Former Illinois Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Carol Moseley Braun stressed the importance of political activism, from voting to women's rights, when she spoke at the University Center Auditorium Monday night.
"Those who participate in the political process," Braun said, "In that participation, they are the true essence of a patriot."
Following Democratic party lines, she discussed the "phenomenon of politics." Braun told the story of her life and how the political actions of many unknown individuals affected her life. She used her experiences to illustrate how important it is for individuals to participate in politics and how such participation has shaped American government.
"I believe it [was] very enlightening," Aubrey J. Pearson, sophomore in retail and consumer science. "She proves that African American women can be successful and we need that."
Chicago born and raised, Braun was the first Illinois female senator, the first female African-American senator and also the first African-American Democratic senator.
Her political career began when she was elected into the Illinois House of Representatives. She was the recorder of deeds for Cook County before being elected to the capitol building, where she served from 1993 to 1999. Braun became the United States Ambassador to New Zealand until 2001after losing her re-election bid to the U.S. Senate.
In September 2003 the former senator announced that she would be running for the Democratic nomination for the 2004 presidential election. However, she dropped out of the race in Jan. 2004, citing a lack of funding and loose campaign organization.
Braun highlighted the low percentage of Americans who actually vote.
"Those that feel that their vote doesn't count, their voice makes them heard no matter the outcome. They might like to know that," Braun said.
The Black Cultural Center Planning Committee brought Braun to campus, with some assistance from other student groups.