Civil Rights Activist John Lewis once said “I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama for the right to vote. I am not going to stand by and let the supreme court take the right to vote away from us.” The fight for African Americans to gain the right to vote was a long, hard and grueling process. The discipline, diligence, and determination these young men and women had were unmatched. The ridicule they went through just to be heard was unjust and unfair. The fight was not fought just so they can be heard; it was fought for our generation and generations to come.
“Why vote, they’re not going to listen anyway?” “Politics is a scam.” “Black votes don’t count nor do they matter. It’s just a waste of my time.” There is no doubt that these thoughts run through the minds of Black people everywhere. It doesn’t have to be said for one to think it. In past years data shows that the Black vote make up 20% of the democratic vote and the number is steadily increasing every year. We, as a race, need to stick together and relieve each other of this pessimistic mindset. We can make a change and that change can begin with us, one step at a time. Our race is a powerhouse and together we can accomplish anything. Instead we continue to allow negativity, fear, and the past to silence us. Truth be told, we are doing more harm than good. Our silence is an action. It is an easy sign of hopelessness and defeat. We have the voice; we just need to use it. Every vote is a step towards change. Let’s break the chains of disparity, deprivation, and inferiority that were put on us.
What is the importance of the Black vote? When president Obama was first elected president, he received over 90% of the Black vote which made it very difficult for anyone to defeat him. When he ran for reelection, those percentages dropped which made it very difficult for him to be reelected. African Americans have been given a platform such as sports, music, television, education, and, along with the help of the social media explosion, technology. These platforms allow us the opportunity to be heard, voice our opinions and influence others to vote. Blacks have more power now, more than ever, to catapult our candidates into office. The Black vote is important; it’s necessary for many politicians to step into their office. For some, our votes are down played and insignificant. Yet again, we matter, we have a voice and we have the power to make a change, but with great power come great responsibility. We, African Americans, must understand the importance of voting. We must understand what our ancestors went through for us to vote. We must understand what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meant when he said, “Give us the ballot”. It is painfully obvious that we must exercise our right to vote.
Everyone is given the same opportunity to register and to vote. If it’s not in your heart to vote make sure it’s not in your heart to complain. In the words of the United States of America 44th President, Barack Obama,” We are the hope of the father who goes to work before dawn and lies awake with doubt that tells him he cannot give his children the same opportunities that someone gave him. Yes, He Can. We are the hope of the woman who hears that her city will not be rebuilt, that she cannot somehow claim the life that was swept away in a terrible storm. Yes, She Can. We are the hope of the future, the answer to the cynics who tell us our house must stand divided, that we cannot remake this world as it should be. Yes, We Can! Yes, We Can! Yes, We Can!” From this point on, we, African Americans, have a voice. We will use our voice to make a change. We will not be defeated. We will not be silenced. I encourage you to take a stand and vote. Black votes matter.
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