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Blacks must reclaim the "right" to vote

admin | 12/28/2011, 7:05 a.m.

The recent actions of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder illustrate just how serious the situation facing Black voters in this country has become. Since President Barack Obama moved into the White House, 25 vote restricting laws have been passed in 14 states. Florida leads the way. Unfortunately, very few of our local politicians have made voters rights one of their top priorities. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson has combined with preachers from across the state to focus on registering voters. And several state representatives, like Cynthia Stafford, have continued to listen to the many barriers facing ex-offenders, including the outright denial of their Constitutional right to vote. But for the most part other issues seem to dominate the agendas of our local elected officials. Holder says that he has the privilege of enforcing the Voting Rights Act, further stating that he cannot agree with those who seek to drastically alter the very system by which they were once elected. But change the laws they have with Blacks, college-aged adults and senior citizens being the most impacted. Now a new group of 30-something Blacks, mostly educated and upwardly-mobile have entered the foray here in South Florida and say they are determined to make sure Democrats at every level are victorious in 2012. Formally known as Young & Powerful for Obama, these young men and women are utilizing social media, word-of-mouth and the power of persuasion among their peers to get more folks registered, to raise money for election campaigns and to get young people excited about next falls elections. Perhaps it is young people like them that must come to the forefront in order to stop the nefarious efforts of Republicans bent on disenfranchising voters. But we will need everyone stepping up to the plate with letters to politicians, participation in protests and boycotts and an overall stance that makes it clear that we will not go down without a fight. Once upon a time, the only people that could vote in the U.S. were white male property owners. They were the 1 percent in the 18th century. If we fail to act now, we may find ourselves returning to the way it was in the good old days. If history is an example, then it wont be a pretty picture at least not for us.