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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Election 2018

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to a crowd in Philadelphia (Photos by Luke Malanga ’20).

Obama calls for political engagement in young adults

Former President Barack Obama spoke about the importance of a high voter turnout at a Philadelphia Democrat rally at the Dell Music Center on Sept. 21.

Obama spoke alongside Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Bob Casey and urged the citizens of Philadelphia to go out to vote regardless of political affiliation and age.

“Because it is a midterm election, because it is a non-presidential election, there is a tendency for young people, for African American and Latino folks, for casual voters to sit out and say, ‘Well, I’m going to wait for the presidential election,’” Obama said. “This one is actually more important.”

Governor Wolf echoed the importance of registering to vote for midterm elections.

“We cannot afford to sit on our sidelines, we cannot afford to sit this one out,” said Wolf. “Let’s register to vote, make sure we are there at the polls.”

Obama, center, with Senator Bob Casey, left, and Governor Tom Wolf, right.

St. Joe’s alumna Beth Melena ’12, Communications Director for Governor Wolf ’s re-election campaign, discussed how essential college voters are to raising voter turnout in November.

“College voters are key to making sure that we get voters out this year in November,” Melena said.

Anna Lendacky ’20 saw Obama speak in November 2016 and although she could not attend the event on Friday she believes it is important to stand up for issues that are important to her as part of her societal duties.

“I want to stand up for my beliefs, things that I believe would better my life and the people’s lives that I care about,” Lendacky said.

Melena reinforced the importance of engaging college students in the campaign.

“We’re doing everything we can to engage them and talk about the issues that matter most to them,” Melena said.

Lendacky believes it is a privilege to be a political and social agent of change.

“When people don’t use it, it squanders the power that our voice can have and any potential that we have to be an agent of change and affect change in our government,” Lendacky said.

Obama concluded his speech by calling young people to action, reminding them how their vote matters and the importance of being politically active.

“If you don’t like what’s going on right now, don’t complain, don’t hashtag, don’t put your head in the sand, don’t just sit back with your boys and act like you’re too cool,” Obama said. “Vote.”

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