A Note from Councilmember Zulfat Suara
I write to you today with a sense of urgency. As we come together to overcome this global pandemic and stand in solidarity with Black communities throughout the United States, we are reminded that we have a responsibility for change. We are currently in the midst of the voting season, which will culminate in the presidential election on November 3rd. I want to remind you that voting is not only your right, it is your duty. It is your duty to make your voice heard.
Voting can – and does – make a difference. I would not hold public office were it not for all of the voters in Davidson County who showed up to the polls last fall. I am grateful for the opportunity to have a seat at the table and to help make decisions that benefit all Nashvillians. Some are of the opinion that some government policies do not affect them. This is a false sense of comfort. All policies have an impact on all of us. While some policies affect us directly, others impact us indirectly, socially, economically and politically. It is therefore important that we use our vote to elect individuals that help shape these policies.
Our right to vote is not universal. Across the globe, there are individuals who do not have a say in their government. Here in the United States, there are still communities and individuals that cannot vote. Voter suppression is a real and serious problem that disproportionately affects Black communities and other communities of color. It is imperative that we honor the legacy of those who fought – and continue to fight – for our right to fully participate in democratic society.
Voting is also a responsibility. This responsibility to vote stems from our commitment to the United States of America. If you can vote, you are also speaking out against this injustice. You are making your voice heard so that we can put more legislators in office who will ensure equitable access to voting throughout the United States. Voting is patriotic. It is one of the most effective ways you can show support for your community and voice your concerns. Your freedom of speech is your first amendment right. Voting is a way to speak, and it also exposes the real consequences of speech.
Our votes matter, and they do make a difference. When you mail in your ballot or show up to the polls, remember to vote down the ballot. You are not just voting for the President of the United States of America, you will be voting for council members like me, judges, school board members, and many other local officials who hope to make a difference in their communities. These votes are just as important and valid. Change can and does begin on a local level.
I know that voting this year is even more of a challenge. Millions of Conversations has linked crucial materials below to help everyone access their right to vote. If you do have to show up to the polls, wear a mask and physically distance yourself from others. I did it two weeks ago. I showed up because I know what a difference voting can make.
“The right to vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool or instrument we have in a democratic society. Let nothing stand in your way to use it so that together we may build a truly more perfect union here in America” – Rep. John Lewis
Vote, and be safe.
Did you know?
4 in 10 Americans who were eligible to vote did not do so in 2016. (Pew)
At Millions of Conversations, we are working to transcend divides and rebuild our public square here in the United States. Civic participation is part of that public square. We want to ensure that each of you has access to the materials you need to show up and vote. Here are a few resources that we use:
As always, if you have any questions, we are here for you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask away!
Join Millions of Conversations as we host a cohort of future voters from Memphis, Birmingham, Nashville, and Houston. These young leaders will discuss their vision for the future of the South in the wake of the Black Lives Matter uprisings. We invite all of you to participate as young people describe their interactions with this summer’s events and how they have shaped their hopes for the future of the American public square. Register via Zoom >>
Did you know?
Your response to the 2020 Census will be used to redraw legislative districts and determine the number of seats your state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Do your part and fill out the 2020 Census today.
If you’re wondering how to fill out the Census, who counts, or need access to the Census in another language, click here. If you have any questions or want to know more about how the Census affects your community, we are here to help.
Millions of Conversations wishes a happy Eid al-Adha to all of you who celebrate. Thank you for working with us to transcend divides.
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