We have a number of initiatives here at the Dignity & Respect Campaign to Build Cultural Awareness, Stop the Violence, Prevent Bullying, and Lead the Way – but it’s October 2016, and one of our initiatives works singlehandedly to push all the others forward: the one where we encourage you to get out and Vote!
How to Register to Vote
First things first: October 11, 2016 is the last day to register to vote in the November 8th election. That means you can register ON October 11, too, so don’t panic!
If you’re not registered or you’re not sure if you are, you can visit vote.gov to find out and complete your registration online, if allowed by your state (Pennsylvania, where D&R Campaign is based, does allow online registration). USA.gov provides a list of requirements, instructions for in-person registration, mail application, and other options and information. Each state has its own voting rules and requirements, so be sure you’re correctly informed for your state.
Does it take a long time to register? That’s a common myth. With all the necessary credentials, you can often be approved and officially registered within about a week, and the majority of the work is the government’s, not yours.
Exercise Your Privilege!
While all U.S. citizens (with a few exceptions) are granted the right to vote, it should still be viewed as a privilege. Many minority men, and women of ALL ethnicities are still only one generation removed from having no voice. We must remember the sacrifices of our ancestors and take very seriously this privilege they fought so hard for us to have.
Resources for Citizens and Leaders
In collaboration with Diversity & Inclusion, we’ve created the “I Vote Because…” campaign. Download the flyer here to learn how you can spread the word and get out the vote. The message is this: we all represent different organizations, different parties, and different perspectives, but what we have in common is respect for differences and a commitment to get out the vote. Collectively we have a stronger voice. With ONE VOICE, we encourage you to cast ONE VOTE.
As a leader, no matter where you stand politically, you can make it known that voting is a privilege, a duty, and an action that COUNTS. If anyone needs convincing, Wikipedia has a great page on close election results.
And what can we all do? We can promote dignity and respect by using the facts and standing up and speaking out. Volunteer, attend, or support national and/or local efforts. Tell others how you did your part. Encourage others to join your efforts. And to get that all started – make sure you’re registered to vote on November 8th!