FORT MYERS, Fla. — Get out and vote, that's the message behind the Stroll to the Polls and Souls to the Polls initiatives. Many lined the street of Forts Myers, dropping off ballots and casting their votes in a caravan to the polls.
“Black votes matter, we are important,” said Gerri Ware, organizer, and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council made up of 9 historic African American fraternities and sororities, lined the streets of Fort Myers in a nice stroll to the polls, encouraging minority voters to let their voices be heard.
Gerri Ware, an organizer says voting brings back a lot of memories from 1965.
“ I began participating and protesting, then we were trying to get equal rights and an opportunity to vote and out of all that protesting the amendment passed in 1965 to get our rights to vote,” said Gerri Ware, Social Action Chair for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Ware says she’s been voting for 50 years, and she wants the next generation to do the same.
“We can determine whether a candidate wins or not because that’s our voice. We are speaking for those that will speak for us. We need somebody that's going to bring us together to accomplish what needs to be done all over America,” said Ware.
Stressing the importance of the minority vote in this election, one voting rights advocate says the black community does not vote in terms of the ratio of the number of registered black voters.
“We want to get them past the point that, oh this doesn’t work for me. Yes it does, you vote this time, you vote the next time, you vote the next time and you push,” said Todd Thomas, member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.
One vendor at today's event drove from Tampa to not only gain some new customers but to be apart of an event to help people in his community vote. He says the minority vote matters, now more than ever.
“It just speaks volumes because to see the togetherness to see the comradery of all of us, of one kind coming together on one accord, no guns, no arguing, no fighting, no negativity, just all positive vibes. Our younger voters need to take note of this as well, and just see the inspiration and just see the change that can happen with their vote as well,” said Karl Beasley, owner of Komfort Candles.