“The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society and we’ve got to use it.”
– John Lewis


Today is officially voting day! If you haven’t already cast your early vote and these words mean nothing to you, that’s a problem. Why? Because we live in a democracy in which the people get a say about who has the power to make decisions on their behalf. These decisions affect our health, safety, overall well-being, and quality of life. Not voting is basically your way of saying, “Let whoever do whatever in my community. I don’t care.”


But of course, you care! Every night, when you watch the news and shake your head at the rise in senseless murders and other violent crimes in the city, you say, “This doesn’t make any sense. Somebody needs to do something!”


When you’re driving in your car and have to pray you don’t hit a pothole in the street or have to struggle to see the barely-there lane stripes on the highways, you say, “Somebody needs to do something about this!”


When your child’s school sends home a letter saying that they had to cut out the school bus serving your neighborhood, lay off the crossing guard, increase the class sizes by 50 percent, and cut out the school’s athletics and music programs, you say, “This is crazy! Who is letting things like this happen?”


So, yeah. You do care. But yelling at the television and voicing your dissatisfaction to your friends and co-workers doesn’t make a bit of difference. At the end of the day, things will remain the same. Until you vote.


Voting is your chance to go beyond complaining about things and actually play a role in choosing someone to take the lead whom you believe will make a difference. If you don’t choose, someone will choose for you. If you don’t think about who you want in office, someone will think for you. When is the last time you were okay with someone else thinking and choosing for you?


If you are a Black American, it’s easy to forget that this nation did not always allow you to have a voice in who was in control of your community. Failing to remember this can cause you to take the vote for granted and skip out on opportunities like today. People lost their lives so you could vote. You owe it to them to take advantage of what they fought for you to have rather than tossing it aside.


If you haven’t already cast your vote during early voting, make a plan to go vote today at your assigned polling location. Not sure of whether you’re eligible to vote or where to go to vote? Click here.