Decatur youth practice civic duty hosting voter services drive

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DECATUR, Ala. – Heavy rain could not stop a group of pint-sized political assets working to make a difference in their community through civic engagement.

Decatur Youth Services’, ‘Girls Connected for a Cause,’ is a group of young women ages 12-14. This season, they’ve teamed up with the League of Women Voters of the Tennessee Valley to host a voter services drive on Saturday.

“One vote can change a whole bunch so you need to get out here and vote,” 13-year-old Quiah Harris said. “I know I can’t [vote] myself, but I’ll still encourage other people to do it.”

Over the past two weeks, the groups have worked together to talk all-things voting: absentee ballots, how to register people to vote, campaign platforms, and more.

League of Women Voters’ Lucita Jones said the girls sought them out to learn.

“Can you believe teenagers–or these are pre-teens, they’re ages 11-14,” Jones said. “They just came to us and said, ‘OK, what do we need to do? You all are the experts. We’ve been watching you all for a while and we just want to know how you can help us do this in Decatur.'”

Girls Connected for a Cause’s leader is Kurtistyne White. She explained the fact that the girls are so excited about the event means the goal for the season was accomplished.

“Even though it’s raining, we were determined. The girls were determined to come out here and just encourage people to register to vote. We want the girls to be civic-minded, community-oriented and to give back once they’re adults,” White said.

One group of girls said they would stand in the rain all day if it meant they could register even one person to vote.

“Being young Black people especially, it affects us even more directly. We have to stay conscious about the issues going on in the world and in our community because it affects us and its also very important for people to know their vote matters so that’s why we’re out here,” 12-year-old Vega Zaman said.

The girls had a surprise guest show up while they were working; a guest who has his name on the upcoming November ballot, Democratic Senator for Alabama Doug Jones.

“The future is in the hands of folks like this, and for them to get engaged in their civic responsibility right now, even before they can cast their first vote, I just think is awesome,” Jones said.

The girls were able to ask Jones questions and take pictures with him. According to White, it was an exciting end to a long, wet day.

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