“He can’t vote, you can.” Those are James Grant’s words about his son, Jordan Grant, a Cal Poly computer science freshman who passed away in October 2018. Jordan Grant will never have the chance to vote, but his family wants to make sure that others do in his memory.
Grant was hit by a driver crossing Highway 101 at El Campo Road. The Grant family advocated to close the intersection, and after months of writing letters and emails, gathering community support, and speaking to local officials, the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) voted to close the intersection.
During their advocacy efforts, the Grant family encouraged students and community members to vote in memory of their son when it came time for the November 2018 election. He was excited to vote for the first time and shared ideas to encourage his friends to vote with his parents. “We realized that his passion to get others to go vote with him could still happen — that his friends and family could go vote in honor of Jordan,” James Grant said.
After witnessing Cal Poly win the Secretary of State Ballot Bowl Competition for registering the most student voters in California, the Grant family knew they wanted to support Cal Poly’s voter-registration efforts. They connected with ASI President Jasmin Fashami and made a $50,000 donation to ASI to increase student voter registration and civic engagement.
“ASI is incredibly grateful to be receiving this donation to further our civic engagement efforts for the campus, all of which will honor Jordan’s life,” Fashami said. “His legacy will continue to live on through this funding, especially as we emphasize the importance of registering to vote and participating in the democratic process. Jordan never had the opportunity to vote, so we hope students continue to seize this opportunity and realize how powerful their voices can truly be.”
ASI Student Government leaders have begun developing a plan to utilize the funds that includes outreach for the Flex Your Right voter-registration campaign, voter education through the Know Your Vote campaign, and a town-gown partnership fund for civic engagement projects between the student body and City of San Luis Obispo. Plans will be finalized during summer 2019.
“This was one way we could give back to Cal Poly, share Jordan’s story, ask people to register to vote, and then go vote in honor of Jordan,” James Grant said. “He can’t, but maybe his story will remind each of us to treasure the rights and responsibilities we have — to make a difference while we are here for the Cal Poly community. And when you vote, you make a difference.”