2008 Photo by Hilary McHone
I just got back from visiting my family down south, and all I can think about is that the Civil Rights Movement was only fifty years ago. Americans have the shortest memories and even shorter attention spans. My parents and my aunts and uncles marched in Birmingham for voting rights in the 60’s. Now, the GOP is chipping away at voting rights and it seems that no one is stopping them.
Voting and civic duty are important in my family. Six years ago, I volunteered at voter’s registration drive in East Harlem. My sister worked on a campaign for a Georgia State Senator while she was still in college. My uncle Gene is currently running for City Council in Huntsville, Alabama.
My dad just asked me yesterday, “How far is your polling place from your apartment?” How many of you have had a friend or family member ask you that?
Voter suppression is no joke. There are new laws in Pennsylvania. Poll taxes are back. Republicans in Columbus, Ohio are claiming that early voting favors African Americans. Where is the activism to get out the vote?! Diddy’s Vote or Die is dead. He would rather be a judge where people vote for the next American Idol, but I digress. Rock The Vote is still alive but is quiet compared to the 2008 election. I’m so glad that Color of Change is bringing awareness.
Last summer, Alternet listed the 11 states that are trying to keep poor, Black, and student voters from voting. If you live in these states or know someone who does, make sure they know what to bring when going to vote in November.
- Kansas (Kansas City, KS peeps!)
- Wisconsin ( Stop Todd Akin!)
- Florida (The GOP ain’t scared to admit what they doing.)
- Ohio ( My fellow University of Cincinnati alums better know what’s up! )
- Missouri (If Nelly has ties to his hometown, he should have the St. Lunatics to get out the vote.)
- Alabama (My relatives in Birmingham are no strangers to this, unfortunately.)
- Tennessee (Vanderbilt, Meharry, Tennessee State students and alums should be on the voter registration game.)
- South Carolina (Clemson, South Carolina State, the retirees in Hilton Head, stand up!)
- Texas (Prairie View, University of Texas in Austin, all the tech startups based in Austin, take note.)
- Maine (The Northeast is not immune. Bates and Bowdoin students, get your voter prep on!)
- Rhode Island (It’s a small state, but every suppressed vote doesn’t count. (RISD students, stop creating for a second and get out the vote, artfully.)