In The News

MSNBC Journalist Talks Voting to Ball State

From The Ball State Daily News, Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MSNBC journalist talks voting to Ball State
By Lyndsay Jones

Michelle Bernard, an MSNBC journalist, said a woman who lived in Berry Farms, a housing development known for being one of the most crime ridden neighborhoods in the Washington D.C. area, asked her a question that put poverty into perspective for her.

“Have you ever heard the story of the women who kill all their children?”Tashiana asked Bernard. “I’m not thinking that. But I understand why they do it.”

Bernard personalized Tashiana’s story while speaking at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Pruis Hall. She described Tashiana as someone who does not have a voice.

“There is not a Super PAC that’s going to express her concerns to people running for president, there are not members of congress who care about her issues,” Bernard said. “So it’s really left to people like you to care about the Tashiana’s of the world, to make sure that her children can be as privileged as you are, and make it to college, and have some hope of achieving the American dream.”

Bernard said Martin Luther King Jr.’s efforts to achieve the ability to vote for all Americans are overlooked today by large numbers of people not voting. She said the lack of voting is what keeps situations like Tashiana’s to continue being under represented.

Bernard stressed the importance of education, and more so, the importance of voting, noting how important it was to Martin Luther King Jr. that all men be granted their right to vote, and how hard he and his followers worked to make it a reality for every race of American.

Bernard quoted Martin Luther King to make her point.

“So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself,” Martin Luther King Jr. said before the March on Washington in 1957.

Even with every American citizen now free to vote, the highest turnout for a presidential election in the past fifty years was 63.1 percent, during the race between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, Bernard said.

“This kind of turn-out,” Bernard said, “is a national embarrassment.”

She continued to challenge the students to vote and to positively use peer pressure on others, emphasizing the fact that every vote matters, and sometimes, just one vote can sway an entire election.

Megan Jeter, an accounting major said the statistics shocked her.

“[It] really stuck with me how few people came to vote,” she said. “I thought it would be more.”

Image Attribution: Creative Commons license by David Erickson

No comments yet.

Add your response