HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - At first glance, it might look like any Labor Day cookout, but while enjoying friends and food on Mobile Street in Hattiesburg, people also registered to vote and filled out the census.
Organizers Patryce Graham and Clements Ferguson describe how they came up with the idea for a cookout registration drive.
“So how we met, he’s my son’s teacher, and I had just simply challenged 10 people to register to vote and he grabbed hold of that and we went from there,” Graham explains.
Ferguson says that the cookout is a fun way to get friends and community members easy access to voter registration forms and census takers. He encourages people to talk to their friends and family about completing the important forms because people tend to listen and trust to loved ones.
“You can reach out to ten people you know because people are more likely to register to vote when someone they know approaches them versus a complete stranger,” said Ferguson.
The event featured free food, speakers, games and, of course, the registration tents.
Graham says she thinks it is important for vote and complete the census because both have a direct impact on local communities with representation and funding.
“It’s their voice and they should be heard so it starts here in the community, that’s why we reached here in the community to try and get everybody registered to vote and to fill out the census so we can make them more knowledgeable about what’s going on in our community,” said Graham.
“We want to allocate funds to the community and we also want to get people registered to vote so they can get their voice heard. And that affects many different levels you know people need representation in the courts and also need representation in the government,” Ferguson added.
Graham and Ferguson hoped to share with attendees how voting and the census will directly impact the community in the future.