Fest highlights youth vote

Weekend activities include movies, Chuck Norris

Traci Easley Williams, director of the Center of Pan-African Culture, said she thinks if citizens don’t vote, they can’t complain.

“How can you complain about the state of America if you don’t vote?” she said. “I have to make my voice heard because every voice does count.”

The weekend-long “We the People Fest” begins today and will feature a concert, film screenings and speakers aimed at raising voter awareness.

Chuck Norris will also speak about his concerns on the direction of the nation Sunday afternoon.

Schedule of Events:

&bull Ben Taylor and Hawthorne Heights concert at 5 p.m. Friday in the Commons, sponsored by Rock the Vote. Free of charge.

&bull “SPLIT: A Divided America” at 11 a.m. Sunday in the House Room in Oscar Ritchie Hall. Tickets are $5 for students and $7 for non-students.

&bull “Swing State” at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the House Room in Oscar Ritchie Hall. Tickets are $5 for students and $7 for non-students.

&bull Chuck Norris at 3 p.m. Sunday at Cartwright Hall. Tickets are $8 for students and $10 for non-students.

A complete list of events can be found at www.wethepeoplefest.com.

Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with politicians and filmmakers for free in the multi-purpose room in Oscar Ritchie Hall. Designated event parking for the festival will also be free.

Festival organizer Christina Grozik said the festival is nonpartisan and is open to all parties and all people.

“We’re basically providing the venue,” Grozik said. “We’re providing the forum, and we’ve invited all parties to come to the table to get involved.”

Williams said the purpose of the event is to educate everyone about political affairs.

“We expect to attract all types of people, of all the different parties, backgrounds, cultures – anyone who is interested in politics,” she said.

Grozik, a Kent State alumna, said the university has a history of political activism and thinks it’s the “perfect venue.”

“Every conversation went back to Ohio – they were just fascinated by Ohio,” she said.

In the documentary “Swing State,” Jason Zone Fisher, son of Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, follows the 2006 Ohio gubernatorial campaign.

“The film takes place in a political setting,” said Jason, who directed and produced the film. “It takes place in obviously a swing state, and it shows the importance of the state of Ohio nationally.”

Williams said the outcome of this election will have repercussions 15 to 20 years from now.

“It’s very important young people understand that, and make a decision based (on) knowing that,” she said.

Kelly Nyks, director and producer of “SPLIT: A Divided America,” said his film is geared toward the young voters who are “so often overmobilized but underinformed.”

“Look at the challenges we’re facing, and the fact that it’s the younger generation that will be paying the bill for the checks that are written now,” he said, using the current Wall Street bailout as an example.

Williams said students will escort attendees to the events and assist filmmakers throughout the weekend.

“We have students basically in every capacity just helping us keep people together,” Williams said.

Grozik said her goal for the festival is to emphasize the importance of voting.

“Give them information on how they can do that and talk about why our democracy’s important,” she said.

Contact student politics reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].

Contact minority affairs reporter Regina Garcia Cano at [email protected].