It’s Election Day and we have a chance to make history. In one of the most improbable stories of our nation, today we stand poised to elect the first Black President of the United States.
Black Americans have contemplated this moment for some time and all that it would mean to our community if one of our own were elected President. So foreign a thought, many of us refused to even entertain the idea since there was such a remote possibility it would ever happen. Then pioneers such as Shirley Chisholm and Rev. Jesse Jackson came along and the idea of a Black person occupying the Oval Office did not seem to be out of reach. And with Blacks capturing governor’s seats and becoming a force in Congress, we began to sense that the day when a Black American would seriously contend for the White House.
That day is today.
Our message is simple. Vote for Barack Obama for President. We can be no more direct than that. Thus far the early signs are encouraging. In states with early voting, Blacks have turned out in record numbers; sometimes waiting in line for hours, as was the case in North Carolina as 2.2 million people voted early with many standing in lines for up to five hours. Today lines may be equally long but you must do whatever is necessary to cast your vote. Every vote counts. Despite polls showing Senator Obama in the lead we cannot relax until we have made every effort to line up as many votes today for our candidate.
Be patient. If early voting states are an indication of the turnout we will see today, expect long lines. It may take some time to get to the voting booth so come prepared for the wait. Bring a book, your I Pod or the newspaper to keep yourself occupied as you wait in line. If necessary, bring a lawn chair to give your legs a rest. If there is rain in the forecast for your area, dress appropriately and have an umbrella ready. In other words, don’t let anything deter you from casting your vote.
If you have voted early, make yourself available today to bring others to the polls. Volunteer to transport voters to the polls or simply check with neighbors and friends to see if they need a ride. Scan your address book and call, fax and e-mail as many contacts as you can to encourage them to vote. You can even be helpful at a polling place to make sure that people standing in line have the necessary identification if it is required in your state or providing refreshments to help them withstand the long line. This is an “all hands on deck” moment and every, single effort today will matter at the end of the night.
Let’s end this day knowing that we did everything within our power to support Senator Barack Obama’s candidacy. Then sit back and let history take its course. We believe that if our community does what it needs to do at the polls today, Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States. Make it happen!