November 05, 2006

Three reasons to vote, then six and much more...

Other than doing ones civic duty, my reasons to vote have to do with the struggle of the civil rights movement and the lives lost. Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman are pictured above; their murders are most remembered.

During the Sixties, college students, mostly white, from the North came South, along with several civil rights organizations to educate and help register blacks to votes. The Civil Rights Movement Veterans web site has documented The Southern Freedom Movement from 1960 to 1966. I think if you check out the entire site you will understand how dangerous this was. You may see some familiar faces, but mostly you will see unknown ordinary students and citizens challenging almost eighty years of Jim Crow. I am grateful for their sacrifice.

The next year in 1965, there were three more murders. This description is an excerpt from a Unitarian Universalist Association news article describing the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of those murders.
Jimmie Lee Jackson, an African American civil rights worker, died on February 26, 1965, after an Alabama state trooper shot him in the stomach at a voting rights march in his home town of Marion. Jackson's murder inspired the march from Selma to the State Capitol in Montgomery that was brutally turned back by lawmen. After the attack, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. issued a call to clergy of all faiths to come to Selma to support the marchers. About 500 Unitarian Universalists, including about one fifth of all UU ministers, rushed to Selma. One of the ministers, James Reeb, was attacked on March 9 while leaving a restaurant with two colleagues less than a day after he arrived. Reeb died of his injuries on March 11.Viola Liuzzo, a UU lay person from Detroit, was shot to death March 25 by Ku Klux Klansmen after the Selma to Montgomery march was finally completed.

If the murders, beatings, and intimidation along with the loss of jobs and property did not stop the pursuit of equal citizenship and the vote; then it is, I feel, my obligation to vote.

I urge everyone to vote Tuesday. There is nothing to stop you and not having a desirable candidate is no excuse. You know what you would do if you had the office, write in yourself.


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