A call to voters

Corey Givens

Dear Editor:

When does one finally wake up, stand up and speak up to say, “Enough is enough?”

How long do we remain idle in our efforts to change the injustices and inequalities that we face on a daily basis living in today’s society?

When do we take up the mantle and make it happen for ourselves, rather than waiting for the change to be served to us on a silver platter?

The harsh reality is that we cannot afford to wait any longer.

Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark did not go unnoticed in her efforts to purposely prevent another early voting site from being opened. This decision was not only an insult to the voters who seek the convenience of being able to cast their ballot at the polls; this was also an insult to democracy itself.

Yes, Pinellas has one of the highest voter turnout numbers in the state, but is that enough?

Yes, Pinellas has succeeded in getting a significantly high number of constituents registered to vote by mail, but is that really enough?

When you look beyond all the crumbs we’ve been fed to “keep us satisfied,” you begin to see the true meat of the issue: Pinellas County has failed to meet the needs of the community.

For far too long we’ve been too accepting of mediocre access to our right to vote. It seems to me that the Supervisor of Elections is under the impression that she does not have to answer to her constituents. She also thinks that by wooing us with record vote-by-mail statistics, we will forget that our request for early voting locations has virtually been ignored.

Pointing fingers have gotten us nowhere. And to be quite honest, neither have the press conferences. At some point, we have to begin matching our words with actions.

The fact still remains — we are voluntarily suppressing our voice and our vote by not making a way out of no way. In the most crucial election of our lifetime, it is important that we vote consciously and wisely. It’s twice as important that we mobilize collectively to get our family, neighbors and church members to the polls.

If they won’t help us, we will do what we have done for generations: We will get the job done ourselves. But we can’t do it alone. Our community must come together to ensure that come this November, we keep our country safe from bigotry, misogyny, racism and elitism.

This means putting egos and agendas aside to focus on the betterment of an entire people. We must utilize our church buses to get voters to the polls. Those of us who can must put on our walking shoes and canvass our neighborhoods door-to-door, educating and registering voters. We must tap into our resources and connect with our local elected officials to work on effective “get out the vote” strategies.

Friends, there is power in numbers. Let’s stop begging and start demanding! Let’s stop talking about it and start being about it!

Corey Givens Jr., President
Pinellas County Democratic Black Caucus

The Pinellas County Democratic Black Caucus meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Pinellas County Democratic Party Headquarters (2250 1st Ave N, St. Petersburg.

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