By Ingrid Moreno
The Campus Democracy Project (CDP) hosted their March Legislative Forum with Mayor Sandra Harris and Village Manager Esmond Scott of The Village of Miami Shores on March 23. The forum allowed students to ask questions about the changes that will occur in Miami Shores such as affordable housing and better public transportation.
The CDP was established by Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI) in 2012 offering Barry students the tools and space for potential and registered voters to learn from bipartisan discourse. The organization encourages more students to vote with multiple forums like these throughout the year.
The organization has hosted activities like voter registration drives, voter education efforts, elected official events, and legislative forums with officials and their staff members. They have events on National Voter Registration Day, Vote Early Day, and U.S. Constitution Day.
The previous event on Jan. 26 showed what to expect in the 2022 Florida Legislative Session as well as how one can get involved in the legislative process, like contacting your government officials by emailing or calling with concerns.
As a campus with a variety of students ranging in age, citizenship, and voter status, the CDP gives access to everyone no matter their case or political affiliation.
The CDP also assists in understanding what to expect from the ballot and in the polling place when exercising their right to vote. The students with seats in the CDP include fellows from the CCSI Civic Health Team and Barry Service Corps, the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) Presidential group, the Campus Election Engagement Project and Campus Vote Project, the College Democrats and Republicans, and the presidents of the Student Government Association. These organizations support students with post-secondary education and advocate for diversity, civic engagement, and student aid and economic development.
Besides the students, many faculty members and administrators on campus are also dedicated to this cause including Reverend Deborah Montoya from Campus Ministry, Dr. Fabio Naranjo from the school of Social Work, Nadia Ahmad, J.D. from the School of Law, and Judisha Williams from Housing and Residence Life.
The activities they organize are not based on Democrat or Republican ideas. The party leaders of the CDP move aside their partisan views while planning events and working in the organization. They want to find common ground for social and civic engagement for Barry and the larger Miami-Dade community.
The CDP is the ideal information hub and makes sure it is non-partisan, said Dr. Sean Foreman, co-chair of the project’s committee and chair of the department of history and political science. “Decisions are made by those who show up,” Foreman said. “So, it is important to get informed and to make decisions and to vote when possible.”
He pointed to the “inaction by citizens” as the biggest threat to American democracy. And the efforts of the CDP share the importance of staying informed and involved in fighting against fake news and misinformation easily spread through our society.
If you would like to get more involved, you can follow their Instagram account @barrycdp for updates and RSVP for their future events by keeping up with their Instagram.