“Just the idea that you can take a pretty simple action and literally impact everything around you, from what you eat to how you’re transported and what you’re taught in school…I think that’s one reason why I think voting is important.”
Akil Cole is extremely excited to vote for the first time this year.
“I feel like the realization of what’s been taught in class is now actually happening, so that’s exciting,” he said.
Cole grew up in Miami, Florida, and just moved to Washington, DC for his freshman year of college at Georgetown University, although classes are online for the time being.
Cole said he became interested in politics in the seventh grade, and then volunteered to help get people registered to vote though his high school. For him, his motivation to help people vote stems from the importance of representation.
“I know a lot of my peers literally just feel ignored by their family members and the community in general,” Cole told COURIER. “Just the idea that you can take a pretty simple action and literally impact everything around you, from what you eat to how you’re transported and what you’re taught in school…I think that’s one reason why I think voting is important.”
Cole said he’s ready to vote come November and plans to go to his polling location in person.
“I’m obviously following social distancing guidelines, wearing a mask, and making sure to use hand sanitizer, and [I’m planning] to go early so I can avoid excessive contact with people,” he said.
And Cole noted that voting isn’t just about national issues.
“I mean, arguably more important things happen on the local level for your council members, for your mayor and that’s when you can really, really, really, really, really, really see your impact,” he said. “But even nationally, you don’t need to be in a swing state to have your voice represented because whoever wins in an election you add validity to it by showing up.”
Lastly, Cole said it’s not right to complain about the political system if you don’t participate and make your voice heard.
“A lot of people complain about representation in our system and it’s easy to complain when people don’t show up. But when you show up you get to actively say ‘no, I’m part of this’ and that’s the only way things change,” he said. “Being disengaged doesn’t change anything.”