This voter registration event in Flatbush Junction began with a press conference featuring electeds, artists, and community partners. Followed by performances by an activist orchestra and the People's Bus, a civic engagement art installation
New York – On Wednesday, September 29, 2021 from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Flatbush Junction at Hillel Plaza, DemocracyNYC hosted "Your Flatbush. Your Voice. Your Vote.", a free community event open to the public to promote voter registration. National Voter Registration Day, a nonpartisan civic celebration of our democracy and 2021 is a critical year for immigrant communities in New York City. As our city continues to grapple with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, we need to mobilize to ensure every eligible citizen exercises their right to vote in this November General Election.
The event was held in partnership with Caribbeing, Flatbush Nostrand Junction BID, The People's Bus, the Civic Engagement Commission, The Flatbush Nostrand Junction BID, and F.Y. Eye. Hillel Plaza provided the perfect backdrop to celebrate Caribbean culture and community while ensuring Flatbush has all of the resources needed to vote safely in the important upcoming general election.
The event included performances by artists such as activist youth orchestra The Dream Unfinished, Flatbush native DJ Toni Beatz, Kaleidospace, and more. The event also featured Little Caribbean-based food vendors Nio's Roti and Creme & Cocoa Creamery and a pop-up photo station managed by Project Luz.
Additionally, The People's Bus–a retired NYC Department of Correction vehicle that has been transformed into a community-led, intergenerational mobile civic engagement center was parked in the plaza at Flatbush Junction. The People's Bus, designed by Yazmany Arboleda, a Colombian-American artist who creates living sculptures, provides New Yorkers of all ages with opportunities to learn about voting.
DemocracyNYC is a nonpartisan mayoral initiative focused on increasing voter participation and civic engagement in NYC. Currently, DemocracyNYC is focusing on encouraging voters to participate in local elections.
"The strength of our democracy directly depends on our ability to get out the vote and cast a ballot. It is more important than ever to ensure that New Yorkers can have a voice in our elections. National Voter Registration Day is an important opportunity to engage those who have yet to participate in our democracy, and ensure they have the tools and resources they need to make their voices heard," said Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson.
"National Voter Registration Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate voting, civic engagement, and local communities, and it's imperative that we build on the momentum of the June Primary and continue to increase participation in local elections," said Chief Democracy Officer, Laura Wood. "We are thrilled to partner with Caribbeing, the Civic Engagement Commission and all of our partners to celebrate Caribbean culture and community while ensuring that New Yorkers have the resources they need to vote."
"The two most important civic duties are the census and voting. 2021 is a critical year in New York City's trajectory. We need to ensure that all eligible voters, particularly those in hard-to-reach immigrant communities are registered to vote, and understand their rights as citizens to move our city, state, and democracy forward" said Shelley Worrell, Founder of Caribbeing.
"According to the 2020 Census, one in four Americans are not registered to vote. If we want our democracy to thrive, we need to allow every citizen to make their voice heard – especially those who have traditionally been denied access to the ballot box. Events like what we held together at Flatbush Junction are a celebration of civic engagement and the power of the most fundamental right we have in our democracy: the right to vote," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
"It's possible that there has never been a more important time for people to stand up, to make their voices heard and their vote count, to do their part to make the government reflective of and responsive to the needs of themselves and their communities. Today, that obligation is a call to action – not only to make sure that we each vote, but that we get resources and the registration opportunities to our communities," said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. I'm proud to join today's action. Our government has a responsibility to make both registration and voting as accessible as possible for all neighborhoods, to protect and expand the right, and each of us has a responsibility to exercise that right to shape our government with our votes."
"The right to vote protects all our other rights, but to exercise it, you first need to register. In New York, voting happens on more days and in more ways than ever before. Don't wait until the last minute- register today, and make a plan to vote and have your voice be heard, this year and every year," said Zellnor Myrie, Chairman of Committee on Elections.
"The importance of our collective commitment to organize and activate the Flatbush community to vote is imperative," said Assembly Member Diana Richardson. "It is not only our civic duty to vote; this meaningful act places the power back into the people's hands. Once we understand the impact of our presence at the polls together, we can ensure that each constituent's vote makes a difference!"
"Civic engagement, at any age, is integral to shaping the future of communities across the City of New York. National Voter Registration Day is a platform that helps us amplify the importance of registering to vote and participating in every election. With so many issues of priority unfolding on the local and national stage – education, healthcare, public safety, immigrant and human rights – we need to ensure that everyone is seen and heard," said Council Member Farah N. Louis.
"Voting is a basic human right and a critical tool in shaping our democracy. I want to commend and thank DemocracyNYC, The NYC Civic Engagement Commission, and local organizations for their collaborative efforts to help hard working New Yorkers register to vote as part of National Voter Registration Day" Council Member Mathieu Eugene said. "These events are important because they create a positive and motivational atmosphere for many different communities to let their voices be heard. I am hopeful that these local partnerships will be instrumental in encouraging constituents to exercise their right to vote and become more engaged in the democratic process."
"National Voter Registration Day is an opportunity to celebrate our democracy and welcome new voters into the elections process. While there are many ways to be civically involved, voting is an essential method of participatory decision-making and an exercise in individual and community power. The CEC, through our poll site language assistance program, know your rights public service announcements, and voter education workshops are committed to ensuring all New Yorkers are informed and ready to meaningfully participate in elections and the civic life of our city." said Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Chair & Executive Director of the New York City Civic Engagement Commission.
"The Public Engagement Unit helps New Yorkers access critical City services, from health insurance and rent relief to civic education. We need more voices in the ballot box to ensure that our government truly serves all of New York City's communities, including those who have been historically disenfranchised," said Mayor's Public Engagement Unit Director Adrienne Lever. "That's why we are so proud to support National Voter Registration Day today and work year-round to register voters as part of our mission to improve the lives of New Yorkers."
"As we get closer to election day, we want immigrant communities to be empowered to make their voice heard," said Raquel Batista, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. "We are proud to be working with DemocracyNYC and other organizations to share information on their right to interpretation and to vote free from harassment or intimidation."
"National Voter Registration Day is an important reminder that a working democracy requires our participation," said Roberto Perez, Commissioner of the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit. "Good government depends on a healthy and active electorate. NVRD is part of our broader commitment to actively engage and connect diverse New Yorkers to the government that serves them."
"Brooklyn College is proud to support the efforts of DemocracyNYC, the Civic Engagement Commission, and all the community partners working to register more voters," Brooklyn College President Michelle J. Anderson said. "Everyone needs to have their voices heard at election time, and we pledge to do all we can to engage and empower our students, faculty, and staff to vote."
"Flatbush Junction's cultural diversity is our strength, voting is the one language we all speak, understand and appreciate," said Kenneth Mbonu, President & Executive Director of the Junction Bid area.
"The Dream Unfinished is honored and proud to be making an artistic contribution to National Voter Registration Day. As we believe all people can be instruments for change, we hope this interdisciplinary celebration of civic engagement can motivate more people to get involved in local elections," said Eun Lee, Executive Director, The Dream Unfinished.
"Elections matter," said Jessica Toledano, Executive Director of F.Y. Eye – a nonprofit media agency that developed the City's awareness campaign with artist Sol Aramendi to register and get-out-the-vote for the general election. "There are important issues on this ballot and we are proud to partner with the City of New York to ensure every New Yorker gets to the polls in November."
"Hispanic Federations is happy to join great organizations like Caribbeing, DemocracyNYC, Flatbush Nostrand Junction BID, and the People's Bus to not only celebrate Caribbean culture and community but to continue to amplify the importance of civic participation in our upcoming elections. The effects of the COVID pandemic have disproportionately impacted our communities; events like these serve as a reminder that there is a direct connection between voting and the elected officials who make important decisions that affect our daily lives. We will continue to work hard to increase voter turnout this upcoming November and provide all voters with the necessary tools to cast an informed vote," said Frederick Velez, National Director of Civic Engagement, Hispanic Federation.
"The LWVNYC congratulates Democracy NYC, and The NYC Civic Engagement Commission for hosting a successful Voter Registration event. The Flatbush Brooklyn location was ideal for reaching out to young and underserved New Yorkers and speakers emphasized civic engagement, central to the mission of the League of Women Voters" said Kate Doran, Elections Specialist, League of Women Voters.
Creme & Cocoa Creamery was founded by the husband-and-wife duo of Omar and Astrid Thorpe who gave the traditional ice cream shop a fun and tropical twist, which they opened in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Lefferts Gardens in 2017. At Cream and Cocoa, they're churning up fresh, small-batch ice cream in flavors that pay homage to their upbringing in the Caribbean.
KALEIDOSPACE is a Queens-based collective focused on the intersection of art, activism, and community. We create platforms for Black, Brown, AAPI, and LGBTQIA+ creatives to bring their talents to our community by providing spaces for education and cathartic healing. We heal, find strength, and provide comfort through the collective ritual of sharing and receiving; in this sacred exchange between artist and audience, we mobilize a transformation in our borough, our city, and ultimately, our world.
Project Luz empowers new immigrants to Queens with photography as a tool to explore the city and tell its stories, as well as their own.
The Dream Unfinished is an activist orchestra. Its mission is to use classical music as a platform to engage audiences in dialogues surrounding social and racial justice. The Dream Unfinished has people of color in the orchestra, in the music, behind the scenes, and in the audience. We are an orchestra that looks and sounds like New York City, and through music, we explore pressing social issues affecting our communities.