Last month, Rev. Hightower wrote about the Civil Rights Act signed in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act signed in 1965. In 2008, Barack Obama was elected president, and Sen. Mitch McConnell said, “We are going to do all we can to make President Obama a one-term President.”

Part of that effort was voting restrictions enacted under the guise of eliminating voter fraud, an all but non-existent problem. The real goal appears to be suppression of minority voting.

Rev. Hightower concluded his column last month with this sentence:  If they come for the Voting Rights Act first, the next logical step is the Civil Right Act.  

We have to determine within ourselves “Forward together! Not one step back!”

The good news is we have a chance to fix this now.

Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California Berkeley and author of “Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few,” said, “We need to move to the next stage of voting rights – a new Voting Rights Act that renews the law that was effectively repealed by the conservative activists on the Supreme Court.” By the way, the vote was 5-4.

A new Voting Rights Act should also set minimum national standards providing automatic voter registration when people get driver’s licenses, allowing at least two weeks of early voting and taking districting away from the politicians and putting it under independent commissions.

Reich went on to say voting isn’t a privilege, it’s a right, and we must not let anyone’s vote be taken away.

The same way they fight to preserve the Second Amendment (right to keep and bear arms) we need to fight for the preservation of our vote.

National NAACP President and CEO Cornell Williams Brooks said, “We must fight as hard today as those before us fought 50 years ago to guarantee unfettered access to the ballot box. The stakes are too high to be complacent!”

The way to overcome evil is with good.

The way to really make change that leads to transformation is through the ballot box, and as it’s been said, all politics is local.

With that said, you need to get involved and engaged in the process by:

1. Joining the local NAACP ($30 mailed to: NAACP, P.O. Box 6002, Peoria, IL 60601) or an organization like it.

2. Getting informed about the candidates, not just the presidential ones by going to votesmart.org or sites like it. Do your research. Also remember this, there are no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.

3. Helping in your local get-out-the-vote efforts by making sure your circle of influence is informed and voting in every election.

If there was ever a time to stand up, to be seen, to speak loud and to be heard, it’s now! It’s not about them and theirs; it’s about us and ours. We have to look at Peoria as a whole as our community. The key to rebuilding our community is by one vote at a time as evidenced in our at-large city council election.

Your vote matters!

With that said, it’s time to get fired up and ready to go because silence is not golden and not an option!

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