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  • Writer's pictureThe LCR Project

Week 3 of the Task F.O.R.C.E.

During the third week of the Task F.O.R.C.E. program, students learned about political parties in the United States. On Monday, July 20, we were joined by guest speaker Russell Drake, the first vice president of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida. Mr. Drake introduced members of the Task F.O.R.C.E. to the two major parties, the Democratic Party and Republican Party, by explaining the parties’ differing values and objectives. He also spoke about the role of the Black Caucus to raise up Black issues and concerns within the Democratic party, as well as the importance of Black voters fulfilling their civic duties by being aware of who their elected officials are, understanding how all levels of the government works, and by exercising the right to vote.

In speaking on the topic of the Civil Rights Movement, Drake said, “If their life meant anything, that has to be a lesson we take from it. The lesson I think I’m charging you with is that you have to vote.”

Students had the chance to ask Mr. Drake questions, and students asked about how to speak with people who have differing political beliefs, what the Libertarian Party believes in, and what the Independent Party is.

Task F.O.R.C.E. students prepared for Tuesday’s class by viewing the websites of the candidates for Orange County sheriff and choosing who they would vote for. In class, students shared who their choice for sheriff would be, and they backed up their choices by referencing different aspects of the candidate’s platforms and background. Each student voted in our mock election. Then, students sparked a lively discussion about candidate’s backgrounds after a few Google searches showed more information about a candidate’s record than their campaign website disclosed. Through their engaged discussion, members of the Task F.O.R.C.E. learned the importance of researching candidates beyond what they share on their websites.

Before Thursday’s class, students watched the Florida Right’s Restoration Coalition’s Orange County Sheriff Forum. After hearing all of the candidates speak, a majority of the class changed their votes from what they were when they initially voted on Tuesday. Students learned that it’s important to not only read about candidates, but to also listen to what they have to say and how they answer different questions.

Task F.O.R.C.E. students shared their ideas about what makes a good candidate. On Monday, students will return to learn about how to be good citizens with the next Task F.O.R.C.E. topic: Citizen’s Rights and Responsibilities.

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