America stands poised to make history this coming November, when a record number of registered voters make their way to the voting polls. One of three things will happen this November: 1. Senator John McCain wins, and there is another four years of the Republican party in the white house. 2. Democrat Senator Hilary Clinton wins; ushering in a wave of change as the first female president of the United States of America. Or, 3. Democrat Senator Barack Obama wins; ushering in a change so wide spread, as the first African-American president of the United States of America.
The latter two occurrences would definitely set forth a change in America that has not been seen in a long while.
Whether a republican or democrat, it is obvious that this is no ordinary election year. Voter registration has reached heights it has not seen in years. Demographically, records are being broken. There are more young people voting and participating in the election process than ever recorded before. The turn out at town meetings and rallyís are phenomenal. The atmosphere is electric; charged with hope, excitement, and anticipation of great change.
What does all of this mean for the African American community? Itís not about voting for someone because of the color of their skin, or their gender. It should be about the issues at hand, and which candidate best represents each individualís own ideals and issues.
There is power in the African American vote. Here is the opportunity to make changes to oneís community for the better. Itís an opportunity to see schools improved; communities revitalized, and to have your voices heard, and make a profound difference for the next generation.
Everyone has an opinion; but not too many vote or, are even registered in some African American communities; especially in those communities that suffer the highest crime rate statistically and school drop out. There are many African Americans that don't know what a new bill or legislation may mean to their community. Many are not aware of the fact that, if you live in a certain district that has a high crime rate and high drop-out rate, that your schools are less likely to get funding. Also, if your community has a low voter turn-out, you may be passed over for vital aid.
One can go into any inner city neighborhood, that has been besieged with crime, drugs, etc., and take a look at the schools in that district. You will no doubt find, over crowding, outdated textbooks, too few computers, and the oneís that are there are outdated. The monies have been earmarked for communities that actively have a high voter turn out. If you donít vote, then your opinion does not count for much. If you donít vote, the problems in the community persists and gets worse with each passing day, month, year and election.
A community that votes is seen as a community that cares and is concerned with itís future. A community that does not vote is seen as a second class citizen, that will be helped if and only, there is a surplus of funds to go around.
The African American vote is a powerful privilege and right, that can effect the greatest change in the community. Voting can make a difference in the lives of a community. Individually, much can be done. Collectively, even more can be done to cause positive change, that will strike a blow to legislation and leaders that have habitually overlooked communities that struggle the most, and happen to have low voter turn out.
In New York City, there is a community that has been besieged with crime for a long time. Yet, there are working families that struggle each day to make ends meet. The majority of the community have given up or lost hope, because of circumstances and situations. The community has swelled in population over the years; but things have not gotten better. There is an elementary school and a junior high school within two blocks of one another. There are plans to close both schools. In the middle of this community sitís a building complex, with approximately seven hundred families. There are neighboring houses, with even more families. There is not another elementary or junior high in the immediate surroundingónone that are in walking distance.
Comprised of mostly African Americans, they have the opportunity to make a huge change for the betterment of their community by votingówisely for what is pertinent to the survival of their neighborhood.
There is power in the vote. The power to make a difference, change lives and to save communities. This could be any neighborhood in America. One can talk and give opinions and say what theyíre going to do, or would like to do. This years vote will definitely make history. However, if you arenít registered to vote, or have not participated in the voting process; then you cannot complain when the schools are closed and the community gets passed over for much needed funding.
Exercising oneís right to vote can change lives for ever. The power that comes with each vote, is the power to make change. Hopefully, we will all exercise our right and vote for the person(s), that will help us achieve our goals for not only ourselves and communities; but for the next generation of voters.
Find out who your legislators are. Know the issues that are most important to you. Find out who best supports what it is you believe, and can best serve you, your family and community. Make a wise and conscience choice this voting season. Make your vote count for something. Educate yourselves on the issues, and how it affects you, your family, and neighborhood. A wise voter is the one that actually votes.