Yes, it’s definitely election season. As besieged as I’ve felt with all of the information about what choices I should make on this year’s ballot, I look at the many emails, letters, and postcards I’ve received from organizations and candidates and I find myself inspired. I’ve been reminded by the passion, the energy and the integrity of ordinary people who are truly “getting out the vote” and urging all of us who are able to fill in our ballots and make our voices heard.
When I receive these letters that address me as “another proud American,” I’m reminded of my duty, my responsibility, my right and my privilege to decide what kind of country I want, what America I have a right to expect, and how my vote will determine outcomes that go far beyond who holds elected office— outcomes that will be seen, felt, and heard in communities across Oregon.
I take these reminders and encouragement seriously. Since Oregon is a vote-by-mail state, I’ve already opened up my ballot and cast my vote because I dream of transforming my country into one that includes me, hears me, responds to me, and works for me:
- I vote for all of us who have an idea of what freedom, justice and equity looks like and how we can expand it to cover each and every one of us— especially those who are typically excluded or seen as “different” in our communities.
- I vote for those who toil… in the fields, in factories, at minimum wage or less. For those who are looking for work, and those who work several jobs to make ends meet.
- I vote for the promise of affordable and quality healthcare for all.
- I vote for safe, thriving, affordable and accessible communities for everyone: those of us who are older, younger, LGBTQ, straight, rural, urban, newly-arrived to Oregon and the United States, and those who have been here for generations.
- Most importantly, I vote to not “turn back the clock” to earlier times when folks like me didn’t count, when so many voices were silenced and rights ignored based on race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and immigration status. I vote to move us forward, not backward.
I think back on my life experiences, the history that I carry with me, the assumptions and stereotypes that I’ve battled as a woman of color in this great country. I know all of these experiences factor into my decisions about what I vote for. While we have a lot of work ahead, we’ve gotten closer these last few years to building the world we dream of and I want to keep that momentum going.
Each of us stands on the shoulders of early risk-takers and freedom-fighters who organized, rallied, and came together for voting rights. Why? Because we must organize against injustice, and participating in elections is an important way to build power, leadership, and better representation for our communities. Because what happens at the end of this “season” matters, to you, to me, and to all of us, for many years to come.
I urge everyone who cares about social justice to get involved, vote, and encourage others who can to exercise their right – and responsibility – to speak up and speak out with their vote too.
This election season, let’s vote to move justice closer, within reach.
Make sure to check out and share these helpful ballot guides from some of our grantees and allied organizations:
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon’s voter guide (available in English, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Samoan, and Vietnamese)
CAUSA’s voter guide (in English and Spanish)
Center for Intercultural Organizing’s voter guide
Oregon Student Association’s voter guide