To spread political awareness, Western Illinois University’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored people (NAACP) will host Gubernatorial Candidate State Senator Daniel Biss and State Representative and Western alumna Litesa Wallace, Biss’ running mate, in a meet-and-greet on Nov. 9 in Morgan Hall 109 at 5:30 p.m.
Biss is a member of the Illinois State Senate, representing the ninth district since January 2013 while Western alumna Wallace is a democratic member of the Illinois House of Representatives, serving the Rockford-based 67th district. Wallace is running for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in the Democratic primary alongside Biss.
According to Naisha Joyner, president of Western’s NAACP, the meet-and-greet will raise awareness about political issues and increase political involvement on campus.
“This particular event is to help raise awareness as well as knowledge about the importance of political awareness,” Joyner said. “It helps that an alumna of the university is reaching back in efforts to connect and understand what the people that her and Daniel Biss represent need and want. This is also a great opportunity to see the effect that western Illinois University plays in future endeavors. This event will serve as a representation of the importance of networking and so much more.”
Mercedes Joyner, presiding member of the NAACP, said Biss and Wallace will bring a level of knowledge and prestige that can inspire students to congregate and spearhead political issues.
“They serve to be very inclusive as well as empathetic with the people they serve,” Joyner said. “They are very hands on with finding out problems and coming up with solutions. I do believe that students will gain enough power and knowledge to spread their opinions and voices on topics they are passionate about.”
According to Mercedes and Naisha Joyner, the NAACP plays an active role in political activism as well as takes on the role of educating and empowering students while welcoming diversity. The event serves as a give-and-take experience.
“As a connecting organization on campus I thought it would be a great idea to have our general assembly as well as our young black students on campus to be involved in political issues,” Joyner said. “We often talk about things we are dissatisfied with on campus, and here we can put those concerns into action, which is why this will be in place of our normal meeting times. Therefore, making it more convenient. We are an organization that stands for knowledge being wealth. What better way to educate than to stand behind something
The NAACP’s ultimate goal of the meet and greet is to understand the power and impact of being politically sound. Mercedes Joyner emphasized the importance of understanding the role that black students can play as well as the effect that they have.
“The role that we as black students hold is not only be educated but to educate,” Mercedes Joyner said. “This includes taking advantage of opportunities such as this to learn the process of effectiveness. Its starts with us as students and we don’t always wonder how much influence that we hold as students. We have great responsibility and effect that is associated.”