Andrew Goodman Ambassador leads charge for early voting at UDC

Andrew Goodman Ambassador leads charge for early voting at UDC

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Andrew Goodman Ambassador leads the charge for early voting at UDC

 

Morgan at early voting table

Morgan Livingston at the Van Ness Campus preparing for voter registration.

Spurred on by her parents’ commitment to service, senior business management major Morgan Livingston credits them for helping her understand the power of the vote to effect change for underserved communities. Livingston is the Andrew Goodman Ambassador at UDC and spends long hours at her voter registration tables assisting students and the community. UDC’s Van Ness Campus and the UDC Community College at the Bertie Backus Campus are early vote center locations.

Livingston can recall the day her father chided her at age six for commenting on a homeless person’s request for money. Her father shared that he had once been homeless. It was a moment that ignited her passion to help people in need and impact society.

“He told me to never look down on people because you never know the circumstances that led them to that situation,” said Livingston.

She attributes her tenacity to watching her mother press on after her father passed away from an illness, raising four children, earning two degrees, starting a business, and being active in the community.

“My mom made us go with her to all of these places, including when she went to vote. She wanted us to understand the importance of our vote to change things. As an adult, I can see why she did it. It has paid off.”

Livingston currently serves as the Andrew Goodman Ambassador at UDC and spends long hours at her voter registration tables to serve students and the community.

“We want to encourage students to register. We also have international students who want to vote and can’t,” Livingston said.

As an Andrew Goodman Ambassador, she is a part of a nationwide network of students advocating for voting rights through campus voter registration drives and voter education events. The Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program is a non-partisan, civic engagement movement of student leaders and university partners. It is housed on 81 campuses across the country at large state universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and community colleges.

Her training included receiving policies and guidelines on how to communicate as an ambassador educating potential voters and assisting them in registering.

“I thought it would be something amazing for me to do because I see a need for it in my community. My responsibilities are to encourage people to register to vote. I am giving them information and allowing them to do what’s best for them and ensuring that they can register to vote.

Livingston is Miss Senior on the UDC Royal Court and president of the Beta Iota Delta Sigma Theta Chapter at UDC, which she partners with to support the voter registration tables on occasion.

UDC is designated as an Early Voting location and some students will be trained and compensated to be election runners. Livingston is excited about the opportunity for people like her grandparents to be able to vote early in shorter lines and for busy students to vote efficiently.

“People don’t realize that your vote can make the difference for something that you believe should be changed. You can vote for that person who will accomplish what you think needs to get done. When people take an active interest in their civic duty, they can take more control over areas they don’t think they have control.”

Born in Southeast Washington, D.C., and raised in Prince George’s County, Livingston said she has experienced all walks of life. She has attended private schools, but she said her grandparents live in Ward 8 with less access to healthier food options.

“As an African American woman in my 20s and working since I was 16, I’ve been in a lot of different communities,” she said. “I’ve noticed that in a lot of communities of color, people don’t have the same access. My grandparents live in Ward 8 and don’t have a car. They have limited access to fresh vegetables and fruit. I bring them food a few times a month. It’s why more in our communities aren’t as healthy.”

“It made me realize that something has to change. Voting is a huge part of that change. You can’t complain about the circumstances unless you take an active interest and make it your goal to change them. The people we put in office can make these changes.”