By Wayne Dawkins
Special to the AFRO
The AFRO’s news editor and I, this week, shared a laugh about something crucial.
When I was a journalism professor at Hampton University, students from Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia area would come to me just before Election Day and explain, “Professor, I have to drive home Tuesday. It is a matter of family honor that I come home and vote.”
That’s right. Go please. And travel safe. Better not disappoint nana, auntie or your parents.
Jessica Dortch and I reminisced because she was one of those DMV students a handful of years ago, and before her, two other HU alums interned at the AFRO and are now thriving in major-market daily journalism.
This comment however is about voting next week.
If any eligible voting family member, friend or acquaintance is hedging or resisting their responsibility to vote, resist the urge to shake or smack them. Grabbing them by hand in order to lead them to the polls would be a better tactic, but we’re supposed to social distance.
So instead, speak through your mask and persuade them to vote.
If they say their vote doesn’t matter, ask them why so many political operatives with sinister motives are using creative ways to prevent certain people from voting, specifically African-American citizens?
Black and Brown urban areas [talking to you now Atlanta, Houston and Milwaukee] have been targeted with fewer polling stations and fewer hours allowed to cast ballots.
And in some states [talking about you too California] the integrity of street ballot drop boxes has been questioned. Is that street box really from the board of elections and have been monitored by a Democrat and Republican official for fairness?
Remember that the 45th president in 2016 lost the popular vote by three million ballots, yet Donald J. Trump’s strategists managed to get him first to the minimum 270 Electoral College votes needed to win. By vapors. Just enough folks who were not feeling Democrat Hillary Clinton stayed home, and then permitted this Trumpster fire of a commander in chief to slide in.
Are you no-shows going to repeat a mistake? Please don’t.
I do see encouraging signs. Here in this commonwealth, 30 percent [1.7 million] of eligible Virginia voters have cast ballots in person or by mail, reported the Daily Press of Newport News.
Meanwhile in Atlanta, a video went viral of AKAs and other sorority sisters [and their fraternity brothers] strolling by the hundreds to polls. Although officially nonpartisan, these Divine Nine associations were energized because there is a vice presidential candidate who is an HBCU graduate [Howard University] and AKA.
Last week Morgan State student correspondent Cheyenne Briggs, reported for the AFRO from Staten Island, N.Y. Briggs interviewed people in advance of the final Joe Biden-Trump televised debate. A few sources said they had voted, because if they died before Nov. 3, they wanted to make sure they did the right thing for their children’s future. You read those words in the AFRO last week. If you haven’t it’s time to get to the polls or mailboxes, promptly.
The writer is a professor of professional practice at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.