The voice of and for USM students




Defenders Of Democracy bringing the fight to USM

Huey Turlich
The Defenders of Democracy panel aims to educate the community on the importance of voting. With many prevalent elections coming up, the panelists encouraged those in attendance to register to vote so they could see the impact and strength of democracy.

The Defenders of Democracy made an appearance at the University of Southern Mississippi in hopes to inform, educate and inspire the student body to partake in voting to make a difference.
The campaign held a panel for the students to learn and ask questions regarding voting and how it makes an impact in their community.
The Defenders of Democracy is a campaign from the Southern Poverty Law Center that is a part of the Activate Mississippi initiative. This initiative works to bridge the worlds of arts, activism and voter education. It focuses on a cultural approach to civic engagement.
The Mississippi State Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, Waikinya Clanton, shared the goals of the campaign.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center is a 52-year-old civil rights litigation organization that is committed to being a catalyst for racial justice in the deep South,” said Clanton.
They focus on educating and informing minorities of their right to vote. She continued to inform the students of the importance of being “all in” to get your voice heard.
With elections coming up Nov. 7, the message being pushed the most was to vote. She believes that it is more than just voting for a representative, but it is the importance of the policies on the ballot.
Starting off the panel with ice breakers, Javorious Williams with NPHC got the students engaged with some karaoke and other fun activities.
The panel was introduced by Victoria Walters, NPHC President. The panel was off to a start with the main goal of the Town Hall panel to push the importance of young voters and their power in the community.
This campaign was a six-week tour that ended here at USM. The five individuals on the esteem panel were welcomed in by Laila Peters, a Biological Science Major at USM. These five panelists included Brandon Jones, Courtney Body, Bob Press, Dallas Levy, and Ahmed Souissi.
The moderators focused on asking questions directed toward the importance of voting and what the community needs to know about voting right laws. They wanted to inform the community on the issue of voters’ rights and how our democracy is under attack.
The panelist informed the student of current policies that are being attacked and the importance of making a stand for the future. “The world is going to fall on your shoulders to build and rebuild,” said Jones. This message resided with the congregation as they listened in.
Volunteerism was another aspect of the discussion that was pushed. The panelists were advocates for getting into the community and getting to know your candidates. The importance of knowing who is running and how you can help them build their platform can cause change and allows for students to make connections and grow.
The floor was open to students to engage with the panelists. They were asked if and why they were going to vote. Their responses were varied with some students unknown about voters’ status while others stated they are taking initiative to vote.
For more information on the initiative and the SPLC, visit their website at and remember to register to vote in the elections coming up Nov. 7.

Leave a Comment
Donate to SM2

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Southern Mississipi. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to SM2

Comments (0)

All Southern Miss Student Media Center Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *