Marsai Martin made sure to be seated at AFROTECH Conference 2023.
During the fireside chat “When We All Vote” on Nov. 2, Martin shared her thoughts on civic engagement and social change in a conversation with journalist Sylvia Obell.
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Martin currently serves as an ambassador for “When We All Vote,” a nonpartisan initiative established by Michelle Obama in 2018 to encourage voter participation regardless of age or race. The organization’s website mentions the campaign successfully engaged 100 million individuals in 2020, resulting in 512,000 people starting or finalizing the voter registration process.
“As a ‘When We All Vote’ ambassador, and for me being 19 as well, I always found it important for young people, especially young Black girls, to have their voices heard in other spaces alongside of their homes because you can speak how you want to your family or your friends or whatever, but having an impact outside of your comfort zone and really pushing the narrative on just changing the world such as registering to vote is such a beautiful thing,” Martin said during AFROTECH Conference 2023.
She added, “Also when Michelle Obama calls, when Mrs. O calls, I shall come to Austin to sit down. So all of it is very, very important.”
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Martin, who became eligible to vote in 2022, believes in the importance of voting nationally and on a local level. She describes feeling “grateful” that she has a diverse fanbase that she can engage with through conversations similar to those taking place at AFROTECH Conference.
She also highlights her production company, Genius Entertainment, which offers her a creative medium to make an impact and convey important messages to the world.
“I am grateful enough to be able to have an audience with a range of people,” Marsai explained on the Innovation Stage. “Like we got the aunties, we got the cousins, we got even adults that are just now realizing how important voting is. I think it is very important for me to use my platform and not just on social media, but we always gotta find creative ways to show our impact and like show the messages that really need to be heard.”
She continued, “Luckily with my production company, Genius Entertainment, I’m able to do that every day with creating TV shows and films and things that have messages behind them to where it keeps people more informed, it keeps people more updated on what’s going on.”
Martin says that having easier access to information can be good and bad, but she ultimately believes that Gen Z has the ability to identify misinformation and form their own opinions.
“We are the generation that will look through all of the stuff, spill, make sure all the tea is correct before we start really getting into it,” Martin said. “I just think it’s different for people older than us in the fact that we don’t have to just wait for the evening news now to see what the updates are like.”
She continued, “We could go on TikTok to see different things or we could go on IG and see a different things, and like all of our information is on our phone, which is a blessing and a curse. But at the same time, we know what is right from wrong most of the time. We can always formulate our opinions and the most powerful, most quickest way to resolve different problems.”