MEN OF OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY/ THE UPSILON SIGMA CHAPTER OF PHI BETA SIGMA FRATERNITY/HAROLD WASHINGTON LEGACY COMMITTEE PARTNER WITH RAINBOW PUSH COALITION IN DRIVE THRU VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES
In a tri-partnership with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Upsilon Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and the Harold Washington Legacy Committee (HWLC), are hosting simultaneous outdoor “Drive-Up Voter registration drives Saturday, September 19th, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. beginning in front of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, 50th and Drexel.
The Men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity will hold their voter registration drive outside of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters, 50th and Drexel. The Harold Washington Legacy Committee, headed by Josie Childs, will hold its voter registration drive in front of the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 47th and King Drive. The Upsilon Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. will host its event in front of the Sigma House, 4941 S. King Drive.
In interviews with Brad Minniefield, Social Action Chairman of the Men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Brian McCoy, a member, and Stanley Young, financial secretary for the HWLC, the voter registration drive is hoped to sign up hundreds of new voters for the Nov 3rd presidential election.
The voter drives are named after the late Congressmen John Lewis whose motto was to always “make good trouble.”
Given the COVID-19 era and the mandate for social distancing and protocol, Minniefield said, “We are holding a voter registration drive outside of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition where we and members of PUSH will sign up people to register to vote.”
Representatives will be on hand to answer questions about voting including about the mail-in ballot process. The voter registration cards for the new registrants will be given to PUSH political director, Betty Magness who will turn them over to the appropriate election board.
After the Men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s event is over, Minniefield said his group will “go out into the community and conduct a grassroots door-to-door registration effort with individuals in the community. All of those cards will be turned over to the RPC.” His volunteers will also remind people to fill out the U.S. Census form.
“Given the short timeframe, we are hoping to gather at least 400 new voter registrations,” said Minniefield. “I think that is a fair goal, and I think it would be great if they exceed that number. This is just a start. September 19th is a springboard to carry us forward in our community to make sure our community is counted and registered to vote.”
Stanley Young, financial secretary for the HWLC, who two months ago, confirmed his committee would partner with the RPC on voter registration drives, said their event at the Harold Washington Cultural Center is also “important because we need to get as many people voting as early as possible because of possible problems with the post office.”
Young said holding their outdoor voter registration drive is fitting in memory of the late Mayor Harold Washington, the first African American mayor of Chicago, who challenged his supporters to increase voter registration by 50,000 new voters and raise between $250,000 to $500,000 before he would agree to run for mayor. His supporters met those challenges.
“Voter registration was the key to the election of Harold Washington’s victory which otherwise probably would have been impossible,” said Young. “He attempted to run for mayor in 1976 and was unsuccessful even though at that time we represented 40 percent of the city’s population. Then, substantially, fewer than 40 percent of African Americans historically voted.”
The HWLC is carrying on in the tradition of its namesake as the countdown continues towards the Tuesday, November 3rd election.
According to Lance Gough, executive director of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, while some jurisdictions may begin early voting on September 24th, Chicago’s early voting starts with the opening of the Loop Super Site at Clark and Lake Streets on Thursday, October 1st, and then expand to 50 wards on Wednesday, October 14th. This is the day when Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. will lead a caravan of voters to the Loop Super Site where they will early vote.
“In the meantime, vote by mail ballots can start going out by law no sooner than September 24th,” explained Gough.
In Cook County, traditional early voting will take place between Monday, October 19-Monday, November 2nd, according to Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough whose website states that residents may register at all early voting sites.
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.