Why being woke doesn't translate to votes #StopAskingPermission
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We are forcing the candidates to ask the hard questions, but we aren't voting to change the laws that are the root of the issue.I'm all for running up at a rally and making a candidate answer the hard questions and start thinking of policies that can combat the issues that affect our community the most. However, I'm also down for a post-run-up strategy. President Obama said it best in his graduation speech to the students of Howard University, "You have to have a strategy. Not just awareness, but action. Not just hashtags, but votes." The way we engage with the government has changed. Ashley Williams told the Washington Post, "Voting is definitely one way, and I wouldn't insult my ancestors by telling people they shouldn't vote, but there are other ways of reimagining and restructuring the world that lies in organizing our communities." She's right for a myriad of reasons
It's now easier than ever to tweet a sitting President, watch the First Lady on Instagram or email a congressman or local city council member. There are numerous ways to get involved thanks to the various digital platforms that allow us to do so with ease. The accessibility of those who represent us might have changed from the Civil Rights Era, but the issues that plague us have not. Neither has our right to vote
In a survey done last year by the Black Youth Project , 70.8 percent of young black people believed that by participating in politics, they can make a difference. The survey also showed that 68.5 percent of black youth believed that the leaders in government care very little about people like them. With the increased mobilization of movements through Black Lives Matter and the increased number of us who are "woke," it's hard to believe that these statistics have decreased. If we include the number of times we have run up in a Trump rally or called Hillary out for trolling, it safe to say we would at least be at 85 percent. We are great at participating and voicing our concerns, but horrible at exercising our lawful right that was once deemed a privilege
The Black Youth Project shed light on some of the issues keeping us from the polls. The top reasons for us not showing up were:
- Not registered to vote
- Disinterested in politics
- Didn't like the candidates
- Didn't have proper identification
We have seen in the past what happens when people take a stand and make a decision to stop asking for permission and start making a difference. Don't let your difference just be a hashtag and tweet, let it be a strategy for reformation.