This year, my daughter turned 19. For the first time in her life, she’ll be voting in the presidential election — but she’s not excited.
She’s disheartened by the choices on the ballot and a political system that doesn’t reflect her vision for the world she wants. But with so much at stake in this election, we will be voting — and no matter the outcome, we will be fighting for the world we believe in — the world our children deserve.
Both my daughter and I believe that those who can must vote in this election. But it’s critical that we realize it will take more than our votes to defend democracy and defeat white supremacy.
The truth is, right-wing voter suppression tactics could make it harder than ever for many Black, Brown and Indigenous people to vote. In the midst of a pandemic, polling places are being deliberately shut down in urban areas and the right to vote-by-mail is under attack. These racist tactics not only rob our communities of the hard-won right to vote, they also put our families at risk for COVID.
If this president decides not to leave — or if he succeeds in stealing the election using voter suppression tactics — our voices will need to be heard in other ways. And for so many who are denied the right to vote because of voter suppression, immigration status, or former incarceration, protest is the only way we can make our voices heard.
We need to be out in the streets and we need to organize virtually too. We need all hands on deck to disrupt business as usual and send a clear message that we want to live in a country where our voices do matter.
In our new COVID resource guide We Keep Each Other Safe, we’ve gathered some great advice and tips on how to vote safely — and how to protest safely — during a pandemic:
There are many reasons to vote. I’m voting for Ella Baker, Ann Moody, Ida B. Wells, and all the Black women who fought for the right to vote and used the ballot box to advance the struggle for Black freedom. I’m voting for the 220,000 Americans who lost their lives to this pandemic. I’m voting to protect our families from escalating racist violence and state repression. I am voting for a better world for our children.