Kerry Washington joins local politicians at Temple’s campus ahead of midterms

Actor and activist Kerry Washington and Jabari Banks joined local political leaders to encourage audience members to vote for Democrats in Tuesday’s election.

Kerry Washington speaks alongside Rep Dwight Evans and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. EARL KUFEN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Amid a series of recent get-out-the-vote events on and near Main Campus, actor and activist Kerry Washington joined local politicians at Founders Garden on Sunday to urge attendees to vote for Democrats during Tuesday’s midterm election. 

“This is a moment where you let people around you know that they matter,” Washington said. “You tell them you need them to vote.”

The hour-long rally, which focused on the importance of voting in the midterms, featured House Rep. Dwight Evans, State Sen. Sharif Street, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, City Councilmember Kendra Brooks and actor Jabari Banks.

Lauren Jacob, vice president for Temple College Democrats, began the event by emphasizing the importance of the election for Pennsylvanians.

“This election is imperative on protecting human rights and Pennsylvania as we all know it,” Jacob said. “And I want to encourage everyone here to vote even though I’m sure everyone already knows.”

Brooks highlighted the importance of youth voter turnout in the election.

“This is a significant election here in our city,” she said. “It’s significant for young people because all the work that was done even prior to me is trying to be erased and you guys are the generation that can keep it going.”

Street took the stage and urged the crowd to vote for Lt. Gov John Fetterman (D) and Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) in their respective United States Senate and Pennsylvania gubernatorial races.

“We need you to vote for John Fetterman because he’s committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose,” Street said. “He’s committed to protecting our environment. He’s committed to protecting our right to vote. And those things are on the ballot.”

Street criticized U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz’s (R) comments during his debate with Fetterman about including local political officials in women’s healthcare decisions. He also called out gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) about his presence during the Jan. 6 riots in the U.S. Capitol and his opinion on topics like transgender youth, book banning and guns.

“He has openly suggested with anti-Semitic people, racist people, and he’s not ashamed of it,” Street said.

Street applauded Shapiro for his work as attorney general when he addressed ghost guns and opioid manufacturers in the state. He also voiced support for Shapiro’s plans to protect rivers and a woman’s right to choose an abortion. 

Evans said students should not take their voices in this election for granted. 

“You will be the determining factor of who goes in Harrisburg, or who goes to Washington,” he said. “All of the issues you heard stated by my colleague, Senator Sharif, are all in your hands, you will decide that.”

Kenyatta said that the choice between the Democratic and Republican candidates is crucial because they could impact policies on issues like health care, abortion, education, student debt and gun control. 

“We can either elect the senator and a governor who believes that you deserve a quality education and not go into debt just to get it, or we can elect some people who don’t give a damn about you,” he said.        

Banks urged people to reach out to their families and friends to make their voices heard. 

“Text the people that want to see us succeed in the future because the future is in our hands,” he said. “Let’s take this seriously because this is a pivotal moment in history.” 

Washington ended the event by encouraging everyone to do their part in the next 48 hours to vote for Democrats.

“Just for the next 48 hours, get uncomfortable,” Washington said. “Talk to everybody you see. Talk to the guy at the coffee shop, at the bookstore, to your teacher, to your roommates. Talk to everybody. Tell them to come out and vote, and vote Democratic up and down the ticket because we have real rights to defend and protect in this country right now.” 

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