From the Floor: Voting Rights Scholars
Jeff Richardson is the Vice Chair of the District's Democratic Party. He will be attending the Democratic National Convention and will be blogging for D.C. Wire from Denver.
Tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. I depart from National Airport to start my 2008 Democratic National Convention experience. I am very excited to say that I will not be alone.
Along with me and among the crowds of people pouring off planes into Denver this week will be four D.C. young people. Winners of a citywide voting rights-themed oratorical contest, the four presented speeches at the D.C. Democratic Party's State Convention last May and earned their trip to Denver as a result.
The four voting rights scholars are an impressive group of youth and young voters that are well versed in the issue and ready to share their perspective.
As "D.C. Voting Rights Scholars", the four will maintain a schedule on par with our D.C. Democratic Party elite. They will speak to State party delegations and youth-related groups about the impact that D.C.'s lack of voting rights has on the lives of District residents. They will also lead a D.C. Vote young-voter targeted street team that will attempt to connect with as many young voters attending the convention as possible to educate them on their -- and our -- disenfranchisement.
I am very excited to see the convention through their eyes and support them in telling their story as D.C. residents. I must put in a plug and thank D.C. Council member Kwame Brown, delegation member Miriam Sapiro, and the Verizon Foundation for making this all possible.
Councilmember Brown committed to underwrite the airfare and hotel for the youth as well as raise any additional funds necessary. Sapiro, a D.C. representative to the DNC Credentials Committee and candidate for local D.C. party office, worked to secure financial support from the Verizon Foundation to ensure that the students would get to Denver.
Meet the Scholars after the jump
Lamonte Pryor is a Ward 4 resident and recent graduate of Calvin Cooledge Senior High School. He will be a freshman at Temple University this fall. He currently works at Kingman Boys and Girls Club, where he was hired after volunteering 146 service hours. His plan is to major in political science and government, join the law club and participate in a summer Capitol Hill internship next summer. His dream is to be a U.S. Senator from the District of Columbia.
Lisa Femia is a Ward 3 resident and rising junior at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School. She is a member of the school newspaper and won a city-wide essay contest as a part of the National History Fair. She volunteers with Haven House and helps prepare and serve meals to the homeless. This summer she worked with Habitat for Humanity in Honduras and her dream is to have a career in magazine journalism.
William B. Washington:
William Bishop Washington is a Ward 7 resident and recent graduate of Woodrow Wilson Senior High School. In the fall he will be attending Catholic University majoring in political science. His career aspiration is to go to grad school and study law, then become a reknowned lawyer and later open his own law firm. He had two summer internships; one for the Executive Office of the Mayor and the other at D.C. Superior Court, where he received awards for his commitment, dedication, and positive attitude. In his spare time he teaches younger children how to play tennis and chess.
Vaniah Temple (alternate):
Vaniah Temple is a Ward 8 resident and rising sophomore at School Without Walls. She is the oldest of three and spends her free time volunteering with youth at afterschool programs in D.C.. This summer she assisted with teaching swimming to elementary students attending a neighborhood summer camp. Her dream is to earn a bachelor's degree in business administration with a minor in nutrition and attend culinary school. Her long-term goal is to open a chain of bed and breakfast resorts across the world.
Karla Kendrick is a Ward 7 resident and recent graduate of Washington Mathematics Science Technology PCHS. She will be a freshman at The University of Pittsburgh in the fall, where she will major in Biology with a pre-medicine concentration. Upon completion of medical school she plans to join the Peace Corps. Karla was the founder and president of the Teacher of the Year Coordinating Committee at her school, senior class president, National Honor Society member, science bowl and debate team member, and Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund Program participant. She volunteered at Francis Gregory Public Library and with the Help Those in Need Program at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and Georgetown University Hospital.
Due to scheduling conflicts with the start of her freshman year in college, Karla will not be attending the Democratic National Convention.
-- Jeff Richardson
August 22, 2008; 12:51 PM ET
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