Reginald J. Clyne, Esq.

Reginald J. Clyne, Esq.

The history of White Supremacy in this the United States of America has been to keep African Slaves and their progeny oppressed and powerless. Our forefathers from Nat Turner, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis and Thurgood Marshall fought against this oppression. We gained the right to vote after the Civil War, and many Black people died exercising their right to vote as resurgence in White Supremacy resulted in the death of many former slaves who had the temerity to vote. During the brief period of the Reconstruction Era, we saw our first Black Senator, Hiram Rhodes Revel of Mississippi, who entered the Senate to much protest in 1870. He was followed by 15 Black men who entered Congress and the Senate over the next decade. White Supremacist retook the power after the brief period of Reconstruction and enacted several Jim Crow Laws that effectively blocked Black people from exercising their God Given Right as American Citizens to exercise their right as Americans to vote for the next 90 years.

After much blood and struggle, including Bloody Sunday, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965. I was four years old at the time. This right to vote was fought for and won during the lifetime of many of us who are still alive. White Supremacists know that their continued ticket to holding power is to suppress our vote, to discourage us from voting and to stop the immigration of Hispanics and Blacks from “shit hole countries” like Haiti, Jamaican, Honduras and Mexico to just name a few.

Some Black people are under the mistaken belief that the struggle to vote is over. Did we not have a Black President? For those, who think the struggle is over, I point to the plans of current Republicans to shorten the voting period, to bar ex-convicts from voting, to close polling places in Black neighborhoods, to change voting dates so Souls to Polls is stopped. Look at the recent loss of Stacey Abrams who sought the governorship of Georgia, who lost the election to Brian Kemp, in an election marred by voter suppression. Donald Trump present call to discredit mail-in ballots during a coronavirus pandemic is simply an attempt to stop people from voting. His idle thought that we should delay the November elections is simply an unveiled attempt to keep us from voting and retain his power.

As we celebrate the life of John Lewis, it is our continuing duty and obligation to fight the White Supremacist from suppressing our vote. One of the last words of John Lewis on his death bed was a request that we all vote. We must not let apathy or inconvenience or just laziness prevent us from voting. Our local elections are taking place as I write this editorial. We have the opportunity to support a Black woman, Melba Pearson, running for our State Attorney. If we elect Melba Pearson, we are voting for Black Lives. We can stop 27 years of the lack of prosecution of police officers who beat, rape and kill us with impunity. Do not let this history making opportunity pass us by.

We must all stop Donald Trump. His statements to protect the Confederate Flag and monuments is nothing short of regaling White Supremacy, bigotry, racism and the worse atrocities of America. This Country, in fact, the World cannot survive another four years of Donald Trump. Do not stay home, vote.

If you are like me, a person who is high risk for COV-19, then defy Donald Trump and mail in your ballot. If you are like some of my friends who do not trust mail in ballots, then get in line and vote. Do not let the lack of polling places, the weather, long lines, or even hurricanes stop you from voting. Let our voices be heard, let our votes be heard and let us continue the fight for democracy, the fight for equality, the fight for justice and let all know that Black Lives Matter. We can change the course of history by being engaged and by voting. Do not disgrace the blood of our ancestors by not exercising your right to vote.

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