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Fraternity, sorority team up for lesson in civic engagement

Two local organizations are teaming up to give area teens a lesson in civic engagement – the Delta Pi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the Selma Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority will host the inaugural Civic Engagement Teen Summit Friday, Jan. 17, at Selma High School from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

“Many of our youth are more interested than ever to be civically engaged, notwithstanding the 2020 elections,” said Delta Pi Lambda President Billy Young.

“This precarious atmosphere creates a sense of urgency to ensure our youth have the tools necessary to adequately participate in the voting process and make sure their voices are effectively heard,” added Selma Alumnae Social Action Committee Chair Elizabeth Hollie.

The event is open to all juniors and seniors of Selma High School approaching voting age and interested in civic engagement.

Additionally, participating students will receive a credit for two hours of community service.

“This event supports our Selma City Schools’ core value of equity,” said Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams. “It is important that our scholars have opportunities to interact with our community leaders and make their voices heard. We greatly appreciate our community partners for this important programming.”

During the summit, students will be versed in a variety of topics related to the electoral and legislative process, including checking one’s voting precinct, understanding gerrymandering and voter suppression, the role of poll workers, understanding identity politics and more.

“This nonpartisan and worthwhile initiative could improve the quality of life of our citizens significantly by fostering a more educated electorate,” said Robert Stewart, who serves as both Civic Engagement Chair  of Delta Pi Lambda and Black Belt Region Outreach Coordinator for U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL. “Fortunately, we have a fearless advocate in Rep. Terri Sewell who, in her capacity, has recently spearheaded and passed sweeping [legislation] to improve the quality of life for our communities in regards to access to healthcare, infrastructure, education, voting rights and economic development. Our fellow citizens must be aware of this.”