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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

On Voting by Annette Jones White

During the week we honored Dr. King,
I often found myself remembering
SCLC's Citizenship School —
A proponent of the vote as a tool.
Many youths went there for a week-long class;
I learned how to teach my elders to pass
The registrar's reading and writing test
So their votes could be cast with all the rest.

I recall how back then youths took the lead
Voter registration or some other need.
With much admiration I'm proud to say
Youths are stepping to the forefront today.
Beginning in Ferguson, youths took command
Of a quest for justice that spread through the land.
That movement, multicultural in scope,
Is self sustaining and gives us all hope.
But lately, I heard some young people say
"I'm not going to vote, not ever, no way."
They say by voting nothing is won,
That riots and violence get things done.
Some who have not registered say they won't;
Some registered who can vote say they don't.
It is clear that they do not understand
What they can do with a ballot in hand.
Let us remind those youths that people died
So that we could vote and help to decide
The vital issues that affect us all
And not have others always make the call.
When you don't exercise your voting right
You forfeit your voice, diminish your might.
When those in office are corrupt without doubt,
Your vote could be the one to turn them out.
To all of those who look but do not see
The vote can be two things and so can we:
Nonviolent weapon when we choose it.
Potential world changer when we use it.

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