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As protests continue, some protesters in Syracuse are registering others to vote

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Johnesha Cardwell and Twaijia Bailey, registering people to vote in downtown Syracuse.

Protesters against police brutality continued marching around the city of Syracuse on Tuesday. But in an effort to make sure their voices are heard on Election Day, some set up a table to register people to vote. 

Johnesha Cardwell of Syracuse was one of the organizers. She said she just wants to help her community.

“When my friends and my family see me, it makes them want to step up,” Cardwell said. “When you see someone familiar that you’re comfortable with, you’re more likely to join in and be a part of the change that we need.”

Cardwell, who is black, said a lot of black people feel like their voice doesn’t matter.

“A few people that we spoke with, when they came over to the table, they thought it was pointless, they said my vote doesn’t matter,” Cardwell said. “We were like, your opinion matters, your vote matters, we are the people. It’s important that we register.”

Cardwell was joined by Twaijia Bailey. They had clipboards with paper forms. Bailey said some were intimidated by the long form.

“We had a 17-year-old come and preregister and she looked at it and goes, this looks like homework,” Bailey said. “We had to let her know, it’s not as bad as it looks, you’ll get done pretty fast with it.”

They were able to register about 30 people during the day.   

Also on Tuesday, Onondaga County lawmakers went on the record being opposed to police brutality. Legislator Vernon Williams brought a memorializing resolution to the floor that condemns the police brutality that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Lawmakers approved it unanimously.

“This will be a strong message that we send to our nation that Onondaga County won’t stand for police brutality, won’t stand for injustices, won’t stand for things that are going on that has to do with racism and the underprivileged,” Williams said.

Lawmakers also went out of their way to commend actions of local police and peaceful protestors, who they say have kept the kind of violence seen in other upstate cities from happening in Central New York. But there waslooting and destruction of property after a protest in Syracuse on Saturday night, and at least one incident of a news photographer being https://youtu.be/1KDW8_8dVXg">shoved to the ground by a police officer. 

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.