Commentary: I Vote to Give Voice to the Women Who Weren’t Allowed To

Commentary: I Vote to Give Voice to the Women Who Weren’t Allowed To

Black women can create a more representative political body that will fight for pay equity, health care access, improved educational opportunities and other issues.

Published November 3, 2014

My great-grandmother and grandmother lived through the Women’s Suffrage Movement, legalized segregation and Brown vs. Board of Education. They drank from “coloreds only” water fountains, didn’t have the right to vote and lacked real leadership and career opportunities not only because they were Black, but also because they were women.

My great-grandmother, who died just shy of her 100th birthday, and grandmother were able to vote after years of fighting for this basic civic right. Their experience shaped my family's political activism. They correctly saw voting as a way to improve their schools, economic situations and communities.

My mother believed so strongly in the power of voting that on the day I turned 18, she drove me down to City Hall and had me register and she called me every Election Day to remind me to cast my ballot. My own activism and work with Higher Heights is a result of the examples set by the three generations of women who held sway over my life. Their teachings, along with my own experiences, drive my work to increase black women’s political involvement so we can have a place at the decision-makers’ table and are able to advance progressive public policies. 

This Nov. 4 will be the first Election Day since my mother passed away in April. I will surely miss hearing her voice, but will proudly cast my vote in her memory.

Black women must show up to the polls on Tuesday if we truly want to create a more representative political body that will fight for pay equity, health care access, improved educational opportunities and other issues that affect black women on a daily basis. We must do this for the generations before us that couldn’t and for the ones that will follow in our footsteps. That's why I will vote on Nov. 4.

Glynda Carr is co-founder of Higher Heights, an organization building a national infrastructure to harness Black women’s political power and leadership potential.

The #BlackWomenVote campaign is rallying women to turn out in high numbers on Nov. 4, so we can have a say in who our elected officials will be. Your vote counts and your voice matters! Share your story and help inspire another sista to cast her vote on Election Day. Higher Heights will send you a pair of #BlackWomenLead and #BlackWomenVote buttons. To tell the story of why you vote, click here.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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(Photo: Courtesy of Higher Heights)

Written by Glynda Carr

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