YOUR VOICE IS YOUR POWER
Hey guys! So its been a while.
I’ve taken some time away from social media because I didn’t feel comfortable putting out posts just for the hell of it and I also didn’t feel comfortable muting for a week and just going “Back to Business” as if racism ended simply because I didn’t post for a week. I will admit though, I’m so proud of some of the accounts I follow for continuing to work and advocate above and beyond. It’s also reassuring that I’m following some awesome people! It’s important to realize there’s no such thing as going back to “normal” after all of this, simply because there was nothing "normal" about how we were living before..
My goal when becoming a blogger wasn’t to just post pretty photos, but to share relevant information that actually left people saying “okay, I learned something new today, how can I apply it to my life”. During the recent weeks, I wanted to go beyond posting on my stories but actually make an impact in real life.
I started off by deciding I was going to vote! The first time I ever exercised my right to vote was back when Obama was running for president. I finally turned 18 and I wanted to make a difference. I will admit, I haven’t voted since. Now more than ever, I’m realizing how important it is to not only vote on large scale elections like the Presidential election, but also pay attention to who we’re voting into office on smaller scales as well. The people running for Borough President and Civil Court Judges make a difference just as much as the Presidential candidate does.
I had no idea what an absentee ballot was or that I could vote this way at all, but thanks to the power of social media and the people on my feed, I learned due to COVID-19 New York was allowing citizens to sign up for an absentee ballot. If you didn’t know, an absentee ballot allows you to vote by mail! For New York, the last day to sign up for an absentee ballot is Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 [which is tomorrow]. I shared this information with a few friends, so be sure to share it too!
For the State of New York You may vote by absentee ballot if you expect to be:
Absent from your county or, if a resident of New York City, absent from New York City, on Election Day
Unable to appear at the polls due to illness or physical disability or because you are the primary care giver of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled
A resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital
Detained in jail awaiting Grand Jury action or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.
For this ballot, all eligible voters can vote absentee as "temporary illness" has been expanded to include the potential to contract COVID-19 for elections through June 23, 2020 by an executive order.
Here are a few important links that helped me with the process of getting my absentee ballot:
If you’re unsure if you’re registered to vote: https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov
To sign up for an absentee ballot: https://absentee.vote.org/?state=new-york
To see who is on the ballot [this will show you who’s on the ballot not only for the presidential election, but all the other elections happening in your state and district!]
Last Friday, I also felt like a made a small difference in the world by addressing my bosses, whom at that time, hadn't reached out or made a statement about what’s going on, to our office, while so many others had. I brought it to their attention, and I proposed that the company make a donation to an appropriate organization and also give my coworkers an opportunity to personally donate as well. I followed up by including a variety of organizations that I was invested in. I was ecstatic to later hear their decision to not only make a donation but to match all staff donations up to $100!!
This was what people meant when they kept saying “start conversations and speak up”. Not everyone is as invested in social media or some rather say nothing at all than saying the wrong thing. But I can’t emphasize how important it is to just take the first step to start a dialogue, inform individuals, and maybe you’ll be surprised by the results.
These were the organizations I shared with my company that you should definitely take a look at as well:
Color of Change: Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by 1.7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Color of Change leads campaigns that build real power for Black communities. We challenge injustice, hold corporate and political leaders accountable, commission game-changing research on systems of inequality, and advance solutions for racial justice that can transform our world. Donate Here.
Black Lives Matter: an international human rights movement, originating from within the African-American community, which campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. Donate Here.
The Innocence Project - The Innocence Project, founded in 1992 by Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck at Cardozo School of Law, exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. Donate Here.
Campaign Zero: Purpose: Identifying solutions, providing research & data to organizers and policymakers, advocating to end police violence nationwide.
Equal Justice Initiative - The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. Donate Here.
Know Your Rights Camp - Founded by Colin Kaepernick, they run educational and empowering camps for black and brown youth all over the country with the mission of ending structural racism. Donate Here.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. - The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. is America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans. Donate Here.
I really hope this little blog entry pushes some of you to sign up for an absentee ballot or donate. Your voice matters and as much as you might think otherwise, you can make a difference!