement Coalition. Butts will moderate the panel.
“Sometimes we see a disconnect between local politics and students on campus,” said Butts, “but it’s important to remember that many of our local elected officials can have a big impact on the lives of our students on campus. Not only that, but these specific local elected officials are making waves in our community—students will be able to learn and relate to their stories.”
Jennifer Carrillo (Bloomington City Council), Chemberly Cummings (Normal Town Council), and Sharon Chung (McLean County Board) are the local elected officials who will be taking part in the panel. Carrillo is the first Latina and openly queer woman on the Bloomington City Council. Cummings is the first Black woman to serve on the Normal Town Council. Chung is the first Asian-American elected official in McLean County.
“The stories, struggles, and triumphs of these elected officials will resonate with students,” said Butts. “I’m hoping students will also recognize that many of their local elected officials are fighting for the same things in the community that they are fighting for on campus. And I’m hoping that the officials will inspire the next generation of leaders.”
Student leaders participating in the panel will represent several diversity advocacy organizations on campus. The organizations involved include the Black Student Union, ISU Pride, and the Asian Pacific American Coalition.