Throughout the month of October and into the month of November, the Blair County NAACP conducted several meetings to raise voter awareness and mobilize souls to the polls. The Blair County Branch, under the leadership of President Andrae Holsey, co-organized and hosted a Candidate forum with Indivisible – Blair County and the PSU Altoona Political Science Society on Penn State University – Altoona Campus at the Laurel Pavilion. This event provided students and community members the opportunity to engage local election candidates, meet local non-profit groups committed towards racial and economic justice, and register both to vote and/or join the NAACP. Attendees included Blair County NAACP President Andrae Holsey, PSU Altoona Chancellor Dr. Lori Bechtel-Wherry, AASD School Board Member Rick Hoover, AASD School Board Candidate Tina Johnston, Altoona City Council Member Dave Butterbaugh, Altoona City Council Candidates Bridgette Jackson, Mike Leonard, and Dave Ellis, PSU Political Science Society President Maleah Orr, Indivisible – Blair County President Carol Evon Taylor, dozens of other community acitivists and dozens of community members.
The event was such a success that PSU Altoona Student, Eilinora Hesther was inspired to partner with the PSU Altoona Office of Diversity & Inclusion, under the leadership of Sue Patterson, to host a second event on November 1st, allowing students from Economically-Disadvantaged and LGBTQ+, Ethno-racial, , and Religious minority groups to question several candidates on how they could serve their individual communities. Darius Morgan, Bridgette Jackson, and Mike Leonard answered questions from the public with support from Sue Patterson, Blair County NAACP Executive Committee Member / Former- Blair County Commissioner Donna Gority, and President Holsey.
The dialogue fostered at each of these events, as well as several other community-focused events welcoming local election candidates to express their views offered promise for peoples in minority communities and began the steps necessary to ensure racial, educational, economic, genderal, and religious equality in Blair County and beyond.