Today is Civil Rights Day, also known as Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Today is a reflection of great leaders, along with historical moments that lead to our right to vote. As we reflect on the holiday, we should also consider the work that still needs to be done for racial equality. If voting is part of our fundamental right, why is the process disproportionate for black and brown voters. Why are there bills being put into place to silence us, verse include us? Today's blog will get honest and have a real discussion while we unpack things that need to be said and some need to hear. Like, I said earlier, it's about reflection, and to do that, we have to talk about it, so let's begin.
Building Power to Make Racial Justice Real
Having power is within us; we use it every day when making decisions that either impact us directly or others. Currently, our government leaders are using their power to influence the laws surrounding our right to vote. The simplicity of having a right to cast a vote on a ballot is under assault. Instead of refusing to talk about it, we must acknowledge what's going on. It's more than just having a conversation, but it is also a reflection of the country's history and how far our ancestors have come with making significant sacrifices so we can have the same rights as all. Our ancestors were good enough to breed with but not good enough to see an alphabet. Trying to remove our right to vote speaks volumes of some of our elected officials using their power to suppress our votes. Our elected officials only have power because we chose to give it to them. We need candidates that are relatable not only in morals and values but in ethnicity too.
The minority party, the Republicans, are trying to have control over the United States by striking people off the roles, putting polls in places the majority of people don't have access to, suppressing the African American votes, gerrymandering, etc. For clarity, if you are a Republican reading this, I'm not implying all Republicans are bad, nor that I don't like them. Some of my closest friends are Republicans. My words come from what I am seeing the Republican party act in a disheartening way. Before we chose to become Democrats, Independents, or Republicans, we were citizens first. We were people who wanted to make a difference in our community and state with the simplicity of casting our name on a vote, a vote that could make a difference for a family, community, or race. When President Trump realized he lost the election with 11,780 votes, he didn't say count the votes; he said find the votes. He wanted someone to find this magic number of votes so he could win the election—That's not how someone should be using their power. We cannot sustain democracy if one party cant accept defeat. The suppression of voting rights is a problem that predates Trump. He may have been the recent catalyst, but he didn't create the original problem.
Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act
We remember great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, John Lewis, and so many others because it's not easy fighting for change. It's not easy speaking up when someone can use their power to silence you. When Marting Luther King died, we didn't need to know who killed him to know who killed him. It was an unfortunate event, and because of his bravery to constantly be the voice for the black community and march for equal justice for all. We continue to remember him, John Lewis, and many others. Not being included in a vote implies ignorance, non-inclusion, and division, keeping us undereducated. The more problems we avoid, the more consistency there is in racism. When our leaders create legislation that would keep us silent, we question what you see when you see me that creates a threat? Why is one group of people awarded a fair chance and equal opportunity but not all? The bottom line, we must support each other despite our political affiliation. It's about supporting what's right, a fundamental right.
"Do not get lost in the sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year; it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble"
-John R. Lewis
Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act would massively reshape the landscape of voting and election administration in the United States. The Freedom to Vote Act would standardize voting election laws across the country. It would significantly expand voting access, including reversing the effects of dozens of new state-level voting restrictions passed this year. When our elected officials consider how to vote with on this bill, I hope they consider whether they side with those who fought for our most sacred right as Americans, the right to vote, or do they side with those who fought against it. How will you be remembered? We chant Black Lives Matter because all can not matter if part of the whole does not matter. All lives can not matter if black lives don't matter.
Working to Win, or Actually Winning
Sometimes we should consider whether I am part of the solution or part of the problem? It's a healthy and honest conversation that reveals fact vs. fiction. Power comes with questioning what's right and wrong. Not only questioning but also addressing the problem head-on. Why are we still fighting for voting rights legislation when "rights" is included directly in the name. Regardless of the obstacles and barriers, we must not be discouraged or give in. We must strive to be better and do better. Election fraud only became relevant when politicians didn't like how we were voting. In order to win you, the process includes casting your vote. When you choose not to vote, you get the government you get. You also give power to those who didn't earn your vote. If we are kept silent during election time, what does that say about the other areas that plague the black and brown community? We must stand for those who were uprooted from their native country and language, stand for those who weren't allowed to read, stand for what's right. Fight for what shouldn't be hidden. We have influence, and it begins with the words we speak. We are in a pandemic with a virus of the body and the mind. We can't afford to be complicit. As I make my exit, I ask again. Are you part of the solution or part of the problem? Till we meet again.
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