Cherie DeBrest cast her first ballot nearly 30 years ago and has made it a point to vote in every election since. She was inspired by early suffragettes: Black women like Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells, who fought for the right to vote, but never got the chance to vote themselves. 

In 2018, Cherie decided to take her civic duty a step further when she started working at her local polling station in her North Philadelphia neighborhood. At StoryCorps, she spoke with her 18-year-old daughter, Naima, about what the work meant to her.

Photo: Cherie and Naima DeBrest following their StoryCorps interview in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 21, 2020. Courtesy of Naima DeBrest.

During their conversation, they also spoke about one man who’s been particularly committed to voter education in their community, Kevin Jones.

Photo: Kevin Jones, Judge of Elections. Courtesy of Kevin Jones.

Currently the Judge of Elections for their North Philadelphia district, Kevin has spent the last fifteen years making sure that every eligible voter has all the tools they need to make their voices heard on election day. Podcast Host Kamilah Kashanie checked in with him to learn more.

And finally, now that election day has come and gone, we followed up with Cherie and Naima to talk about the highs and lows of being at the polls amidst COVID-19, and their hopes for the future. 

Photo: Cherie and Naima DeBrest as poll workers in North Philly in 2020. Courtesy of Cherie and Naima DeBrest.
Top photo: Artwork by Lindsay Mound.

Released on January 20, 2021.