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This Is Why We Vote

This Is Why We Vote

By Shawn Dove, Anthony Smith and Ron Walker

If ever there was a time for us to be the curators of the change we want to see, it is now. 2020 has brought us a horrible global pandemic and has underscored the 400 year-long pandemic of racial oppression and anti-Blackness in this nation, increasing the agency for BMA leaders like us to be the curators of the change we want to see with increasing clarity. An inherent part of being a curator of change is believing that we already have access to everything we need.

We have witnessed this in countless ways over the past seven months in the courageous first responders attending to those afflicted with the coronavirus; newly recognized essential workers whose valuable services and contributions were taken for granted pre-pandemic; the collective voices of protestors to racial injustice; and the more than $6 Billion that the philanthropic sector has pledged to advance racial justice and social change in the wake of the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and a long list of Black Americans that have been killed by law enforcement.

As Black men, we send our sincere praise and appreciation to Black women for always displaying courage and relentlessness on the frontlines of the struggle for racial justice and equity. Your courage and relentlessness have been especially apparent whenever voting rights are challenged or infringed upon.

Black people realize what’s at stake when we cast our votes. We are thoughtful and understand the ramifications and power of our vote.

This quality is called discernment – the ability to grasp and comprehend that which is obscure. It is the ability to recognize small details and accurately tell the difference between similar things. Discernment for Black people rests within our DNA. Back in the day it was called “mother wit’. And it has been our survival tool for generations.

Every time we cast our votes, we are honoring our great-grandparents, our grandparents, our parents – and all those who have made our country and communities better just for existing. We are voting to protect our families, our communities and every Black person living in this country. We are voting for a better future for our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and to make sure that every Black child has a future free from the injustices their ancestors have had to endure.

When you cast your vote on Election Day, know that you are casting your vote for all of us – the Black Community.

Shawn Dove is CEO of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA). Anthony Smith is Executive Director of Cities United. Ron Walker is Executive Director of Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC).