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Get Out and Vote! A Message from Skylight’s co-founder & editor Peter Kinoy

Get Out and Vote!

Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017

I walked out of our neighborhood polling place into the crisp fall weather. Definitely an off election. We voted at 9:30am and Mary, my companion and I were only #s 60 and 61 in our densely populated election district. I peeled the backing from a “I Have Voted” sticker and placed it on my jacket. Mary protested that it would ruin the jacket but I am actually really proud of our democracy, even with all its corrupt flaws and blemishes. Anyway, it wouldn’t have stuck well to my knit cap, next to the button with an image of Malcolm X reading “By Any Means Necessary.” I know that elections can feel like a manipulated farce, but our democracy is a promise, not a reality. At Skylight my co-worker said, “I’ve never voted in this country because I can’t,” and asked if I would write a little something about voting. So here goes:

We have the right to decide who will represent us and what kinds of laws we need to live up to, we have the hopes of the Declaration of Independence that trumpeted “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But the bitter truth, a reality framing and shaping our relationship with society, is that every right that has ever been promised, or fought for and won, only exits in actual use. If you don’t use it you lose it! And if you don’t fight for it, you lose it.

Our democracy took a proud step forward when the courageous battles of the civil rights movement secured a voting rights bill making the promise of democracy more of a reality for disenfranchised Americans. Now, 50 years later, in the States around the country, and emanating from the White House itself, come calls, legislations and actions to roll back voting rights and make our democracy an empty shell. So, a first step is to make sure that you exercise your right to vote, and then continue to fight for a stronger more real democracy by voting with your feet at protests, by voting with your voice as you publicly express your opinions, and by voting with your heart and courage. Defend your own rights and the rights of your neighbors whenever they come under attack. At Skylight we are part of the fight to protect our rights. Hope to see you there with us.

– Peter Kinoy

Ximena Amescua Cuenca

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