Army brat, girl scout (earned the highest award in Girl Scouting, a Gold Award, in 1992), daughter of parents in the medical field who were proactive for persons with little or no healthcare, lived in a diverse community—all contributed to Angela Brewer’s knowledge and empathy, which inspired and moved Voices United members during their January Zoom meeting.
As guest speaker, Ms. Brewer shared her involvement in politics and activism. It started when she was a child with both parents involved in healthcare for those who had little. She heard a lot of stories at the dinner table—discussions about little or no access to doctors and the economic impacts of denying healthcare to people in need.
Another impetus for her activism is the students she teaches at UNT in her communications classes. When she talks to and watches her students, she realizes they are our future leaders in democracy. This is in her mind when she is running for an office or working with others in the political arena, ensuring that true democracy is attained and maintained in the U.S.
Ms. Brewer’s superior knowledge of history, law, and politics, was on display as she discussed access to voting. Currently, she says, there are groups of people who have less access to voting than others. She noted that voting laws vary from state to state. Some state laws can either prevent or discourage people from registering to vote or casting their ballot. Federal laws apply to elections of federal candidates. However, if there are only state candidates on the ballot, the state’s laws reign.
In addition to access to voting, gerrymandering is one of the biggest issues in Texas. This session of the state legislature is working on redistricting, although it is off to a slow start because of the delay in getting census results. Ms. Brewer expressed some optimism with both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate working on voting issues—the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. On the downside, at the state level, more regulations and restrictions are being added regarding voting by mail. There is concern that this will make it more difficult for or discourage citizens to vote and, therefore, make the U.S. less democratic.
Following Ms. Brewer’s presentation, she exhibited her wide-ranging knowledge (20 years in politics) during a lively Q&A with Voices United members. As the discussion ended, Voices United members showed their appreciation in the responses to Ms. Brewer’s visit.
The Voices United meeting was led by Jan Lands and included reports from the group’s nine committees. These reports reiterated the fun and joy of being in this organization, participating in small discussion groups, assisting members in times of need, fundraising for groups such as Meals on Wheels, and creating FUN-raising activities to strengthen bonds and form new friendships. An official RR club, Voices United is a 501(c)(3) organization. For information on the organization, go to www.voicesunitedrr.org, and check it out.