Many West Philadelphia residents registered to vote for the first time, then ate in celebration along 47th and Brown streets as The Men of Mill Creek, along with other Mill Creek organizations, ran their first voter registration drive Saturday, Oct. 6.
This is the first time five local groups came together for any community development event: Artistic Rhythms Dance LLC, Creating Generational Wealth, Men of Mill Creek, Fabulous Ladies and The Village of Mill Creek.
When residents registered, they received a fish platter made by Pastor Derrick Long, leader of the Men of Mill Creek. As Long fried fish, many filled out registration forms with hungry bellies.
This wasn’t the first time registering for Brenda Anderson (pictured above, to the left). She recently moved into the neighborhood and never got the chance to re-register until now.
“I have rights and my vote matters,” Anderson said. “People have fought and died for this.”
Anderson mentioned she’s been also encouraging her daughter to vote. She said she began talking about civic engagement with her when she was 17, right before she was eligible to vote.
“I want young people to vote and we have to get them registered first,” Anderson said.
Others at the drive said voting is the right thing to do.
After losing his father the day before, Men of Mill Creek member Don Anderson (pictured above) kept an upbeat attitude educating new voters at the table. His father was one of the founding fathers of Men of Mill Creek. He said he would do anything for his community.
“My importance of being out here is that I want better for myself,” Anderson said. “When I better myself, I can be better for other people.”
For Long, he was proud of the turnout, bragging about his “award-winning fried fish.”
“You got to taste the community,” Long (pictured below) said, referring to his fried fish platters.
Text and images by Taylor Allen and Kaicey Baylor.