Black Lives Matter and is compounded into Black Power when we vote!
GenerationNext’s exclusive talk with Senator Cory Booker
During a recent stop in Broward County, on his “I’m With Her [Hillary Clinton] Campaign” to increase young voter’s registration , we [GenNext] had the opportunity to discuss a few pertinent issues that plague apathetic Millennials with the extremely down-to-earth, charismatic New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.
You may recall Sen. Booker’s passionate speech at the DNC earlier this season. His charm on television is apparent in-person. From his initial stop at the Blackstar Unisex Salon on 31st Ave, he made individual connections with everyone he met, often times making jokes with the youth while getting their haircuts and grabbing patron’s smartphones to go live on their social media accounts to encouraging voting.
Over a glass of not-so Crystal Light Lemonade at the reknowned Betty’s Soul Food Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, the playful Senator, also a vegan, became increasingly serious when we discussed the meat and potatoes of our future.
On criminal injustices: “There’s a trap. The trap is that if you’re African American, you are four times more likely to be arrested for drugs than if you’re white, and there’s no difference in drug use or drug dealing.” He continued, “That means there are four more times the amount of African Americans going to prison, only to be re-leased and have their voting rights taken from them. It affects poverty rates and opportunities.”
He emphasized that we must attack the criminal justice system, and that’s done by voting and putting people in power who believe in equality for all races.
Senator Booker went on to explain his position, “President Obama gave a great speech. Millennials don’t understand their true power. There are many real issues determined by Congress and your votes decide who makes those decisions.”
On apathetic adults who feel like their votes don’t matter anyhow; He shared the “Bryan Stevenson: You Gotta Vote!” YouTube video with us at the table which dispels the argument that our votes don’t make a difference.
Stevenson compelling states in the 1:14 video: you have to be really privileged to not vote. You cannot care about human rights and sit at home. There are lives at stake. Prisoners who may be executed depending on who wins the elections. Sick people who may die depending on who provides health coverage to them or not. Thousands facing deportation whose freedom is decided on who wins our votes.
“If you don’t want to vote for yourself, vote for them. Vote for the marginalized, those suffering from oppression and inequality, who need to have representation,” said Stevenson.
This fight is bigger than ourselves! We, GenerationNext, believe that a large majority of millennials seem to live with the ideal that “the world revolves around them” and them only. We are plagued by the need for instant gratification. This is perpetrated by the social media desire to have more ”likes” rather than focusing on the substance of issues that are effecting our community.
Senator Booker piggybacks, “It saddens me to think that young people don’t realize that they can truly shape and change this world. The outcome of this elections determines a lot of the issues folks are out there protesting about right now.
While he supports Colin Kapernick and other young African Americans that protest, Senator Booker states, “The most powerful thing you can do in the next two months is deter-mine who the next president will be. If you are protesting and voting you are manifesting your full power. The fullness of our activism is needed in order to make change in America.”
“It’s an insult not to vote. This country has to live up to its promise to have liberty and jus-tice for all. Grab a friend, post your voting status, your Black life matters and your vote does too. Be more than a temporary activist “Ride or die for the vote.”
We must not wait until another innocent African American becomes one more hashtag before we decide to exercise our constitutional rights and if you have lost your right to vote, don’t be defeated. Take at least two people to the polls to vote in your place.
We are stronger together, God bless America.
Photos and story contributed by Arriale, Broderick and Byler Henry (Members of the Westside Gazette Generation Next).