Why I, a child of the civil rights era, am voting in 2020

By Queen Jackson, MoveOn member

What motivates me to be an activist comes from my family. It comes from witnessing the civil rights movement when I was a child. My parents would sit for hours talking about the issues, explaining the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement. They would swear to fight Barry Goldwater for the post of president and his “Return to Africa” ​​campaign. My sponsor, who was also my great aunt, founded the NAACP chapter in my hometown of Oroville, California, where she also worked as a poll worker at every election. These were the many black churches that preached and fundraised for the civil rights movement. He sang “We Shall Overcome” at every Sunday morning church service. The example taught her the importance of being aware of the issues and getting involved in the community.

I come from a family of activists. At the height of the movement, after the images of protesters being knocked down by water from fire hoses, community members in my town became outraged. Most of the African American elders in my community have emigrated from the south, and like the south, through the churches, the adults came together and organized a march in solidarity with Dr King and all the people demonstrating in the south. . My father had learned that the sheriff’s department could hurt us if we walked, but being who he was, he wasn’t going to let that deter us. Rather, he informed all the pastors, congregations and community members what he had learned and since the adults were planning to bring their children, they decided that we would instead walk in the middle of the night.

One night my six siblings and I were awakened from our sleep. While my mother was dressing my younger siblings, we were told, the older ones, “Get up and put on our clothes. We’re going to go out. ”My parents explained to us where we were going and why, on the drive to the meeting point, the march started. the south side street of Oroville in the middle of the night with a large number of people from our community, all carrying signs calling for equal rights, the end of Jim Crow and the national legalization of the vote for all citizens It was an experience that touched me deeply, which I always carry in the inner sanctum of my soul. My parents, my elders and my experiences from my youth have taught me the importance of standing up for what is right and what is right. what I believe in.

A few years later, during the Civil Rights era, my uncle, along with my aunt who was also his wife, as a campaign manager, ran for mayor in Berkeley, California. My father wanted two of my six siblings and I to experience the inner workings of a political campaign, so he took us out of school for two weeks and sent us to live with our aunt and uncle. in Berkeley. With our cousins ​​in Berkeley, we worked tirelessly knocking on doors, handing out flyers, blocking doors, calling people and filling envelopes. On election night we lived history when my uncle won and became the first African American mayor of Berkeley.

When Obama ran in 2008, in honor of my father who died in 2001, I wanted to help him elect him. So I joined the campaign as a volunteer and did some phone banking and texting, but when he won it felt like we had finally made it so I started to become complacent in my activism compared to before his tenure. Over time I noticed the disrespectful things going on and said about him and his family. Things we would never see or hear from his predecessors, but when Donald Trump won in 2016 my blood boiled. When I saw the young people come out of their classes the day after the election chanting “not my president”, I was there with them in mind. He is not and never will be the president of all Americans. He is the president of his base and his base only, and that is not fair. When he won, I joined the resistance. I joined MoveOn.

As a MoveOn member, I signed and shared petitions with my community on social platforms, moderated MoveOn, and was part of the MoveOn support team. More recently, for this election cycle, I am a vote mobilizer where I bring together a team of people to make sure they have voting plans and can get other people to make plans to vote. I have also followed people who have signed up to become vote mobilizers to make sure they are preparing their team. These conversations happen by text, but it’s never just a “yes, I’m ready” or “no, I’m still preparing” kind of conversations. These interactions are a bit more complex. People will respond and tell me that they have been laid off, laid off, are now dependent on food banks, or are about to be kicked out. You have to listen to people because they are in pain, they are afraid and they need someone to talk to.

The fear and despair that people feel is a direct result of this administration, which is why I support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Joe Biden has the experience and knowledge to get our country back on track. He has the compassion to understand what people are feeling and what people are going through because he has been there. He knows what it’s like to live in the poorest part of town. When Joe says, “I want to restore the soul of our nation. Heal the soul of our nation, ”I know that’s what we need. We need healing.

Like so many others, I cannot ignore this electoral cycle. I will vote because so many people gave their lives for our right to vote. I vote because it’s my voice. I think of all my ancestors who could not vote. I vote because I have to.

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Members of MoveOn and vote mobilizers like Queen want to make sure we can remove Donald Trump from office. Voting mobilizers are assembling teams of at least 10 eligible voters in battlefield states to ensure people intend to vote in November. Together we will create a better future.

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