As the days pass and the leaves change, we as a community, and nation, are seeing election day quickly approach. This rather extraordinary November day will be a defining factor for what life will look like for the future. As a North High School senior, I am a budding, young adult. As a member of the next generation able to vote I have hope for what may occur. I, like most people, want to see my beliefs and values reflected in our democracy. I want to see the impacts of all generations and be a part of the voices that speak out for change. I will not be able to actually cast my vote this year because I am only seventeen, but this is my plea for all of you readers to do so.
As we move towards one of the most pertinent elections in history it’s important to understand the implications of voting and how truly dire it is to participate. Recently the nation has been in a fragile position. The basic integrities of democratic institutions have been perpetually under assault. We have seen the nation divided, and it’s soul in peril.
With the shattering loss of prominent leaders like Ruth Bader Ginsberg and John Lewis, both tireless advocates of equality and social justice, society is coming to terms with what it means moving forward. These groundbreaking activists for change have left behind a legacy for us to continue. Their generation was the first to start chipping away at the societal constructs that so deeply divided us. Since the 1950s they have fought for voting rights, equality and against the oppression of minorities. Their support for the rights of women, people of color and the LGBTQ communities have spanned over six decades.
Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Without the laws and rulings Ginsburg and Lewis passed, and the hearts they infiltrated, life would be a wilderness we wouldn’t quite recognize. Since the days of their death, it poses the question of what it means for democracy tomorrow. How will we carry on their mission of equality and how will we use our vote to see our values reflected in the upcoming election? As this election rolls around we see the passing of the torch onto yet another generation of voters. Whether you are 18 or 80 this vote means something for all of us.
Speaking as a student who just barely misses the age requirement for voting in this election, I know the innate desire to be a part of the change. My peers, too, hold very similar values. I asked fellow classmates if they were eligible to vote and what it would mean to them. Eighteen-year-old Bella Robison, said “Yes, I will be voting this election year, because it means that for the first time ever I will finally get to have a say in the decisions in our country. I will be a contributor to change, and I will be able to proudly say I did something to actively affect my future.” For another student on the other younger side of the spectrum, Torsey Koszalka reflected, “While I will not be able to vote, I wish more than anything that I could. This simple act of checking a ballot box symbolizes something much more than voting. It represents the first steps towards the rest of our lives.”
Whether we can vote yet, or not, as students we are getting involved and taking it to the streets. A “Let’s Vote Early” campaign is running throughout the month of October at Little Man Ice Cream, in collaboration with the League of Women Voters and Denver’s Clerk and Recorder’s office. The goal is to increase voter registration. Student volunteers from North High have joined in their mission to help spread voter awareness and increase this year’s turnout. With constant media coverage that has cast doubt on mail-in ballots and voter fraud, the single most important thing you can do is to VOTE EARLY!
Awareness of the ballot issues is key to voting. The City and County of Denver’s comprehensive “blue book” focuses on the Ballot Measures. Issues ranging from funding for DPS, climate change and addressing homelessness are just a few. Each of these values is something that people have a chance to speak on. If any of these issues, or others, entice you, make sure to read up on them and vote accordingly.
With such broad powers expanding over multiple generations, it’s so important to exercise our right to vote. Vote, not just for yourself, but for people like me and my generation who can’t make these impacts just yet. Vote for change, and vote to protect the legacies of those who fought for this chapter of history. Let’s get into some “good trouble,” as John Lewis said, to continue changing the world for our future.
Your vote matters. Your views matter. To enact change, we need all voices of our community because, together, we can accomplish almost anything.