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Does Your Vote Matter: Augustus Roberts, Jr., Maryland

As told by Augustus Roberts, Jr.
Salisbury, Maryland

Story Narrative:

Augustus wears a bright blue zip-up sweatshirt and sits in an academic building with classrooms in the background.

This snapshot was gathered in conjunction with the Maryland Voices initiative at Maryland Humanities, specifically to supplement the "Voices and Votes: Democracy in America" traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street program. This collection, made up of stories of first-time voters between the ages of 18 and 24, showcases the experiences of young people as they wrestled with the 2020 presidential election, issues around social justice, the environment, immigration, and the pandemic. 

Augustus Roberts, Jr. (00:00): My name's Augustus Roberts, Jr., I'm currently a senior English major at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. A couple of fact by myself, I like to create from graphic design to film, to even still life pictures, which is my main passion, but that's the main thing, I love to get my hands in terms of digital media.

Augustus Roberts, Jr. (00:23): I didn't vote, but I was educated on why we should vote. That's been the biggest change that's happened with me in the past couple of three months. My first initial perspective was honestly why should we trust the same system that has embodied us, imprisoned us, enslaved us? Why trust that same economic system that has perpetuated itself in that fashion amongst us for all these years?

Augustus Roberts, Jr. (00:53): We're still black bodies in this essence under this type of oppression, but in the end, I realized... Not even in the end. It's a growing conclusion that I've realized this voting stuff is like free throws sometimes. You're not always going to get them, but if you could try to help in any way you can, you should take it because they matter when it comes down to the clutch. I don't know if the basketball analogy helps, but I realized even if my voice... I didn't think my voice mattered as much in this country.

Augustus Roberts, Jr. (01:25): It was still a level of impact I could use to make myself be heard from the past three months, actually, just realizing the impact of what the presidency not necessarily has on me, but I have future goals as for my people and how I want us to be showcased through my film and my arts, but I realized other opposing views out there such as Trump's hopes hinder my growth in terms of everyone else's views around this and how they see us, and that type of ignorance means sweater around sometimes. He's not the cause of it. It was just a level of like past couple of months of realizing, okay, he may not be the cause, but within his ideology, they're given a leader.

Augustus Roberts, Jr. (02:11): Yeah, honestly, I was that type of person when it came to voting and politics a little bit, or a lot of it actually. I would still go to voter registration to volunteer when I could, but it was only because at the time I was like, okay, I still want to help serve the community, but in my own heart, it didn't feel right, which is why I didn't vote. Now it's been with more research and experience and talking with a lot of other mentors, a lot of stuff was helped put in perspective when it came to realizing this voting stuff is truly like free throws. It was also doing the historical research, seeing how those battleground states such as Florida and also, it comes down to a crucial aspect where it's not even certain counties, but it's like if that one person in a certain jurisdiction can get it in, it matters.

Asset ID: 2021.03.05.b
Themes: Voting, elections, presidents, participation
Date recorded: February 5, 2021
Length of recording: 03:02 m
Related traveling exhibition: Voices and Votes: Democracy in America
Sponsor or affiliated organization: Edward R. Nabb Research Center, Salisbury University, in partnership with Maryland Humanities
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