About thirty locals, masked and socially distanced, gathered at the north end of Eastern Market Monday, Oct. 19 for Walk the Vote, an event to encourage voting, help local residents find ballot drop boxes and to spread information about the election.
Several participants carried colorful homemade signs, American flags and their ballots on the walk. More than 10 participants returned their mail-in ballots to the Eastern Market drop box at the start of the march.
The Capitol Hill Village (CHV) Urban Walkers organized the event. CHV is a largely volunteer-driven community that works to keep seniors involved in the community as they age, and the Urban Walkers are one of the CHV-organized activities.
Typically, the urban walkers take monthly walks in different neighborhoods throughout the District, even traveling via metro to different quadrants. In COVID times, the walking club is a critically important way to get socialization and exercise in a safe way.
At the Walk the Vote event, more than 30 people walked a route from Eastern Market to the ballot boxes located at Eastern Market, the Northeast Library and at Rosedale Recreation Center. At the ballot boxes, volunteers made presentations on topics related to democracy and elections, including the history of women’s suffrage and the lives of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Lewis.
Mary Case is a co-organizer of CHV Urban Walkers and also of the Walk the Vote event. She spoke to the crowd about safety precautions and then invited volunteers to speak about the history of voting and its importance.
Case said seeing neighbors and friends at events like this is fun but also important for things like voting.
“We haven’t seen each other, of course, any of us, so that part is really great,” It’s always better to have friends with you, when you do things,” Case said. “That’s kind of the motto.”
Case further emphasized the importance of gathering together during this time in a safe way, especially regarding the election and getting the vote out.
“If you have time to get three friends to go to the polls with you, whatever kind of way you’re going to do it you should,” Case said. “The reason to do that is because if three of your friends will say they’ll go to the polls one of them will not. So it’s our thought that we gather together (and go) together.”
Capitol Hill resident Ann Grace attended the event and led a group of walkers around the route said she was excited to be there because events like this help to bring the community together, even amid the pandemic.
“I’m a great supporter of voting, and the village as well my member of Capitol Hill Village and we try to bring the community together to reflect our values; and this is it,” Grace said.
Learn more about Capitol Hill Village and how to become a member by visiting capitolhillvillage.org
Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.