(TriceEdneyWire.com)—On Sunday, Aug. 6, our nation celebrated an auspicious anniversary. Unfortunately, it was an anniversary that was largely overlooked and undervalued. One could justify overlooking this anniversary by saying, “Current events are moving so fast that it’s hard to keep up with everything.” That reasoning may be true, but it hardly justifies overlooking, ignoring or failing to recognize such an important date in U.S. and African American history. For those who haven’t already guessed or who’ve given up altogether, August 6, 2017 marked the 52nd Anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
I believe that every African American should mark this date on our calendar and find a constructive way to celebrate it. And when I suggest a celebration, I speak of engagement in purposeful action to encourage others to understand our responsibility to vote and to make the commitment to vote in every election.
Those who disagree with my enthusiasm for voting and the election process should know that I have heard and understand the thinking behind most arguments against voting. From those short-sighted enough to believe “My one vote won’t count!” to those who ask “Since all politicians are the same, what will my vote change?,” I say you’re wrong! Your vote is the most important gift of citizenship you possess.
I could say that voting is payment of a debt to those who sacrificed themselves, often to their deaths, for our right to vote. I could add that our votes honor the struggles of our forbearers for the recognition of their humanity and full citizenship. Although both statements are valid and remain true, my appeal today is to your self-interest.