Students rally to promote vote

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Clovis high school students Stephen Fernandez, left, and Cory Dillard rallied some of their friends Saturday to picket along Prince Street to encourage young people to vote. Each member of the group supports Hillary Clinton, but Fernandez said it’s more

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Steven Fernandez said he just recently got interested in politics.

The 18-year-old registered voter’s first political endeavor was to organize a demonstration at the intersection of Commerce Way and Prince Street with four of his friends.

While their signs carried the name of the person they’d like to win the presidency, their message, which they yelled out at cars passing by or stopped during a red light, was simple: “Go out and vote.”
The reaction the demonstrators received varied, from cars honking in support of them or thumbs down because of whom they were supporting on their signs.

Debbie Mendez and her husband pulled onto a parking spot to challenge the five students from New Visions group home about the person they wanted for president.

“Clinton? Have you lost your mind?” said Mendez’s husband, who declined to give his name.
“She’s more straight up with everything,” Fernandez replied.

“She’s too emotional,” Mendez said.

The sidewalk political rhetoric went on for a few more minutes, but Fernandez wasn’t out to convince people who to vote for.

“Just as long as people vote,” he said.

Cory and Cody Dillard said they joined Fernandez because they wanted to encourage people to vote to change the state of the country.

“(Voting is) what this country was founded on,” said Cody.

While Mendez might not agree with whom the demonstrators supported, she did agree that what they’re doing is important.

“In the past young people would let older people vote for them,” she said. “It’s really crucial this time to have the young kids know what’s going on.”

Fernandez said other students were scheduled to join the demonstrators later Saturday.

He said he and his friends plan to participate in the caucus on Tuesday, and he will organize another demonstration prior to the general election in November to encourage people to vote.

“If people didn’t vote, there would be no point in having a democracy,” he said.