Actress Alfre Woodard joined Rep. Mel Watt, state Sen. Malcolm Graham and Johnson C. Smith University president Ron Carter to announce youth summit at JCSU during the Democratic National Convention. The press conference was supposed to be an announcement for UFuture – A Summit for Innovative Young Thinkers, but it quickly became a call to action to today’s young voters. Woodard implored the young students in attendance to educate each other about the importance of being politically active and voting.
“Change ain’t easy. It ain’t magic,” Woodard said. “Get the word out to young people. It’s not a process. It’s a way of life.”
The youth summit will coincide with the Democratic National Convention and draw students from 20 area colleges. The Congressional Black Caucus Institute and JCSU are sponsoring the event. Woodard and actor Hill Harper are expected to attend.Harper campaigned in Charlotte for President Obama during the 2008 election.They summit will be a highly technological affair with web streaming and other online interaction.
Woodard said young people have so much more power today because of technology to organize and fight for progress and freedom.
“This is cyber-happening in which our audience will be texting, tweeting and live streaming in a dialogue about the 21st century challenges facing them individually and collectively,” Woodard said.
During Tuesday’s press conference Watt and Woodard emphasized that students must stay engaged with the political process after the election rather than every four years. Summit organizers hope the student participants will return to their campuses energized about the political process for the upcoming election, local politics and their feature.
With Woodard participating in the summit, the students can’t help but be inspired. She spoke with such passion on Tuesday about the president and her hopes for America’s future and it’s youth.
“I’m still fired up about moving forward,” Woodard said. “This president has made more progress within such a short time than any president in our history.”