NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A Newport News organization is offering free rides to early voting sites, for those living in marginalized communities.
United and Empowered Care is an organization that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Vickie R. Williams-Cullins is on the board and says the organization wanted to do something to support the community.
Orginally, they wanted to give rides to the polls on Election Day.
“We decided why not give people rides to early vote,” Williams-Cullins said. “We wanted to get to the marginalized community, people in public housing, and how we can support them. The reason we wanted to do that is because people don’t always have access to transportation and have access to early vote.”
To spread the word about the rides, United and Empowered Care teamed up with Empower All, a small business incubator that is also involved with service and community outreach.
“There’s so many great resources and services offered in our neighborhoods, but it usually doesn’t get to the people who need it the most. That’s where we fit in, to fill that gap,” said owner Yugonda Sample-Jones.
Sample-Jones is encouraging those who might fill jittery about voting on Election Day or mailing in their ballots to partake in early voting.
“Early voting is important,” she said. “We have to use this opportunity.”
Williams-Cullins says she worked for the State Board of Elections and many people fought to get early voting.
Now, she’s telling those in marginalized communities it’s important they cast their ballots.
“This is critical. This is critical. This election is life or death. I’m not talking about politics. I’m not talking about who’s running. That’s not our role,” she said. “Our role is to ensure that everyone who wants to utilize your voice, your voices are heard. The only way to have your voice heard and to empower yourself is to vote.”
The free rides will start this Friday, October 30 at 10 a.m. at the Wilbert & Effie Ashe Manor Apartments, 11 a.m. at the Spratley House, 12 p.m. at the Marshall Court Apartments, and 1 p.m. at Heart & Soul Assistant Living.
Williams-Cullins says they will be handing out masks and sanitizing the vans they will use to transport people.
The vans are wheelchair accessible.
To sign up for a ride, call 757-214-4843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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