When it comes to the 2016 elections, we are at last in the home stretch, and all I can say is:
Which is as good time as any to think about voting.
What does being able to vote mean to you? For me, it’s a reminder of how fortunate we are. As American citizens, we get to vote, a right that is not available to all people. So give yourself a pat on the back. For, in the words of Willie Velásquez,
“Your vote is your voice.”
For those of you who don’t know who Willie is, he is the subject of a new PBS documentary airing Monday, October 3rd.
More importantly, Willie was a great leader and activist in the Latino community. A Mexican American, he fought for the right to vote in Texas, at a time when the only way to vote was to pay a poll tax. Frankly, most Mexican Americans couldn’t afford to pay it. It also was a time when Texas Rangers, through sheer force and the strength of their numbers, made sure Latinos voted the way they were told to vote by their bosses.
Voter suppression you say? You don’t know the half of it. Which is why Willie founded the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project. It is still around today and making a difference.
Of course, Latinos weren’t the only ones being held back when it comes to voting. Let’s not forget how hard the suffragettes had to struggle to win the women’s vote, and what African Americans had to endure.
And here we are today, with the right to vote a done deal. Yet many of us have no plans whatsoever to vote in this election cycle. Sure, if you ask me, the 2016 presidential election is a bit wild, but that’s no reason not to vote.
I mean, if you don’t vote someone else is going to decide for you and take the power out of your hands. Can you think of anything crazier than that??
Well, whether you’re planning on voting or not (and I sincerely hope you will), I have a proposition for you.
In honor of Willie Velasquez and others like him, who have fought so hard to earn us the right to vote, please answer this question:
What does voting really mean to you?
What does it means to you personally to have that power and privilege? Do you care? Think about it and let me know.
Leave a comment here or better yet, write your own blog post about what voting means to you, and I’ll add a link to your page. I’ll also tweet it. Heck, I’ll share it with Latino Public Broadcasting, which co-produced the Willie Velásquez documentary and I bet they’ll tweet it, too. (@LPBMedia)
As for me, since turning 18, I have never missed an opportunity to cast my vote. And I’m not about to start now. Yep, I’m a voter for life!
For more information on WILLIE VELÁSQUEZ: YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE, check out my interview with the film’s producer, Hector Galán. It’s on the Huffington Post site!
WILLIE VELÁSQUEZ: YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE, a VOCES/PBS Election 2016 special, is directed by Hector Galán. It is a co-production of Galán Incorporated and Latino Public Broadcasting with major funding from the Corporation from Public Broadcasting. Presented by KLRU Austin and KLRN San Antonio. Premieres on PBS, Monday, October 3rd.