Sept. 7, 2004 – Virgin Islanders' quest to vote for the U.S. president may get a boost from a national voter campaign. Entertainment mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs recently interviewed Crucian Edward L. Browne as part of a documentary to increase youth and minority participation in national elections. Combs campaign, called Citizen Change, adopted the slogan, "Vote or Die," which mirrors the convictions of Browne who recently conducted a hunger strike to call attention to V.I. voter disenfranchisement.
Browne met Combs at the recent Republican National Convention in New York. (See "Hunger Striker Still Fighting the Odds").
Combs was conducting interviews with delegates on the convention floor on the importance of the youth vote.
"His message was so emblematic of the message we wanted to send," Alexis McGill, executive director of Citizen Change said in a telephone interview with the Source. Citizen Change is a non-partisan, non-profit organization created to educate, motivate, and empower Americas more than 42 million youth and minority voters.
McGill said, when Browne told her his story, she immediately took him to meet Combs to be interviewed. The interview will be part of a MTV documentary. McGill said she doesn't know how much of Browne's interview will make the final cut, but that his story is a significant one.
Combs and Browne "had a meaningful discussion" McGill said. "In the civil rights movement many people lost their lives for the right to vote, Brownes story is in the same vein. Sometimes you have to take drastic measures."
Does McGill think that Brownes involvement in Citizen Change will have an impact on voting rights in the U.S. Virgin Islands?
"It's going to be a multiphase process," McGill said. "I dont even think most voters know about the situation in the Virgin Islands. People need to understand their political power its a collective educational process."
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