By Dina Martin
Martha Carreon, a humanities professor at Rio Hondo College, is passionate about the importance of voting. She is also a die-hard phone-banker, and you will undoubtedly find her on the phone, talking to would-be voters about the importance of voting. She shares some of her thoughts on making a difference.
Why phone banking?
Phone banking reaches those who are not sure how they are going to vote. One has a chance to enlighten them. If we are passionate about our beliefs and issues, the passion will show through as we talk to people. Sincerity is a plus in phone banking, and people sense it. Don’t just read a paper to the person on the other side — connect with them.
Our issues will make a difference in our lives and our economy. Our students will be the leaders in our community. We need to nurture their enthusiasm and encourage them to participate. They can then see that their participation [in campaigns and elections] made a difference.
What have you done in previous campaigns?
During our board elections, I found it fun to talk to the people who make a difference in the outcome of our board. I always personalize the conversation, apologize for calling, identify myself and then give the spiel about the candidate.
I especially like to do it in Spanish because there are a lot of people out there who feel more comfortable in their native tongue. It’s important to me to tell them that I am not just calling for their vote, but for the vote of anyone in the household who can vote — to encourage their whole family to vote. In other words, I emphasize the importance of voting and what difference it makes to them.
Do you have any special techniques you’d like to share?
The technique I use is unique. I do not want to dial the phones. So — and this really works — I have two people dialing while I just talk. When one phone was ringing, I was already finished with the other, and so on. I never dialed, and everyone wanted to work with me. We go through the list quickly and have very good responses. I guess that is why it’s fun.
What about this fall?
This fall I’m working with students on our campus. I’m the “Latinos for Voting” club adviser. The main goal is to register students to vote and to educate them about the issues. Three dynamic students are trained on how to register other students. They are recruiting other students to help. It will be great to work with them — and it’ll be fun.
Student CTA gets out the millennial vote
Student CTA (SCTA) is engaging the millennial generation by making voting fun and exciting. Check out the event “Your Vote Is Your Voice,” which encourages students to register to vote before the Oct. 22 deadline, on the SCTA Facebook page (www.facebook.com/studentcta/events).
SCTA leaders understand their millennial generation is the largest in history; currently about 4.5 million young people turn 18 each year. When they are all old enough to vote, they will make up 40 percent of the electorate. As a generation, millennials tend to be socially progressive and have been negatively impacted by cuts to education and lack of jobs.
Millennials have been targeted by those who wish to suppress voter turnout. Voter suppression laws, which target people of color, the poor and college students, have passed in 19 states in the past year. SCTA members understand that voting can help prevent that from happening here in California. “Rights are not something to sit back and admire. We must protect them, or we give them away,” says SCTA President John Belleci, a student at CSU Fullerton.
The SCTA Fall Conference (Oct. 27-28) will focus on the importance of having a voice, union values, advocacy, community, and Propositions 30 and 32. They are mobilizing plans for what SCTA can do on campuses to get out the vote during the last week of Campaign 2012.
Related Tags: Volume 17 Issue 2, Make A Difference, Inside Educator, Educator, Activism, Campaign, Election, Ethnic Minority, Networking, SCTA, Higher Education,