From 2014 trip

June 11th, 2014

It’s Sheryl, and by 10am today (on the 4th day of this 10 day trip) I think I may have found my purpose for this trip – I mean, there are many purposes for this trip. But this was my first A-HA moment. We are on our way today to Selma, AL, where some of the major plans, struggles, horrors and victories for black voter’s rights took place…
Blacks couldn’t vote.
It was their constitutional right to vote, but the state wouldn’t grant them permission (their state could deny their application to vote). The whites made it virtually impossible to vote. See this picture (above) of a sample voting questionnaire. Good luck if you can answer the first 3 correctly…. even today (and I’m not kidding in today’s society)… But question 4? Really? It was impossible. Blacks could not vote. And what they went through for their civil right and then their freedom to do so was not only tremendous but torturous.

My A-HA moment, and my embarrassment, is that I don’t vote. I’m registered to vote. I’m free to vote. But I’m too lazy to do it. I suck. I’m one of those who vote every 4 years in the presidential elections. Sometimes every-other year for a new governor. But not as often as I’m entitled to by my constitutional right. Why? Usually because I’m lazy.
Well, no more. Too many fought and DIED for me to have this right. I don’t care if I’m white and I’ve always had this right (come to think of it… women didn’t always have this right, either). It’s my civic duty. I have a daughter who will turn 18 this summer, as will many of her friends. It’s so important that every one of those young adults register to vote as soon as they turn 18. And not only them. Anyone I know that hasn’t registered to vote – I don’t care their age or their political views – MUST register to vote and then MUST execute that right. No more excuses.

If I get nothing more through my thick skull this week from this trip, it’s the realization that I have a duty that I owe so many before me that I can no longer just toss to the side anymore. I must vote. Too many sacrificed their lives for this simple act of justice and freedom.

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