Norfolk groups use art as community connector to get out the vote

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Art is a universal language, and groups like Teens With a Purpose and the Hip Hop Caucus hope to use it to connect with the communities they serve through a get-out-the-vote event Friday.

Educating neighbors, both young and old, is key for community organizers ahead of November’s election.

Terence “TC” Muhammad from the Hip Hop Caucus says hip hop is a connector for bringing people, especially the younger population, together.

“Whether it be strengthening our democracy through our respect my vote campaign, climate change and environmental justice, it’s all about how do we get young people involved in shaping the policies that affect them in their communities,” he said.

Getting high voter turnout during a non-presidential election year is always a challenge.

Andre Love from Teens With a Purpose says art may be the key to getting people more civically engaged.

“I may not know where you come from, I may not know, your background, but if we share similar tastes in like music, that’s something that can open a conversation,” he said.

The groups united to organize a get-out-the-vote event called Our Voice Is Our Crown.

They want the event to serve as an informal way for community members to understand which candidates on the ballot support the issues that matter to them.

“For us, it’s not just about us getting registered to vote,” said Muhammad. “It’s about what are your issues? What are your concerns and how do we use the power of the vote to address the concerns in your communities?”

Whether it’s through spoken word, hip hop, or art, organizers want to encourage conversations to make their neighbors more informed voters.

“I think my responsibility in a big part of this is, is being a connector,” said Love. “Whether that’s to information, whether that’s to people so we can build relationships, or even resources so you can learn more about local government.”

The event kicked off at 6 p.m. at Purpose Park and wrapped up around 8 p.m.

Organizers also wanted to inform neighbors about the Superward 7 election on the ballot to fill the vacant seat on Norfolk City Council.

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