We are on the precipice of either something great and tremendous in our world of politics or something very scary and dangerous in our state of affairs. To be sure, voting in this midterm’s general election will be the litmus test for either one or the other.
For the first time in our history, voters in Florida, Georgia and Maryland have the opportunity to elect its first African American Governors. Andrew Gillum in Florida, Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Ben Jealous in Maryland. While I celebrate Ben Jealous and Mississippi home girl, Stacey Abrams, I have a particular affinity for Andrew Gillum—as the candidate of choice for Floridians. Andrew Gillum is the best candidate for such a time as this! And, with our help, Democratic Nominee, Andrew Gillum, will be Florida’s next Governor.
Also worthy of note is candidate Sean Shaw, potentially, becoming Florida’s first African American, Attorney General. Let us not forget looming at our doorsteps Rick Scott, trying to unseat democratic Senator Bill Nelson, for a seat in Congress. The ability to yield favorable outcomes in each of the aforementioned races and obtain successes with proposed amendments happens when we are both intentional and strategic in our actions.
The power to make it happen is in our hands as citizens of a community and as voters. For us to engage in democracy is our civic duty. Now is the time for each of us to come off the sidelines and invest some skin in the game. Investing skin in the game is realized through various methods of voter engagement. No one method, in this process, will do if we are serious about over-coming obstacles and becoming victorious in November. Victory road will not ascribe to doing the same old things, the same old way. The path to victory will emanate from many sources. Those sources that we may know or not know — that are seemingly organized or unorganized, that are structured and unstructured– all involving and evolving around different people, places and things.
All methods to get the vote out is commendable. We see great energy from volunteers, individual foot soldiers, organic grassroots movements as well as organized social and civic voter mobilization groups. No one person, thing or organization can do it. It will take the sum of all our parts.
With few days remaining approaching general elections, each of us needs to look at what we can do individually and collectively to make the pendulum shift — to ink out a win– for those candidates that have our best interests at heart as well as that of our community.
As individuals, lets ensure all of our family and friends vote. Churches should consider polling members that are elderly, help them complete vote by mail ballots and use church vans to transport community members to the polls. Church leaders and ministries should walk through communities engaging and re-engaging residents bordering their churches. Community leaders, social and civic groups should consider sponsoring phone banks, canvass groups and assemblies explaining ballot amendments and issues germane to targeted communities. All entities should consider and participate in voter registration drives and voter education initiatives. Place education materials in the hands of voters, prior to the date to vote. Request voter guides from the Supervisor of Elections Office and Amendment Guides from the League of Women Voters. Voters should be prepared prior to entering voting booths as lines and voting ballots are expected to be long this November.
Please do not wait to be asked to get involved with a group or activity. In these elections, the stakes are too high. For we know, elections have consequences. Just look at the shenanigans of “#45” holding the highest office in the land.
We cannot do all things, but each of us can do something. There is lots to be done and various ways to accomplish it. You can participate in virtual phone banking and texting—all from the comfort of your home. If you are busy and know of activities and workers performing them, you may want to offer food and water in support.
Real foot soldiers see a need, go for it, and make things happen. Florida’s Black women, like Black women in Alabama — are expected to show up. And, all who are engaged can really make a difference — if we “get out the vote.” Floridians are on the brink of making history. The time for a change in the Sunshine State is now! And, if not now — when?
Linda M. Thigpen, Pembroke Pines Precinct committee-woman, will be opining as a guest columnist for the upcoming weeks offering tips and voter education information. Please contact her at (305) 804 7195 or email Lindathigp@aol.com for voter engagement activities.