In the 1960s, civil rights groups staged marches to put faces issues. They were done in conjunction with boycotts and sit-ins as a way to put exclamation points at the end of activities designed to inconvenience businesses and make the powers that be take notice. It has been more than 40 years later. While marches are a nice way to gain media attention, what is really accomplished?
Earlier this year, illegal immigrants staged a march on the Capitol. It was a nice gesture, but politicians don’t pay attention to groups that don’t have a vote.
Thursday, more than 250 students gathered at the Capitol to protest the lack of progress in the Martin Lee Anderson case – a nice gesture. But politicians don’t pay attention to groups that don’t vote.
Two things. One: why are we demanding justice from a governor who will be out of office in a month? He may run for president in upcoming years, but as a Republican, he doesn’t expect the black vote anyway. Two: why aren’t we demanding that the gubernatorial candidates take a position in a public forum and hold them accountable once elected?
P. Diddy coined the phrase “Vote or Die” during the 2004 presidential election and it seems even more fitting now.We can march until the soles of our shoes are worn. We can bring brooms, mops and any other props that we like, but much like the illegal immigrants, without a vote, our voices and concerns will forever be swept under the rug.
It’s important that we confront candidates and hold our elected officials responsible. Maybe the new catch phrase should be what our predecessors learned more than four decades ago, “Vote or Die in Vain.”
Alaythia C. Burkins for the editorial board.