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  • Writer's picturedawn jeronowitz

1992: My College Activism for America

NOTE: Dawn's SPEECH TEXT given at Awareness Fest 1992 is provided below, in FULL, after introduction to event details & description


1992: While attending the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, my passion for politics was ignited during the presidential election that year. With much political unrest and an undercurrent pulling the USA toward division and trying times, a third-party candidate, businessman, Ross Perot, got into the Presidential race to compete against GOP incumbent George H.W. Bush and Democratic Party candidate, Bill Clinton. It was exciting!

In a valiant effort to encourage my Generation X to engage in discussion on the hot topics of the time, and vote, I created and produced an event I called: Awareness Fest. In a time of no smart cell phones, no convenient laptop computers, easy internet or wi-fi, my production preparations and outreach was all done via old school style: in person, by hand, utilizing a typewriter, fax machine and landline telephone calls.


As I was single-handedly producing my Awareness Fest and wanted the location for the event to be situated smack in the heart of the university campus, the Belk Tower at UNCC, in order to obtain university permits for the event, I was required to list myself as a campus organization, which I called: United We Stand.


Reaching out through faxes and phone calls, I secured event participation from dozens of social, environmental and political organizations both on, and off campus. Even more, I received support from the newly established MTV Rock the Vote organization who provided me with their posters, pins, and a variety of their swag to give away.


In my outreach to organizations and news outlets, I described my Awareness Fest event:


“This day is aimed at alerting people of various social, political, and environmental issues. It is a day to ask questions, get answers, gain information, get involved, and help make a change.

Various organizations, both on and off campus, will come to the Awareness Fest to provide literature and speak about existing problems, causes, and solutions in our country today. Furthermore, tables will be provided for those who wish to REGISTER TO VOTE, learn to VOTE BY ABSENTEE BALLOT, and DONATE (food/clothes/money) to the HOMELESS.

Speakers will be present for various discussions throughout the day. These include AIDS, Racism, Abortion, and the Environment. The event kicks off at 9:20am with a FLAG CEREMONY and introduction of representing organizations.”


Not only did I have dozens of organizations participate in my 1992 event, plus registered hundreds of students and faculty to vote, obtained hundreds of signatures on a petition calling for Voting Booths on college campuses, held roundtable discussions and debates on pressing issues, raised donations for people in need, and had support from MTV Rock the Vote, I also made the Charlotte Observer newspaper, and delivered a powerful twenty-minute prepared speech that has withstood the test of time.

© T. Ortega Gaines - Charlotte Observer newspaper, April 17, 1992


Under the Charlotte Observer newspaper photo, it read:

UNC Charlotte student David Z. urges fellow students to stand up for America on Thursday during an Awareness Fair at Belk Tower on the UNCC campus. Organized by junior theater major Dawn Jeronowitz (at right, holding flag), the event was aimed at increasing voter awareness on campus, “The purpose was to inform people that there are good candidates, that they need to get involved, and they need to vote,” said Jeronowitz. “We don’t have enough people voting in our country, especially college students.”


This was the poster I created for my Awareness fest event held in October 1992. I hung the poster all around the university campus, as well as at a variety of business locations near to the college. I even made a tri-fold tabletop version which I set on every table in the university dining hall.

Some photos I took from my Awareness Fest event in April 1992.

Yes, I had a band play live music at my event. That came in handy when I needed the audio system and microphone to sing the National Anthem, provide speeches, and rally students to vote.

Even better, I held TWO Awareness Fest events on my UNCC campus; one in election primary season on April 16, 1992, and the other closer to election day on October 1, 1992. I was also invited to produce an event on the campus of University of North Carolina at Wilmington. I produced that November 1, 1992 event as a benefit concert, Band Together, that also included tables set up for a variety of social, political, and environmental organizations, plus, student discussion and debate on the issues, voter registration, and donations for those in need.



Though I remain proud of my bi-partisan accomplishments and activism for America, it is impossible to ignore that the very same issues I addressed in 1992 are the very same issues we continue battling today: racism, abortion, environmental concerns, contagious disease. Unlike today, my event was fully bipartisan; members of ALL political affiliation were welcomed and encouraged to speak and debate their perspectives on the issues. Perhaps if we take time to open communication, get back to sensible dialogue, we can FINALLY find common ground and evolve into a more peaceful, happier, safer society in the United States of America. As citizens of the United States, we are not each other’s enemy, rather, we are one common people, one nation. We must stand together in unity, with all our beautiful diversity. Divided we fall, but united we will rise. Time to put the 'Team' back in Team USA.




Dawn's FULL SPEECH TEXT given at Awareness Fest 1992:


Do adults care what the generation thinks? Does the system care? Or are they blind?

 

The office of the president of the United States of America is a very high position of authority. A president is voted into office by the people as a representation of the people. A president’s prime concern should be to protect the citizens and to use the money circulated to benefit the people and their interests. All people are individual in their experiences and ideas and their perception of circumstance, and granted the president cannot cater to each selective individual, but his (or her) job is to accommodate for the vast variety of opinions and freedoms and rights of the American public. A president needs to focus on the people of the country, of the United States of America. A president should defend the Constitution and the entire philosophy of freedom that this country was formed and based upon.

 

Foreign affairs are a major aspect of our economy and daily life. In the U.S. we accept “foreigners” to enter our country, the melting pot, and come here with the notion of freedom of speech and expression and individual ideas and rights as a human being in a system of a working society.

 

The prime concern is with our own country and philosophy of freedom. Granted, we deal with foreign affairs and that is a factor, but, in the same way a person must know and love the self before loving and accepting others, the American society needs to be able to find itself through change and fresh ideas and new interests and ways of expression that are open minded. We must first move toward knowing ourself and our country and accepting that our ancestors formed this country on the basis of freedom of religion and race and speech and expression. We are trusted to uphold this and fight for our beliefs.

 

In today’s society issues are being suppressed and the government is no longer a product of the people. Instead, it is developing into a non-productive monster of control. The ideas are stagnant and primitive as far as human equality is concerned.

 

These issues cannot be solved instantaneously, but a start can be made through awareness and education and teaching the new generations of the importance of the value of life and humanity. Teenage suicide statistic rates are rising and the number of youths that are growing up are facing public issues that have never before been raised in this intense light. The children are confused and torn, and unable to grow into a society that doesn’t welcome or accept their ideas and values and morals and judgements. The people of our generation, the next “group to run this country” cannot face that difficult task if as adolescents they cannot be heard and respected as future responsible working adults.


Equality and freedom are not out of reach. They are not impossible. They need to be represented by a suitable president that can move and change and grow with new visions and ideas. Other countries around the world are moving toward humanity, and yet America, “home of the free and the brave,” is remaining primitive and stagnant and is growing into a destructible source of humankind. A president needs to realize this and the people need to understand that their vote counts. No matter how they feel or who they vote for, the matter is to VOTE.

 

People need to be reminded about write-ins, or vote c.) none of the above instead of just not voting because they feel neither candidate is capable of the doing the job as it should be done.

 

Action needs to be taken. With an election for office this year, the time is RIGHT NOW to unite the youth and let their voices be heard. We cannot wait another four years. Room for us must be made now, and the people must be aware that they can change the system if they unite and vote for whomever they feel can represent them, and their ideas in the best possible manner. And if neither candidate for office is capable, then vote for none of the above and at least let it be known that the people are not happy and they are not being represented with their best interest in mind.

 

An uprising is inevitable in today’s society. Change must occur. It is only natural that as the growing of populations increase and the world of technology and knowledge prospers, so must the government. Now is the time for action. In four years, it may be too late.

 

The office of president is a powerful position of the people and it cannot be taken for granted. Vote for nobody or somebody. It is the public right to choose nobody if nobody running can represent our interests as minorities and individuals and groups of people and humans. We do not have to vote for those candidates on the ballot if we choose not to. Just vote and let your voices be heard. Three million people between ages 18-25 are not registered voters. REGISTER neither republican nor democrat, only humanistic and American. Three million people united can make a difference. Your vote counts and it can matter if you just let your voice be heard. You can make a difference. Register and vote, whomever it may be for – just vote – it’s your right to be heard!

 

 

All I am is a 22-year-old girl from New Jersey going to college in North Carolina and studying Theatre. I’m just me, Dawn Jeronowitz, nothing more and nothing less. I expect to be respected and I fight for what I will defend. I help others when I can and I try not to hurt anyone as I go along. I have dreams and goals and ambitions and drives. I’m sometimes walked on, sometimes hurt. But, I’m always full of life and energy and willing to listen and give a smile to someone who needs it. I encourage others to be their best and I try to be my best. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I succeed. But every day I wake up and every night that I go to sleep, I have to remember that I live in the most beautiful, original country in the world. I have to remember that we’re rich and prosperous in this country and that we have freedoms and rights in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. And I remember being taught that America stood for hope and freedom. The ideas of a new formed country. And then I remember that I saw hundreds of people living in boxes on the streets and in public bathrooms. I saw people begging and starving. I saw senior citizens that can’t afford to live with the money they receive after a lifetime of hard work. I saw kids dealing drugs and bringing guns and knives to school. And I saw racial riots and murders for nothing. And I saw men beating up women and women selling their bodies for money and American Indians still living on reserved areas and the youth just cried out in this country. And I’m trying to absorb my surroundings and accept reality and the law and order existing around me while at the same time struggling to become a mature, responsible, caring, passionate woman in a world that has no rooms for new generations and ideas of humanity and peace. The “hippies” had a great idea but a bad approach. The philosophers, psychologists and theorists need to be heard. Their ideas are real and their thesis proven. We need to separate economy and government and religion from the basic human needs of pride and love and acceptance and sincerity and honesty and integrity. We need to help our people. We need to reconstruct our system before the damage gets worse. Problems need solutions.

 

The answer lies in control and government. Law and order is required, but, honesty cannot be bypassed. We need people in office that can take charge and ACT on the obvious solutions. The systems of the world are completely intertwined in their existence. The people of America need someone to stand up, take charge and fight FOR THEM, the citizens of the USA.

 

I believe that a man as strong and alive as Principal Joe Clark can do the job. He is experienced in education and reconstruction by law and order. I believe Principal Joe Clark is a take charge 100% person who stands up and fights for the people of all color, race, size, belief, class, religion… whatever. He does what has to be done and he does it through honest hard work because he cares for the people. I believe that Joe Clark can be the president we need to take charge of American humanistic philosophies and get RESULTS. I believe Joe Clark can stand up and prove American people to be who they are: American. He can relate in foreign affairs by showing the world that America is proud to be fresh, young, vibrant, full of life and as free as a child’s imagination. If Joe Clark chooses not to take on the challenge, that’s his choice and I respect his decision despite the fact that he is the right man to take control over the White House.

 

In addition, I also believe that the philosophy of Frank Zappa is what America was formed around; the right to speech, freedom, equality, expression of ideas as well as the right to exist as a free being of nature accepting the gift of life and growing with it. With Joe Clark’s determination, will and hard work, and a Frank Zappa philosophy of peace and order and expression of human rights, together could unite and spread the American dream. I believe it’s time that changes occur to make room for a new generation so that the earth can continue to exist and the people can live with honor.


I do not know how to solve the problems and I do not have the resources to try; and I do not expect solutions to happen instantaneously, but I do believe that the people are concerned and with time an uprising will occur. I know it is inevitable. People need to be heard. Systems need to adjust. Whatever the solution, the problem must be faced and NOW is a starting point. And I must include that I actually do know how many problems could be solved but I only can do so much alone. This is what I believe and as Dawn Jeronowitz, a young adult with hopes and dreams, entering the working, decision making world and contributing to the American economy, I must make my voice heard. I am not afraid to face the challenge. I see and understand that everybody does not feel like me, but I believe that I have the right to express my opinions and feelings about my country and I expect to be respected for them. I do not believe I am in a minority for these beliefs. I am caught in a generation that the world cannot make room for. I will stand and fight for our rights as young adults and for a better future. These are only MY ideas – take it or leave it – believe whatever you want to, but I can and will express what I choose.

 

Something MUST occur and VOTING is the key. Who is best to operate this country to its fullest potential? Bush? Brown? Clinton? Any existing candidate? Any ordinary politician? I will not sit back and accept the politics going on. I will not accept the reasons for poverty and hunger and uneducated citizens and false equality. I will not accept the American public as lazy, selfish and greedy. I do not believe that people do not care. The rest of the world says that we are spoiled and rich. Yes, we are. But at the same time, we are so poor that’s it’s sad.

 

The United States of America is deteriorating. It is no secret and I am tired of pretending that it is. How far does it have to go? Right now, be aware! State your opinion, speak out, take action, join organization, vote, UNITE, UNITE, UNITE! The UNITED States of America! What happened to the dream? Accept yourself as simply human and accept others as the same. Now is the time. It is not any issue any longer of race, religion, or sex. Only humanity. Do not let another four years go by. Make the politicians work WITH us and be HONEST with us and together we can make this the greatest country of honor and pride, full of contributing adults and hopeful, prosperous children. Let the people unite; it’s our home! I understand we need law and order, but we also need help. Like I said, I’m just Dawn Jeronowitz from New Jersey, full of dreams in a country that will not let freedom reign.

 

It is either now or in 96’ because the upcoming generation of working, contributing adults is not happy and change is inevitable to maintain peace within our country. It is now or in 96’ because after that it may become too late. The youth is crying out. Listen to what they have to say. Do not let the war begin. Do it NOW! We united during the Middle East War. Support was a majority. Not support for war, but support for Americans. Do not let our spirit and pride be just a fashion. Trust in the Constitution. Make the system work! Let your voice be heard. Get angry and VOTE! “The fight is on, let the battle begin, to just be American once again!”



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