Your Vote Matters

A statement from ELC President & CEO Skip Spriggs about the importance of voting.

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The right to vote extended to people of color is a relatively new privilege in America. It was only a little more than 50 years ago that the right of black people to vote was protected by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Many sacrifices and civil rights struggles over many decades have made our right to vote possible.

Today, Jim Crow laws are no longer an obstacle, but there are new discriminatory policies making it difficult for people of color to cast ballots. With so many people of color running for office, particularly black women and several black candidates for governor, there has never been a more important time for us to participate in our democracy.

Recent events have been deeply disturbing, heartbreaking and unsettling. The shootings at a Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the murder of two black seniors at a grocery store in Kentucky, the mailing of bombs to critics of the current administration and the absence of outrage at the confessed murder of a journalist at the Saudi embassy in Turkey have created fear, uncertainty and doubt. However, these heinous acts should not shake our confidence in our roles as leaders to continue to make progress for our families, our colleagues, our communities and ourselves.

Black people have suffered unspeakable terror since the first Africans were brought to lay the foundation of the western economy 400 years ago. Yet, we have consistently overcome almost insurmountable obstacles to make great strides and progress. We have so much work to do to make sure the future remains promising. We cannot afford to lose ground. Not on our watch.

Something we can all do is VOTE and encourage every eligible voter in our organizations and communities to participate. Data from Pew shows that most Millennials have been grossly underrepresented at the polls over the last few elections. While the population of Millennials and Gen Xers now exceeds that of Baby Boomers and older, younger generations are less inclined to vote, for many reasons. The Executive Leadership Council (ELC) is nonpartisan, but we firmly believe that every vote counts and that the sacrifices made to allow us to vote matter.

So, please set an example as a leader and vote. Encourage everyone else you know who is eligible to do the same. Some have called this the most important election of our lives and that the very future of America is at stake. Let’s continue to make a difference and not regress. Participate in the democratic process with civility, kindness, strength and determination. As the women of The ELC discussed at the 15th Anniversary Women’s Leadership Forum this past July, it is all about “Owning Our Power: Our Value, Our Voice, Our Vote.”

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