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Our campus coordinators – Michael Spencer, Vashti Hinton-Smith and Trey Gibson – work side-by-side with students recruited from North Carolina’s HBCUs to be Democracy Fellows. These students help develop organizing campaigns on their campus around issues of vital importance to their community and educational institution, as well as advocate for issues in the halls of state and federal government.

Michael Spencer
College Outreach Program Manager

Michael helps empower student-leaders at HBCUs in the Triangle and Fayetteville regions.

Vashti Hinton-Smith
College Outreach Coordinator

Vashti helps empower student-leaders at HBCUs in the Triad region.

Trey Gibson
Civic Engagement Organizer

Trey helps empower student-leaders at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte.

Jazmyne Abney
Democracy Fellow – NC Central University

“I became a Democracy Fellow because I enjoy encouraging my peers to exercise their right to vote and remain involved in our democracy.”

Denarra Kimble
Democracy Fellow – Elizabeth City State University

"Voting is important to me because it gives everyone a chance to voice their opinions."

Jaden Peay
Democracy Fellow – NC Central University

"Common Cause has given me an invaluable hands on experience on various aspects of electoral politics. Being a Democracy Fellow has stimulated me both intellectually and professionally."

Ashley King
Democracy Fellow – Bennett College

"I became a Common Cause Democracy Fellow to spread political awareness around my campus."

Marcus Ponder
Democracy Fellow – Winston-Salem State University

"I became a Common Cause Democracy Fellow to do my role of informing my peers on and off campus about the vitalness of voting, knowing deadlines and the candidates."

Sainey Ndure
Democracy Fellow – Johnson C. Smith University

"I became a Common Cause Democracy Fellow to help motivate my fellow students to vote."

Fatima Rodriguez Caba
Democracy Fellow – Winston-Salem State University

"I wanted to join Common Cause to educate and advocate for my fellow students' rights and access to voting."

Jacob Richardson
Democracy Fellow – NC A&T State University

"I wanted to become a Common Cause Democracy Fellow because I wanted to dedicate my time to my community and getting other young people civically engaged was a great way to do it."

Vanessa Ward
Democracy Fellow – Fayetteville State University

"I became a Common Cause Democracy Fellow because I wanted to bring awareness to my community and have an impact on colleges in terms of voting and education about our democracy."

Jalen Robinson
Democracy Fellow – Livingstone College

"I joined Common Cause to increase my impact in my community so I could help improve the voting process, build better relationships with people, and build a better democracy."

Jameliah Pinder
Democracy Fellow – Shaw University

"Living the hope and dream of our ancestors isn’t only accomplished through breaking barriers – it is also appreciated through practicing the rights they fought day and night for."

Nijah Williams
Democracy Fellow – NC A&T State University

"I wanted to be a Common Cause Democracy Fellow because I knew it would give me an opportunity to push my passion for politics and advocacy to the next level."

See some of the great work of our Common Cause Democracy Fellows:

2020 Year End Review

The 2020 election year was a rich and challenging environment for our HBCU Democracy Fellows program.

Saint Augustine’s University students march to the polls on Election Day 2020

Led by the school's marching band, the SAU community walked together to the polls on Election Day to make their voices heard at the ballot box.

Democracy Fellows share why voting matters to them

Our Democracy Fellows have a message for North Carolina: vote!

On HBCU Voters Day, students get registered to vote and ready for the election

Students at HBCU campuses across the state registered to vote and got nonpartisan information about the 2020 election.

Livingston College students register to vote

Common Cause NC and Black Voters Matter helped students at Livingstone College get registered to vote.

Livingstone College students discuss civic engagement

Students at Livingstone College met to exchange ideas on how to boost civic engagement among young voters.

Saint Augustine's University students register to vote

Students at Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh registered to vote ahead of the 2020 general election.

Column: Students can, and will, save our democracy

Jazmyne Abney, a student at NC Central University, writes about the power college students have to be heard in the 2020 census and election.

Column: Democracy under pressure

De’Quan Isom, a student at Shaw University, writes that "our democracy, today, stands under pressure but in that pressure diamonds can be made."

Column: Instituting politics on HBCU campuses

Love Caesar, a student at NC A&T State University, writes about implementing institutes of politics on HBCU campuses to build student civic engagement.

HBCU Democracy Fellows promote census participation

Our Democracy Fellows went on social media to encourage students to be counted in the 2020 U.S. census.

HBCU students make their voices heard in NC primary election

HBCU students in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville and around the state cast a ballot in North Carolina's primary.

St. Augustine’s University students march to the polls on Super Tuesday

"I was a little emotional. We learn about people who died for our right to vote. I don’t want what they did to be in vain.”

NCCU students march to the polls in North Carolina's 2020 primary election

Students at NC Central University walked together to an early voting site on their campus to cast a ballot in North Carolina’s primary election.

Livingstone College students help educate public about primary election

Livingstone College students were at the polls to help spread the word that photo ID was not required for the 2020 primary election.

'Party at the Polls' at NC A&T State University for NC primary

Our Democracy Fellows helped organize a Party at the Polls to encourage students to make their voices heard in the primary election.

Bennett College students register to vote

Ashley King, our Democracy Fellow at Bennett College, helped students get ready for the 2020 election by registering to vote.

2020 HKonJ Moral March in Raleigh

HBCU students made their voices heard as North Carolinians rallied for our democracy

Column: It’s time to make time for college students to vote

Kylah Guion, a student at NC A&T State University in Greensboro, writes on how colleges can make voting more accessible for students.

Column: Gender Equality – When Will it Happen?

Ashley King, a student at Bennett College in Greensboro, writes on the need to achieve gender equality now.

NCCU students march to the polls for Durham's election

Led by the school's Sound Machine Marching Band, students at NC Central University walked together to the polls to vote early in Durham's local election.

St. Augustine's students go vote in Raleigh election

"I hope that this helps students recognize that we need to vote," said Mackeyla Davis, a student at SAU and a Democracy Fellow with Common Cause NC.

Shaw University students march to the polls for Raleigh’s election

“I hope that this will build a lifestyle of voting, where students will be encouraged to vote not just in this election, but in every election to come,” said DeQuan Isom, a Democracy Fellow with Common Cause NC.

NC Central University students speak up for democracy

Democracy Fellows at NC Central University are working to engage their fellow students in the democratic process and making their voices heard as HBCU student leaders.

Students hold HBCU Lobby Day at the NC legislature

Organized by the Common Cause HBCU Student Action Alliance, the lobby day allowed students to meet in person with legislators to discuss funding for their schools and protecting voting rights of students.

Bennett students on why voting matters to them

Students at Bennett College in Greensboro have a message for North Carolinians: go vote!

FSU students educate Fayetteville residents about election

Students from Fayetteville State University canvassed the community, sharing nonpartisan voter guides with residents and encouraging them to go vote.

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