From our Development Director Kel McConaughey:

What’s your voting plan?

It’s exciting to see the enthusiastic turn out as folks are already waiting in long but fast-moving lines to vote early. Every single voter got there by having a plan. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but a plan is necessary to make it happen. Because between the zoom calls and hybrid schooling, life seems busier than before. So, I’m making my plan.

But let me back up a minute.

My daughter, who happens to be in 5th grade, is paying attention to the election this year. She’s been talking about how excited she’ll be to vote when she turns 18, even though it’s an eternity away. She’s been asking about the supreme court, how the Justices get appointed, and why anyone would want the same job for their entire lives. But most importantly, she has asked, “Why does voting matter?”

As a mom, there are plenty of moments that I’ve given simple answers to complex questions, sometimes for the sake of time and sometimes because the answers, I’m afraid, are upsetting. But after a summer of attending several protests in support of Black lives, she’s more and more aware of the inequities that exist and has a deeper understanding of what that means for her.

She’s taken note of Black leaders, past and current, who have stood up and insisted on change like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. She regularly asks folks if they know the name of the first Black woman who ran for president in 1972. Then she’s excited to share Shirly Chisholm’s name – because she loves being able to teach, especially adults, a thing or two. We should know Shirley Chilsholm’s name, because it matters.

In August, she watched Kamala Harris accept the nomination for Vice President with obvious excitement. She saw for the first time, a woman who looks just like her staring back from the TV screen. Watching history take place, I got a glimpse of a future where children like her participate in democracy and keep pushing for progress. In that future, she’ll remember the name Kamala Harris.

To answer her question about voting, we discussed who got to vote first and why, why change takes so long, and who fought to make change happen. Then as parents often do, I asked her to answer her own question about why voting matters. “Because it shows you care about other people and what happens to them.”

So when I put my voting plan together, I decided that I’m going to take my daughter with me. That’s part of the plan. We are going to vote early at the Franklin County Board of Elections. And I’m going to hold her hand in mine as I cast my vote in this historic election. I will vote for candidates who are going to go to bat for her, for her safety, for her ability to make decisions about her life. I am voting for her future.

Don’t wait; put your plan together today. Make sure your vote counts. It matters.

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