Voting is Important
Not that they had a choice in rural Tennessee during the ‘30s and ‘40s, but my grandparents were denied the right to vote.
Passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 made it possible for many Blacks, including my grandfather, to vote. Unfortunately, my grandmother never had the opportunity to vote. She died before this legislation became law.
On November 4, 2008, Senator Barack Obama was elected the first Black President of the United States of America. Millions of people went to the polls in record numbers to cast their votes. Black people who had never participated in the voting process registered and voted. President Obama winning the election was confirmation that their votes were important and counted.
A new president will be elected on November 3, 2020.Political analyst report that Black women have emerged as a powerful voting bloc. We have the power to affect electoral outcomes at all levels with our votes. Make our voices heard loud and clear at the polls.
Why I Vote
The importance of voting was instilled in me early on; it was always a family tradition.
As a child watching my grandmother go to the polls, although I didn’t fully grasp the meaning of this action, I was always eager to wear an “I voted” sticker that my parents pasted on my clothes.
As an adult, now I choose to vote and encourage my peers to stay woke about the social and political climate in our country. I vote because the bodies and homes of my ancestors were burned for wanting to exercise this right. They hung us from trees for learning to read and write. I vote because, in 2020, Blacks in America still must be smarter and work 20 times harder than our white counterparts, and in many cases, for fewer opportunities and less compensation. I vote because in cities across America hate crimes targeting Blacks —ranging from brutal beatings, killings, and burning churches — along with public expressions of hatred are common. I vote because I know that I could be the strange fruit hanging from a rope Billie Holiday sang. I vote because it’s a privilege and responsibility, and the most effective tool we have to sway legislation and have our voices heard. VOTE!
SANDRA TORAN BUTLER
We must vote because we must never concede to the forces that continually wage war against our well-being.
We have made inroads, however; we must not ignore obstacles and affronts that are continually thrust in our paths, and literally in our faces. Complacency cannot be comfortable. We cannot be comfortable with disenfranchisement and social erosion. We vote to send a strong, can’t be ignored message. We shall be counted and respected. The racist, demagoguery permeating our land is emboldened by the prevailing sentiment that there is no need to even consider how policies impact us.
The inspiration and commitment of my mother, Martha Toran, stay with me. She worked tirelessly to compel everyone to exercise the right and responsibility to vote. Against medical advice, she refused cancer treatment and surgery until after the November 2008 election, so she could see and participate in that historic movement to elect our first Black President. We can’t rest and say, “We Did It.” It is not the end of the story.
I continue to educate and develop young minds to realize their value and essential role in shaping their future. I am Martha’s daughter. I am committed and not complacent. I will always vote. How about you? Sandra Toran Butler is an educator and school administrator.
On election days, ask yourself, “How can you dictate if you don’t participate?”
My father was a Methodist minister. He and other ministers preached about the need to vote. Dupree’s husband of 56 years, Lizanne, chimes in, I grew up in Louisiana, where whites regularly protested blacks having the right to vote. My father, and other church members, put shotguns in their cars and went to the polls in large groups.
For over 300 years of our history, we had no voice or choice in the way our lives played out. We went from enslavement to second class citizenship and were denied education so that we could not fully participate in society. Not until God-fearing people of black and white ancestry addressed the fact that all human beings should be treated fairly did things begin to change.
Many young Blacks don’t vote because they don’t know their history. We need to teach them about the sacrifices Blacks made to get us to where we are today. One of the most important ways of securing our rights is to VOTE! We must go to the polls to make our voices heard.
I am a strong Black woman who will not allow anyone or anything to silence my voice.
I was born during the civil rights era. And I recognize that we, Black folks for many, many years were denied the right to vote. Many of our trailblazing ancestors fought, shed blood, and were killed, seeking their rights to cast a vote in a ballot box.
This is all the motivation I need to go to the voting poll during an election. I exercise my constitutional rights, earned at birth, and I place my vote for those who I feel will represent me and speak for my people and my community. I take full ownership of my community, and I take pride in looking out for its best interests.
There have been many valuable programs that helped my community, but partly due to our inconsistency in voting, some were discontinued.
I must be part of the change needed for equality and justice to prevail. I do this by helping to elect politicians at the local, state, and national levels who’ll work for me. Non-voters slow progress.
Twyla McGhee is Director of Multicultural Relations,
Global Inclusion and Engagement at the
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
The process of voting is very empowering for me.
Over my life spam each time that I voted, I honor the African-American sheroes in my past, present and future.
When I vote, I am reminded of a family story about my grandmother and the African-American community in Adamsville, Alabama. My aunt tells me that on the day my grandmother, Katie Bryant, passed the test and registered to vote the community celebrate and others were encouraged. Cars drove by our home honking their horns. The telephone calls were messages of congratulations throughout the evening.
Yes, my vote counts. It wasn’t until 1965 before all African American was granted the full right to vote. Yes, my vote counts. Let’s give thanks to some remarkable African-American sheroes: Katie Bryant, Ida B. Wells, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman for empowering and encouraging US!
Yes, My Vote Counts
As a young girl, I was introduced early to the significance of voting.
It was customary in our home to know our public officials. In first grade, I had to demonstrate competency in picking up the phone and calling my alderperson to share my support of any issue or concerns. As African Americans, we must use our voices to vote for people who have our best interests at the center of their agenda. We must vote for issues that advance equity and the overall well-being of our families and communities. While we cannot expect to win with every vote, if we do not vote, we can certainly expect to lose. We must firmly establish our legacy for our children and teens and allow them to witness us standing up for true democracy and justice for all. We have the power to have a positive impact on our youth, our families, our communities, and our government.
Your voice is golden, your vote is necessary, your vote counts, and YES, My Vote Counts!
YES, my vote counts.
I will not allow the works and sacrifices of my ancestors disrespected by not voting. Yes, my vote counts. By participating in this process, I contribute to electing politicians who will create laws and policies that benefit my family and community. Like it or not, many aspects of our life are affected by the government. Politicians are elected to positions of power by people like me who vote.
My vote counted in 2008, and to celebrate our victory; I took my daughter to Washington D.C. to witness the inauguration of America’s first Black President. It was a mind-blowing experience that I didn’t expect to witness during my lifetime.
My vote counts because I am a woman, and I have a voice!!!! In our history, women were not encouraged or allowed to vote. Our opinions were not valued. In recent past elections, however, ballots cast by women changed the narrative.
So, exercise your power — VOTE.
Maya Thomas is a contractor for Anthem Blue Cross.
Shannon Sims is an award winning news
anchor for “TODAY’S TMJ4” | WTJM TV,
a NBC affiliate.
Yes, my vote counts and-I vote because it’s a right and
Every election matters, but the ones that impact our lives most are the city, state and school government. From the moment I cast m first ballot in 2003, I knew the responsibility on my shoulders to be an informed voting citizen.
To the ancestors who dreamed of freedom, to those who marched and risked their lives for the right to vote,
I will forever be indebted. You can’t complain If you don’t participate in the process.
In 2020 GET OUT AND VOTE!
Candidates Who Gets My Vote
REV. EDDIE R. RODGERS
Healthcare, education, criminal justice, and gun control are issues of most importance to me.
My candidate will fund programs
for those unable to afford quality
healthcare and increase funding for
programs that help low-income people.
They will have proven records for
promoting vaccinations for disease
prevention, and require all school-age
children to receive them. Taxpaying
immigrants born in America would also
have access to healthcare.
They must favor increasing
government-funded student loans and
free education to colleges/universities/
trade schools that qualify people to
earn family-supporting wages and
have a decent quality of life. She or
he will fight for more restrictions on
the purchase of firearms, and stricter
background checks, training, and
psychological testing before issuing
permits to carry guns.
The qualities that are most important
to me are effective leadership, morality,
integrity, vision, intelligence, and
honesty in decision making. If the
election was today, I can’t say that any
particular person stands out as a strong
candidate for my vote.
On election days, ask yourself, “How can you dictate if you don’t participate?”
I carefully research candidates who get my vote by attending community brainstorming meetings to learn about their backgrounds to understand the issues that are important to them. I also want to know their level of community involvement before seeking an elected position. I attend candidate forums and candidate town hall meetings. I also check their campaign websites and social media pages.
When considering incumbents, politicians seeking re-election, I have a variety of concerns. Do they only show up at churches and other public forums during the election season? What did they accomplish during their last term in office? Did they keep their campaign promises? Are they in office holding a spot and not making a difference? Do they treat you with respect when you see them? Do they or their office staff return your calls?
So, what’s important? Where do candidates stand on the issues that are important to my community? Do their policies align with my values? With incumbents, how have they improved my quality of life? I try to obtain the answer to all of these questions before and during the election season. Then I can make an informed decision on the candidates who gets my vote.
On election days, ask yourself, “How can you dictate if
you don’t participate?”
The candidates who get my vote must demonstrate genuine engagement, concern and commitment to the
populations they hope to serve. They have been actively involved and maintained a presence in the community long-term, above and beyond the electoral process.
Equally important is that they have an understanding of the collective strengths and challenges facing individuals, families, and groups they hope to represent.
These candidates will be fearless in guarding the rights of the common man-woman-child, and advancing policies that support this goal. If necessary, they are willing to stand alone, particularly during times of dissension, to defend and support what is just and right.
My candidates are servant leaders who I believe will wholeheartedly embrace collaboration, community engagement, and the greater good regardless of the cost. The candidates who get my vote, I pray, will never become so drunk with the wine of the world that they forget,’ but instead strive to represent the qualities of humility, truth, justice and dignity.