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Paying It Forward by Mark Lampkin

If you have the good fortune to be a citizen for whom voting in each election is an exercise that you participate in every 2 years, I say THANK YOU. For those of you who voted for the first time in the 2020 election because you realized the danger of having Donald Trump as U.S. President for another 4-year term, I say THANK YOU, and stay in the game.

For those of you who are “on the fence” about what is at stake in the 2022 election, I say:

PAY IT FORWARD!

That is the sentiment that our ancestors had in mind when they sacrificed everything 60, 80, 100-plus years ago just for you and me to have the life we navigate in today. They were selfless and unrelenting in their beliefs that their accomplishments, however small, would make a difference in the lives of those whom they likely would never meet. The barriers placed before them, just to exercise their “right to vote,” like poll taxes, threats by local law enforcement and even death, were not going to deter them from pressing forward – in the belief that it would make a difference for future generations of Black Americans.

The decisions we make in the 2022 election will have major repercussions…positive or negative, for future citizens in the USA. The young people who today face massive student loan debt, housing and food insecurity, and climate change is undeniable. Those who seek to profit from these entities, and there are many who do, would rather you “sit this election out” and trust them to lead us forward. They have shown where their hearts, and their wallets, lie.

Greed. Good vs Evil. Right vs Wrong. Free vs Fascism.

We are all participants in what will be determined for the next 2-3 generations. That is how we must view this election. No person of color should assume their place in society is secure, just because their bank balance is four or five decimal points to the left of zero. Remember Black Wall Street, Rosewood, etc. It won’t matter when they come for you.

The following quote from esteemed author, James Baldwin, reminds us that we are the embodiment of those who have come before us…and we MUST do our part, very consciously, to build experiences that will be the framework of history for our children, grandchildren, and those who will live in our communities.

The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.”

James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985

You. Me. Us. Our decisions will set the tone for how “history” will remember us. What will we tolerate? Where do we draw the line between what we will/not deem permissible? Everyone I know would fight to the death to protect their children…yet, how many of us are willing to fight for the LIFE of those same people we Love?

The new Supreme Court is likely to decide this session on whether to allow states to reverse voting rights protections in places like Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia. Imagine, if you can, what you read about South Africa while Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. Minority White rule over the Blacks who had no power to vote or decide how they lived. That is what we may be sleep-walking into should we ignore the power of our votes.

We MUST NOT allow apathy to disenfranchise our rights or to disrespect the sacrifices made by our ancestors. They paved the way for us…we must do that and more for those coming behind us.

Pay it FORWARD!