Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!

Chelsea Jones | 10/7/2013, 8:28 a.m.
I’m not a writer, I just have something to say. Bob Marley used the lyrics, “Get up, stand up, stand ...
Casey Thomas

The Dallas Examiner

I’m not a writer, I just have something to say. Bob Marley used the lyrics, “Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights.” He was not someone who bit his tongue. He said what needed to be said when it needed to be said. At no time in our recent history has this lyric been so relevant.

We are gradually seeing the rights that our ancestors fought for being rolled back. Here in Texas, we are dealing with obstacles to voting like we haven’t seen since Jim Crow. I attended a training on the voter ID law recently and for the first time in the state of Texas we have to show a form of state issued ID when we go to the polls and vote.

Many people will not vote in November (yes, there is an election in November), and others won’t vote in March during the Democratic and Republican primary elections. However, with an open governor’s seat for the first time in over a decade, it is expected there will be a huge turnout for the election in November 2014.

That’s when, if we are not careful, voters will get a rude awakening when they go to the polls to vote. Hopefully, if we are proactive about getting the word out, anyone who is without the appropriate form of identification to vote will be able to get it in time. I recently found out that over 700,000 registered voters in the state of Texas do not have the ID necessary to vote. This is astonishing!

Oftentimes, people don’t value what they have until it is taken away from them. I think about the residents of Florida and Ohio. The state legislatures in Florida and Ohio both passed restrictive voting laws prior to the November 2012 presidential elections. As a result of civil rights groups and voting advocates, voter turnout in 2012 was higher with African Americans and Latinos than in 2008.

This goes to show that when people feel their rights are threatened, they will come out fighting. In Texas, we could see this same thing happen in the November election. We have to make sure people we know are aware of what’s required to vote and that they have the proper ID to participate. Laws change when we vote and we should not allow others to take this precious right.