Biden-Harris Rally | Photo by Teresa Wilson
Biden-Harris events have speakers representing minorities in Mercer County urging people to vote for the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election. Speakers and attendees gathered in Coldwater, Celina and Rockford in the past few weeks to share their stories.
Among those who attended the Coldwater and Celina events were Vanessa Enoch who is running for the election to the US House to represent Ohio’s eighth congressional district, Joe Monbeck who is currently running as the Democratic candidate for Ohio’s 84th State House district and Don Holtvoight who is running for Commissioner.
These speakers were introduced by Teresa Wilson, local activist and event organizer. The events start with a brief introduction to the program and by thanking those who have attended. Those who attend are expected to follow CDC guidelines concerning coronavirus, which includes wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.
Wilson was first contacted to help with organizing Biden-Harris events after speaking about the Black Lives Matter movement. Wilson then spoke at the Coldwater event and became co-organizer.
After the introduction to the event, speakers were introduced to the audience and began their speeches.
Each speech was focused on those who are underrepresented in Mercer County and the need for voices to be heard now and after the election. At the end of the event, those in attendance were asked if they would like to step up and share their stories and messages as well.
Messages to the community
Local teacher and representative of the latinx, LGBTQ and female community Sophia Rodriguez spoke at both the Coldwater and Celina events focusing on leadership and minorities.
“Leadership teaches you about respect and responsibility. It allows voices to speak, even if you oppose those voices. That’s the leadership as a Democrat that I want to model and the importance of listening to voices that are not your own because everyone has a right to tell their story. It’s important to recognize that these stories are just as important as your story,” said Rodriguez.
The reaction from the audience was captured by local resident Jessica Bergman.
“I wanted to see what demographic of people attended the Coldwater event. I thought it was overall positive and it was refreshing to hear people talk that had views similar to me,” said Bergman.
While the event was, according to Bergman, “overall positive”, there was still some caution to attendance.
“I was scared of people being there to heckle and be mean. It’s almost like you have to come out as a liberal around here,” said Bergman. “But don’t be afraid if you go, it’s a forum for people to say what they want to say in a respectful way.”
According to Rodriguez, at the Celina Biden-Harris event, she transformed her speech into the importance of leadership as Trump vehicles circled the event.
Reasons to vote
The Biden-Harris events are held in order to inform communities of current injustices and show support in the upcoming 2020 election for candidates Biden and Harris.
“I think what’s most important, especially those who are 18 and older, is that it is your civic duty and responsibility to be engaged with the world around you. That means, you need to know what’s happening within your community, whether that’s nonprofits that you can participate in or with your political affiliations, and being informed means gathering information from more than one source,” said Rodriguez.
“These events are an opportunity for people within our community to one, share experiences that they have had that others may not be aware of, whether that has to do with race or racism, being a part of the LGBTQ community, being a veteran or being a minority. Two, allowing the opportunity for people to be informed about voting. We need to vote with not only our individual concerns in mind, but also the concerns of others,” said Wilson.
By sharing the stories of minorities in communities, the Biden-Harris events strive to inform voters about other peoples’ experiences to open their eyes to injustices that can be addressed by political involvement by the community.