In the lead up to the 2018 US mid-term elections, Oprah Winfrey campaigning for Georgia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, while delivering a fiery, impassioned speech, recounted a 1946 voter suppression story of how one man was denied and robbed of his right to vote.
Listen to Winfrey's incredibly powerful, sad and heartfelt story about how a fellow human being, Otis Moss Sr.'s was cruelly and despicably treated when all he wanted to do was to exercise is constitutionally protected right to vote.
"For anybody here who has an ancestor who didn't have the right to vote, and you are choosing not to vote -- wherever you are in this state, in this country -- you are dishonoring your family," Winfrey said in Marietta, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb.
"You are disrespecting and disregarding their legacy, their suffering and their dreams, when you don't vote."
Winfrey continued, "Every single one of us -- every single one of us -- has the same power at the polls, and every single one of us has something that, if done in numbers too big to tamper with" -- she paused for resounding, prolonged applause by the audience -- "cannot be suppressed and cannot be denied."
She added, "we see injustices, big and small, all around us every single day of our lives. And I know it's easy for a lot of people to feel that you have no power against those injustices, but this is what I'm here to tell you: This land was made for you and me."
In a direct call to women, Winfrey said it hasn't even been 100 years since women had the right to vote, and called for women to honor the legacy of those who fought for the right.
"I'm here today because of the men and because of the women who were lynched, who were humiliated, who were discriminated against, who were suppressed, who were repressed and oppressed, for the right for the equality at the polls," Winfrey said. "And I want you to know that their blood has seeped into my DNA, and I refuse to let their sacrifices be in vain. I refuse."
I the video below, CNN anchor Brooke Baldwinn interviews Otis Moss Sr's. son, Reverend Otis Moss Jr. who was 11 years old then, reflects on his fathers unjust experience. He speaks of how voting provides hope for change and a more just, better and equitable society.
Michael Moore appearing on MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell put it best. He basically said, "You hold the power over this election". These words apply to all elections. But his explanation and reasoning was incredibly powerful. Watch the video below, it's well worth your time.
Michael Moore's key points:
The non-voters are the largest political party in the country.
Donald Trump got 63 million votes in 2016.
Hillary Clinton got 66 million votes in 2016.
There were 100 million non-voters in 2016.
Non-voters are the largest political force.
You, the non-voter have more power than you think.
You, the non-voter hold the power over any election. You control it.
You, the non-voter can stick it to the man. You can make huge history.
Those in power are beholden to the rich and wealthy.
The top 1% control our country, buy our politicians & our elections.
The last thing they want is for you the non-voter to show up and have your voice heard.
Now do you understand why Otis Moss Sr. was denied his right and robbed of his vote?
There are so many more non-voting poor people, working people and young adults than rich people.
You, the non-voter hold the power.
You, the non-voter control the outcome of any election.
You, the non-voter must exercise your right to vote.
So, like Otis Moss Sr. make every effort and get out and vote ...
Because when you vote, you have the power to protect voting rights. To make sure the criminal justice system treats everyone equally under the law. To strengthen laws that protect women in the workplace from harassment – and make sure they’re paid equally ...
When you vote, you have the power to make it easier for a student to afford college and harder for a disturbed person to shoot up a classroom. When you vote, you have the power to make sure a family keeps its health insurance.
If you take that power and vote, something powerful happens. Change happens. Hope happens. And with each new step we take in the direction of fairness and justice and equality and opportunity, hope spreads. Go vote!
With voter suppression flourishing at it's all time high, it's each and everyone's individual responsibility to ensure that the right to their voice is heard and that their vote counts.
Note: If you are having a problem registering and/or trying to vote, there are a number of organizations out there that can help you to overcome any challenges. They include VoteRiders, HeadCount, National Voter Registration Day, Voter Resource Center, Democracy Works, Vote.org, Voto Latino, Rock The Vote, Spread The Vote.
If, like most people, you bitch and complain, then why wouldn't you want your voice heard when it matters the most, by voting?
Call to Action:
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Mark Blaise is an idealistic, socially conscious content creator on a mission to raise people’s awareness while promoting social justice for all. He enjoys writing inspiring and thought provoking posts on social issues, The Golden Rule, personal growth and other amazingly helpful "stuff". His goal is to inspire you to grow and to be a better person by spreading more kindness, showing more compassion, doing unto others, giving back, contributing and helping make the world a better place, while living a truly happy, more fulfilling and inspired life.
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