(NNPA)—In 2008, we voted for change. We voted for policies that would protect individuals over corporations, we voted for a health care system that would work for all of us, and we voted to move this country forward—and we did it together. It is time that we do something together, again, and that is vote on Nov. 2. There is too much at stake to stay at home, quite simply the future of our economy, our education system and our nation are at risk. It is time for us to stand together to vote and ensure that OUR agenda gets through Congress. We did it in 2008, and we need to do it again in 2010.
In the 2008 election, we saw a level of voter participation unparalleled in our nation’s history, particularly with young people and communities of color. For the first time, Black women had the highest voter turnout rate among all racial, ethnic and gender groups. The turnout rate of young Black voters was higher than that of young voters of any other racial or ethnic group. Mid-term elections in 2010 will change the direction of this country if we don’t stand up and get out to the polls and vote. We have already seen dwindling turnout in primaries across this country. If we don’t show up to vote on Nov. 2, we will not be able to move this country forward and we will not be able to make this country work for all of us—not just for the privileged.
History has taught us not to blindly believe what we see and not to indiscriminately adhere to what we are told. Engaged voters in 2008 showed that our nation believes in hope and the possibilities of the American Dream. For too many, that dream remains unfulfilled. While schools crumble, the prison population soars and hospitals close, we edge closer to being the first generation to be worse off than our parents. Small businesses continue to shutter on the brink of extinction, crushing daily the entrepreneurial spirit of thousands who embraced the American Dream.
We all can do something to ensure that the forces of progress will continue to move forward. You can visit our Get Out The Vote portal at www.naacp.org/gotv where you or your family can make phone calls, set up times to go door to door, attend a local event, and many other efforts to get out the vote and make our voices heard.
We must continue what we started in 2008—to put schools before wars, to fight against massive joblessness and to fight massive tax breaks for the nation’s wealthiest denizens. We must be as aggressive as parents fighting for their children’s lives, or as individuals fighting for their own lives, because we are fighting for our lives. We must be as inclusive as our long-standing vision for the 21st century, because it is here. Our time is here, our time is now, and on Nov. 2, we must return to the voting booths to ensure that freedom, justice and equal opportunity rings for all throughout our great nation.
(Roslyn M. Brock is chairman of the NAACP board of directors.)