Photo of a sign about "Bloody Sunday" in the foreground and the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the background, taken on a sunny day.
A historical marker for the "Bloody Sunday" attack where civil rights protestors were beaten by white state troopers and sheriff's deputies in Alabama while marching from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights. Photo courtesy of Tony Webster / Wikipedia

I voted a week before Election Day. And I hope you did, too.

I voted by mail-in ballot, like I did in the primaries. This time, I dropped my ballot in the ballot box at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.  

Our grandmothers, aunties, sisters, and a few grandfathers, fathers, etc., have fought against a racist society for Black folks, and for white women to be able to vote, and for all of them to be able to contribute more to this society than having to work meaningless, low-pay jobs, and for women to be nothing more than homemakers. So vote. Voting is important. Votes do count. I’m Black, everybody knows I’m Black, and votes do count.

If our vote doesn’t count, why do we always have to go through voter suppression like gerrymandering?

During the beginning of the 1900s, Alice Paul formed an integrated group of women to march for equality and to be able to vote. As well for men of color that were being discriminated against in wage, and they too were unable to vote!

It took 20 years before Congress finally gave in to allow women and people of color to vote. 

My grandmother cast her first vote at the age of 25 years and she cast her last vote before she died in 2000 at the age of 106.

It took the women’s suffrage movement 20 years of abuse, jail time, and marching for social reform and the right to vote!

Let’s not forget what women endured so we could have the right to vote. No, voting is not a privilege. It is a responsibility for all of us that want a “better America.”

So, let’s not let our grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins down by not voting! Black folks and white women in America for years were treated as second-class citizens. Today, we have a choice to make.

Aida Peery is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media.