EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is co-written by Taylor Irons, assistant perspectives editor, and Kamea Ferguson, perspectives editor respectively.
The late, great Sam Cooke once sang, “It’s been a long, long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.”
Cooke released the song, “A Change is Gonna Come,” in mid-Feb. 1964 and it has come to be known as an anthem for the Civil Rights movement.
The road to voting for black people has not been easy.
Many have protested, were arrested and have died while working towards the right to vote.
There is a time in every young person’s life when they turn 18; it is a rite of passage. They are an adult and they obtain the right to vote.
There is just one problem: do young voices matter?
“It’s not being counted so why does it matter?” is a common phrase that is used to sum up the many feelings that young adults have about voting. While the vote is being counted numerically, the young black voice is not being heard. There is a disconnect between young people, black people specifically, when it comes to political representation.
It feels as if there is not anyone going to bat for black people even though black people have gone to the limits for everyone else.
34% of nonvoters are younger than 30 years old and the vast majority—70%—are younger than 50 years old, according to Sam Fulwood of Americanprogress. A full 43 percent of nonvoters are Hispanic, African American, or other racial and ethnic minorities. That is roughly double the 22% of likely voters comprised by minorities.
Fulwood continued by stating, in the 2012 presidential election, an estimated 2 million fewer white Americans voted in the election, while about 1.8 million more blacks surged to the polls.
And, as exit polls suggested, an estimated 90-plus percent of black voters chose President Obama over Gov. Romney.
It is imperative that everyone votes no matter how young or old you are. The many sacrifices that were made should not go in vain by us not voting. In order to see the change, we must be the change.
Our ancestors did not give up but kept making strides to get us to where we are today.
We may not be able to say “thank you” but the least we can do is honor them by going out to the polls and casting our ballots.