Howard Alumna Encourages Students To Vote In Virtual Event

Election day in the US is 43 days away. Photo by Tiffany Tertipes/Unsplash.

By Tiffany Hunt, Howard University News Service

The United States is currently 43 days away from election day and with voting registration gaining more prominence, HBCU and Black Students for Biden hosted a virtual zoom event Tuesday, Sept. 8, with guest speaker, activist and businesswoman, Yandy Smith-Harris.

The speakers at the event addressed many concerns surrounding the black community and pushed young black students to go out and vote for the Biden-Harris campaign in this upcoming presidential election.

Smith-Harris, a Howard University alumna, discussed the current pandemic and police brutality that is occurring across the United States. “We are dying in our sleep, dying for driving, dying for just existing, not only are we dying, but we are being incarcerated, at crazy amounts.”

The activist also specifically addressed topics such as voter suppression and health care disparities in the black community. As a New York native, Smith-Harris had first-hand experience growing up in an underprivileged community. She shared her personal story as a first-generation college student, and stated that she wasn’t handed a “silver spoon.” 

The U.S. News & World Report has done research that shows 24 percent of Howard’s population are first-generation students.

Smith-Harris is most known for her role on the Love & Hip Hop New York reality television show, but is also an activist and philanthropist.

During Smith-Harris’s time at the ‘Mecca’, she majored in business management, and is now also a successful entrepreneur over her own business Yelle Beauty, a brand centered around skincare. 

Outside of being a dimensional entrepreneur, Smith-Harris has a powerful voice on social media where she has accumulated 5.6 million Instagram followers and 872.6k followers on Twitter. The social media guru’s accounts advertise several in person and virtual events that center around police brutality and racial injustice, and oftentimes, she posts the protests that she participates in.

With all of the work she has put in protesting on the streets, she is now addressing the importance of voting in the upcoming election and stating that “we know what has happened in the past four years does not work.”

The event centered around encouraging black students in the audience to not only go out and vote, but to motivate their family members to vote for the Biden-Harris campaign, as well. Smith-Harris strongly believes that the youth are the future.

“Young black people are the nucleus of our society, and you are the nucleus of what democracy will look like,” she said.