I know what you’re thinking: What, vote now? Do you know what month it is?
Well, if you live in San Francisco, summer is (hopefully) just beginning. But yes, I do know what month it is, and no, I don’t mean vote now; what I mean is: think about our right to vote.
We’re lucky. California isn’t one of the 12 states that have implemented restrictive voting laws that – let’s face it – are meant to exclude lots of folks from voting. This issue – lost on most – really, really, has to be important to us Alzheimer’s advocates in ways you may not have imagined. I’ll explain, but first, I have to begin with the very first Alzheimer’s Policy Forum I attended in Washington, DC many years ago. Georgia Congressman John Lewis gave the keynote speech.
You may not know of John Lewis, but he was a formative figure in the Civil Rights movement – and has the scars to prove it. He’s also emerged as an Alzheimer’s advocate. Yeah!!!
Obviously, I’ve been following him ever since, but his latest opinion piece in the August 26 edition of the New York Times “A Poll Tax by Another Name” caught my attention.
He highlights that “the fundamental right to vote is still subject to partisan manipulation. The most common new requirement, that citizens obtain and display unexpired government-issued photo identification before entering the voting booth, was advanced in 35 states and passed in Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri and nine other states “” despite the fact that as many as 25 percent of African Americans lack acceptable identification.”
What does this mean to us?
We citizens have power – not as much power as we would like – but still power. It’s through the voting booth. If we exclude members of our society who have a view about what our society should support, what happens? Who’s in control? And who are the members of society that are being excluded?
We all need a voice”¦.we know that thousands in America are buying a ticket to the Alzheimer’s future, however reluctantly. We know that African Americans have a greater risk of the disease. Don’t we all have a right to express our opinion in the voting box?
Advocacy equals change. We can write, we can speak, we can hold rallies. But, ultimately, it’s our vote that counts. Let’s be sure we ALL CAN vote.