As of the first day of voting in the Georgia runoff election between Senator Warnock and candidate Walker, over 239,000 people stood in long lines, some for hours, waiting to cast their vote. These are the same people who two years ago stood in line and elected a Black man and a Jewish man to the U.S. Senate, giving President Biden and Vice President Harris control of the U.S. Senate.
Although Georgia lawmakers have enacted voter suppression laws — such as prohibitions against giving people food or water in lines waiting to vote; reduced ballot pickup boxes; efforts to stop churches from assisting voting on Sundays — and the failure to elect a Black woman as governor for the second time, the people, Black and White, continue to vote.
The “Black Votes Matter” campaign has not let up, but appears determined to overcome any suppression efforts put in front of them.
In the recent midterm elections, we still had too few people bother to vote. In Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed students and teachers and the governor refused to take actions against assault weapons like the one used in that massacre, at least 45% of those residents did not vote to remove the governor when they had a strong anti-gun alternative for governor on the ballot.
What we learn from the state of Georgia is that we must focus more on motivating and activating the strength of our numbers and not focus on what is being done against us.
Georgia has implemented what Dr. King said in May of 1957, “Give us the ballot” and we will elect judges and legislators who will pass laws for us. Isn’t it time that the rest of us followed the Georgia example and got about the business of making Dr. King’s statement a reality where we live, just as the people of Georgia are doing?
While the elections are over, our issues and challenges are not and some would have us accept the results and not keep working and planning for the next two years.
Clearly, the people of Georgia and those areas where we did have wins like Pennsylvania sending its first Black woman to Congress, or Maryland electing its first Black governor, are reminders of what we can do and should be doing. Let’s not get away from the business of planning for the next election now. We, too, can demonstrate that ALL Votes Matter.
Dr. John E. Warren is the publisher of the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper.
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