Watch STF’s Virtual Town Hall Event on October 14, 2020. (Click to watch, 56:48)
October 14, 2020: Approximately 80 STFers, family and friends participated in an STF Virtual Town Hall event to learn about the human rights issues involved in the pros and cons of California Propositions 16, 17 and 18.
Welcomed by student speakers, Justin Connolly, HRW’s Senior Director of Southern California, congratulated STFers on their commitment to human rights advocacy. He also shared updates on HRW’s recent work to protect voting rights in the U.S.
CA State Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber was key in getting Prop 16 on the ballot. Participants were honored to hear her speak about why voters should reinstate affirmative action by approving Prop 16.
“I’m excited about the leadership of tomorrow, it’s great! Or I should say, the leadership of today! You are voting and taking care of business,” said Dr. Weber, who was impressed by the audience’s engagement during the event.
Currently disenfranchised due to their past incarceration in California’s criminal justice system, Anti-Recidivism Coalition’s Director of Advocacy Esteban Núñez and #YesonProp17 Fellow Jose Gonzalez, shared what it would mean to have their right to vote restored by Prop 17.
“To be told that you are not worthy of having your voice heard, not worthy of your opinion… is not only hurtful, but is also a constant reminder that this country has a lot to work on when it comes to inclusiveness of everyone as far as their word, not looking at them by the color of their skin or their past actions,” said Jose Gonzalez.
Rounding out the evening, Ryan Beam, an advocate for Prop 18, and Valencia High School STF President Ayden Reading debated the pros and cons of Prop 18, which would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary and special elections if they are 18 by the next general election.
“If you turn 18 between March and November in an election year, then you, me and 200,000 other Californians are trapped in an electoral gray zone,” Ryan Beam said. “Despite the fact that we have an equal stake in the outcome of the election, we don’t have an equal say in who is on our ballots… Our vote is weaker than the votes of others, which those of you in STF know isn’t quite in the spirit of Article 21 [of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights]… Proposition 18 eliminates the gray zone.”
The STF team thanks all of our guest speakers and participants! We hope this event will help everyone be more educated about the election.