Congressman Keith Ellison, a candidate for Democratic National Committee chair and the first Muslim congressman, spoke at the Bill Bordy Theater. He addressed the Democratic Party’s loss in the 2016 election and emphasized the importance of voting moving forward.
Over 100 people attended the speech last Thursday, organized by his niece Alexandria Ellison, senior political communication major.
The Minnesota congressman criticized the Democrat’s strategy of focusing on swing states. The theme of increasing voter turnout was prevalent throughout his speech. Congressman Ellison also criticized President Trump’s accusations of voter fraud, saying those claims were made up to justify more restrictive voter identification laws.
“Trump is sowing the seeds of American fascism,” Ellison said
Zoë Limbrick, freshman comedic arts major, said Ellison’s speech left her feeling hopeful.
“In the wake of Trump[‘s election], it’s important to be engaged with political process,” she said.
Alexandria Ellison organized the event independently with sponsorships from Emerson’s Black Organization with Natural Interests and the Communications, Politics, and Law Association.
Over winter break, Ellison said, her congressman uncle told her that he wanted to speak at Emerson to hear student voices and questions.
Ellison said she did not expect the speech to have a large turnout, so she originally scheduled a small conference room. When the Facebook page received attention from students, she moved the speech to the Bill Bordy Theater.
“I hope that all this frustration, cynicism, anger leads into definitive action and protest,” she said.