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  • Writer's pictureRachel Abel

Rachel's Take - Why You Should Use Your Voice

I loved learning about politics when I was in school and I am very grateful for an education that helped me understand how the different voting systems work in the UK, why elections are important and the importance of voting in every election - not just the general election. I learned that my voice matters before I ever cast a single vote and I think it’s vital that we all recognize just how powerful our voices are at the polls.

I know there is a general dislike for politicians and many people recoil at the thought of talking politics. That’s fair and I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind. What I do want to say is that you may not be into politics but it is definitely into you. The reason is that politics directly affects the type and quality of life you and those around you have and live, regardless of whether you participate. The good news is that you don’t have to like politics to get involved. You can consider it a really important chore that you have to get done every once in a while.

Politics is a contact sport but you do not need to be a politician or ‘into politics’ to get involved. The easiest way to participate is to use your voice through your vote. Educate yourself on how your government works. Get to know who represents you because they speak for you. When elections come around be prepared to cast your ballot for the people you believe most reflect the values you ascribe to.

If you want to, there are many ways to stay engaged after elections are over and truly, this is when the real work begins. You can write your representatives. Attend town halls or clinics where your representatives will usually take your questions. Use your social media platform to inform and engage others in your community about the issues that you care about. Those are some of the ways to hold those you elected accountable. Remind them they work for you.

Voting is a right which means you have the freedom to do with it what you want. However, as a woman, and more specifically as a Black woman, I consider voting a civic duty. Voting to me is mandatory. People died for my right to vote. I don’t take that lightly. So, I always vote. I vote for the change and progress I want to see in the world - the world I want to leave behind for future generations.

If we have learned anything this year, it is that democracy is fragile and every single vote counts.

Every. Single. Vote. Counts!

For 4 days, the world watched as the United State of America counted votes that would decide the course of their future for the next 4 years. History was made in too many ways to count but one thing was clear: votes matter and when people use their voices through their votes, change can happen. I’m not saying that every time you vote you’ll get what you want. That’s not realistic. Sometimes you’ll get what you voted for and in the times you do not, there may be opportunities to have the necessary conversations to understand where the disconnects are and how you can work together to find solutions to bridge the gaps. But it all starts with voting.

So the next time you think your vote doesn’t count or matter, think again. Because, once upon a time, someone thought it mattered so much they gave up their life.

“With no sacredness for the ballot, there can be no sacredness of human life itself.” - Ida B. Wells


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