n 2008 young people between the ages of 18 and 30 came out to vote in record numbers for the first African American president of the United States. A generation intrigued by the fact that their vote really would matter, that their voices, put together, could make not just a moment but a movement in American history. Whether a Democrat or Republican, one should be clearly aware of the urgency of this election and the importance of voter turnout from key voting blocks: African Americans, Latinos, and most of all, those innovative and ground breaking young people.

It is no surprise that there are hts activists were beaten nearly to death on Bloody Sunday. It makes one wonder why peo- ple would fight so hard to keep African Americans and people of color from

voting. I have come to the conclusion that voting is the most powerful right every American has. It is an American's primary opportunity to have a say in how the nation is being governed. However, there are some forces making things difficult for voters, and the civil right that so many died for is under attack. The NAACP Civic Engagement Department is working tirelessly to orga- nize youth and college division leaders to get out the vote and register others. The department has even put together a "Rush to Reg campaign."

If you are not registered or have a question about your registration and voter eligibility, I urge you to contact the proper authorities right away. Contact your local board of elections and ensure that you are able to vote. If you are a college student, don't think that your vote cannot be cast in your home state. If you have questions about what to do to be able to vote

call the NAACP at 1-866-MY-VOTE1. There is too much at stake to not make sure that your voice is heard in this election.

As the voice for the NAACP Youth and College Division, my challenge to you is to not get fooled by misleading laws and rules. Our vote is more powerful now than ever before. This is our time, our generation and these are our issues. Stand up and be counted, and encourage your peers, friends and all of those around you to cast their votes. The issues at stake, such as Social Security, health care, college affordabil- ity and, most of all, the economy are all issues that matter to us, let us decide what direction our country will take. It is our time, our opportunity. It's game time once again. Let's flex our power and vote.  

— John Gaskin III


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