‘Trend that Jawn’ highlights political issues that matter to young Philadelphians: ‘I can’t just not do anything’

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A person stands at a podium and speaks into a microphone.

High school senior Ibithal Gassem stressed the importance of getting involved in politics early. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Ask us: As Election Day draws near, what questions do you have?

As Election Day draws closer and closer, voting advocates came to Philadelphia City Hall Wednesday to stress the importance that young and new voters have at the polls.

An up close of a packet that reads "guía del elector de Filadelfia."
Information regarding voting was provided in multiple languages at the event. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Members of Vote That Jawn, a nonpartisan political advocacy group working to increase young voter turnout in Philadelphia, hosted “Trend That Jawn” to get new and young voters excited for the upcoming election.

People play music indoors.
The Franklin Learning Center band performed music during “Trend That Jawn” at Philadelphia City Hall on Oct. 26, 2022. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Central High School senior Ibithal Gassem is involved with the PA Youth Vote and Leadership Committee.

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She’s been working with students to get young voters registered this year and said even though she’s not eligible to vote yet, that doesn’t mean she can’t get involved.

“It’s really important that people are informed because there are so many issues I care about, like gun violence and sanitation. Living in Philadelphia my whole life has affected me, and like the fear, I don’t want to settle for that,” Gassem said. “That’s not a Philadelphia I want. So I’m like, I need to do something. I can’t just not do anything.”

A person sings into a microphone as musicians play behind her.
The Franklin Learning Center band performed music during “Trend That Jawn” at Philadelphia City Hall on Oct. 26, 2022. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Philadelphia’s Youth Poet Laureate Telicia Darius recited “A Chance To Vote” for the attendees at City Hall, a poem themed around the power a person has when they get a chance to head to the polls. Here’s a snippet from her poem:

“I will dictate the best for me,” Darius said. “You don’t give me a chance to vote. I give me a chance to vote. A chance to expand my rights in this country. To fully indulge, engage with. Elaborate my rights in this country. I get to vote. I get this chance to vote. It’s mine. Selfishly, you gave me a right to vote, but I claim it as mine. You don’t tell me. No. I vote.”

A person stands at a podium and speaks into a microphone.
Philadelphia’s Youth Poet Laureate Telicia Darius recited “A Chance To Vote” for those in attendance at “Trend That Jawn.” (Cory Sharber/WHYY)
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According to the Pew Research Center, Gen Z voters made up 8% of the electorate during the 2020 presidential election, while millennials and Gen Xers made up 47%. Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation made up less than half of the electorate in 2020 (44%), falling below the 52% they constituted in both 2016 and 2018.

Election Day is Nov. 8.. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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