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Get Up, Get Out, and Cast Your Ballot

By Pamela Garcia

Get Up, Get Out, and Cast Your Ballot

Get Up, Get Out, and Cast Your Ballot

The events of the past 10 months have been like being caught in a riptide. You have to take a deep breath and focus to figure out the direction of a riptide before you make an attempt to get out of it. If you don’t do these things you could drown.

2020 started off in deep uncharted waters. So many of us had our vision and mission ready. We were going to conquer 2020 with everything in us. Then, Kobe Bryant and 8 other people (including his daughter) were killed when his helicopter crashed on January 26, 2020. This must have been a sign of things to come, because shortly after that the world was struck with COVID-19

COVID-19 is the deadly virus that is wreaking havoc on America with Black Americans at the greatest risk. America is currently up to 70, 000 cases daily. 1 in 920 African Americans are dying from this deadly disease. As if having to shelter in place, wear masks, and being isolated from friends and family to prevent this virus has not been enough, the President had a very lackadaisical stance on preventing the spread of the virus which may have led to more deaths due to neglect, than America should have had. In the midst of COVID-19 Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd were killed by law enforcement. The most igniting of these killings was that of George Floyd. Minnesota police officer Derrek Chauvin kept his knee on Georoge Floydd’s throat for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while the world watched via social media. This led to nationwide protests on a scale that America had never experienced. Protestors were treated unfairly at times, which led to civil unrest.

In the midst of all of this our voting rights were threatened by our nation’s leaders occupying some of the highest positions in our government. Some of them have done all they can do to suppress the vote. They have spread the rhetoric that voting by mail leads to fraud and also believes no votes should be counted after election day. Let’s not allow our voices to be silenced with these antics. No matter who you vote for, voting is your legal right.

Voting is a right that African Americans fought for in this country. Many of our ancestors died in this fight so that we could make decisions about who leads the United States. They took on a great task in the face of their own fear and violence by white nationalist and law enforcement. All of that caused President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law. This law made poll taxes, literacy tests, and the forcing of Blacks to recite the entire Constitution of the United States in order to be allowed to cast their votes illegal. As a people we must push through this.

Voting is not just our right, it is our responsibility. Just like our ancestors, we have to cast our ballots by any means necessary. Waiting in a long line, or walking past white nationalist as they attempt to intimidate you at the polls on election day (Tuesday, November 3, 2020) should not keep you from voting. If our ancestors did it, surely we can do it too. Focus your thoughts, study your ballot and get up, get out and cast your ballot. It is not just your right, it is your responsibility. It not only affects how you will live now, but how your children and your children's children will live once you are gone.

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