The Pink Vote voter registration drive encouraged voters to update info, register to vote

The Pink Vote voter registration drive encouraged voters to update info, register to vote
July 10
10:10 2024

By Felecia Piggott-Long, Ph.D.

Drums please!

Summer, summer summertime


Time to sit back and unwind


“This is 102-JAMZ and we are happy to be here! Make your way on down to Forsyth Seafood Market and Café. They are passing out fish plates just like Jesus did back in the day,” said DJKC. “Call a friend. Tell them to come out here and get registered for the upcoming election, get some free food, and win some prizes.”

Quameka Shavers of Shavers Political Consultant, LLC and Shavers Lewis Reality, LLC, partnered with Forsyth Seafood Market and Café, The Candy Tree, Carolina Forward, 102-JAMZ, and other supporters for a voter registration drive..

Christian, Valerie, and Zane Valladares won a Chick-fil-A gift card for identifying the artists who performed “Summertime.” It was performed by the hip hop group DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince Will Smith on the sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” (1990-1996).

Hundreds of radio listeners and passersby pulled over on Thursday, June 27, at the Forsyth Seafood Restaurant when they saw the hot pink balloon ring with the word ‘vote’ spelled out with silver balloons. They were also lured by the signs that were paraded up and down the street labeled “Free Food.” Organizer Quameka Shavers chose her favorite color pink and one of her favorite restaurant spots, Forsyth Seafood Market and Café, located on Martin Luther King, Jr.  Drive, to help get the vote out for the upcoming election.

Virginia Hardesty and her husband, Charlie Hardesty, established Forsyth Seafood in 1984 by peddling fresh seafood from a truck. Today, the restaurant boasts a 100-seat dining space with a market and a robust catering service. Hardesty invited me to the voter registration drive with the colorful flier Quameka Shavers prepared highlighted with “THE PINK VOTE.” 

“Forsyth Seafood is always willing to support such community-based efforts as this,” said Hardesty. 

“We are a pillar in the community for resources,” said her daughter, Chef Ashley H. Armstrong.

Artiffany McWillis said she had to pull over once she saw and heard the sights and sounds of excitement. “I had to pull over! 102-JAMZ, free food at Forsyth Seafood, and free icees! I was just picking my children up from a typical week, but I knew this party could break up the monotony of the moment,” McWillis said. “My daughters Melanin, Storm, and Thierry were ready to check it out.”

Blade Page said, “It looked like a real party with a plan.”

Quameka Shavers connected with Dr. Sarah Squire of Workers for Democracy, Women of Action, and Carolina Forward to secure funding for this much-needed venture as election day gets closer. “This is my first voter registration drive, and it has already been very successful. We have had more than 50 voters to register or to update their information,” said Shavers. “We were able to get this done with the help of a non-partisan group called Carolina Forward. Dr. Sylvia Squire approached me about my ability to get out the vote, and Carolina Forward paid for everything.”

“Que and I spoke a month ago. She is such a passionate advocate for voting, and we need to get as many people as possible on board for this upcoming election,” said Dr. Squire. “She said that she already had the place, the food, and the music, but the money was the missing ingredient. I connected Que with a grant from Carolina Forward to accommodate the cost of amenities, food and gift cards.”

The line for The Candy Tree was constantly growing. Owner Shannon Jessup was on site, in his festive pink, green, and white truck. His business has relocated from Fourth Street to Reynolda Road. Jessup was excited to be part of the voter registration drive. “This is a great cause. We need to get registered. This is the most important election in the last 30 to 40 years!” Jessup said.

Ruth Stentz of the Forsyth County Democratic Party sat at the table with Willette Rorie to assist voters with their registration forms and updating records. “We engage people to do something civic. They do not realize how important voting is,” said Stentz. “We must get them registered in order for them to have a chance to make their voice heard.”

Sade Littlejohn, a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority from UNC-Greensboro, was proud to carry her free food sign. “I reconnected with Quameka after we met in Leadership Winston-Salem in 2022. Everyone needs to come out and make an impact this year,” said Littlejohn. “The presidential debate will be on tonight [last Thursday]. We will get a glimpse of which way America is going to go. Voting is all about whether or not we will have a democracy or not. If things go the wrong way, we may not have that option.” 

Shavers has plans to hold another registration drive on the north side of town near Mountain Fried Chicken and another voter drive  on the south side of town to engage another sector of the voting population.

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