CUH Hosts 1st Annual Virtual Emancipation Day


Allison Paynter

Braggs further discuss on how voting can change politics

On Tuesday, 77 people attended the first annual Emancipation Day, held virtually at Chaminade University. Host Dr. Allison Paynter, an English professor at Chaminade, set up a virtual roundtable discussion on Zoom about how minorities have still remained mistreated over the past century in America, even though media believes it has gotten better, and the importance of people in Hawaii to participate more in voting.

This year, there has been a concerted effort to increase voter awareness and the number of registered voters across the country, pleading their case in multiple protests and petitions regarding social injustice in America. This country has suffered for centuries in finding ways to equalize our society. With the 2020 primary voting being conducted through the mail, this year Hawaii recorded its highest voting turnout in primary history, according to the data collected by Common Cause Hawaii.

Hawaii saw its highest turnout for primary registration this year. According to the Common Cause Hawaii, 795,248 people in Hawaii were registered to vote in the primary election. That is about 50,000 more higher than the 2016 primary election. Sandy Ma, the executive director for Common Cause, talked about how Hawaii has taken voting more seriously with this upcoming election.

“This year, because of all the media surrounding all these social justice movements, it has made us in Hawaii more aware of the power to vote, and that our vote matters for change in our justice system,” Ma said. “It is important that we all, not just students, but all are involved in participating to vote for our people in office.”

The United States, in the past, ruled out opportunities for different races to vote for their rights. Black Americans were constantly fighting for their right to vote during the times of slavery and immigration. Now, all those years of struggling for the right to vote has passed, and people who are minorities now don’t seem to realize the privilege to vote.

“Something so many of our ancestors couldn’t concede, and with many of our minorities being brought up with all these acts [Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act and more] already here and a former black president, people don’t seem believe that voting can make a difference,” said Sandra Simms, a Chicago native and one of the speakers.

This generation has seen a black president in office before, and for those whom were brought up with  Obama being president don’t seem to realize the importance his time in office. It brought hope to many minorities in this country to see him voted into office, and that there is a possibility of change for all in our justice system.

Simms is a graduate from the University of Illinois and earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology in 1978. She also later then earned her Juris Doctor degree in Law from DePaul University College of Law. 

Tuesday’s virtual session was the first of three. The next session, which will talk about encouraging people to vote, will be happening on Tuesday at 12 p.m. For more information, e-mail Dr. Paynter @ [email protected] for details on the next Zoom meeting.