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We must vote to make a difference in Dallas

JUANITA WALLACE | 6/15/2015, 8:34 a.m.
Even 100 years after the Civil War, African Americans were denied the right to register and vote. Voters in the ...

Even 100 years after the Civil War, African Americans were denied the right to register and vote. Voters in the South faced the majority of the discrimination at the polls. Most Blacks that attempted to register faced barriers such as a poll tax, tests and intimidation. As a result, only a very few were able to register and even fewer were able to vote. That was 50 years ago.

Now today, the barriers and intimidation still exist but more covert.

Voter fraud has become much more sophisticated. Greed, control and racism are the leading causes of failures here in Dallas that must be addressed.

A recount for the Dallas City Council District 7, that I initiated, took place on May 28, 2015, at the Dallas County Election Office. My reason was to help restore the integrity of the citizens’ votes. Toni Pippins-Poole, voter registrar, and Rosa A. Rios, Dallas city secretary, supervised the recount.

We are still waiting on information to ascertain the additional voting/counting irregularities.

In Dallas, under the single member district known as 14-1 governing structure, it was a hard fight to win and was staged to bring equal representation for the districts/communities/citizens. In spite of this struggle, there are candidates who accepted funds from outsiders, slumlords and big donors whose intent is to manipulate the votes of the newly elected candidates as they did with some of the prior Council members. It has been alleged that some of the City Council members have made deals to return after two years in exchange for their support and endorsement. You can call this whatever you want, but the U.S. Justice Department called this manipulation of democracy which is unlawful.

Are you going to forsake truth and justice for lies and fraud?

Are we going to let Bloody Sunday mean nothing to us in Dallas?

On March7, 1965, a multitude of 600 civil rights marchers started out on a journey from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital in Montgomery along U.S. Highway 80 only to be met by police officers. These officers attacked with tear gas, beat them with billy clubs, trampled them with their horses, spitting on them and yelling racial slurs. This was “Bloody Sunday.”

After receiving assurance for protection along their route, the activists reorganized and headed back to Montgomery on March 21, led by Martin Luther King Jr. The several hundred marchers from across the country during the four-day journey to Montgomery grew to about 25,000.

As the former Dallas NAACP president for six years, we have worked hard to create a city which all people have a say-so in the democratic process, a right to vote, on which all other rights hinge. March 6, we replicated the Selma march by staging a march on the Centennial Bridge with over 150 participants to promote voting. We hosted two health care forums at Paul Quinn college on February 8, 2014, and March 8, 2014. We hosted Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, at Paul Quinn to promote the health care enrollment. Education has always been at the top of my list. We played a major role in defeating the Home Rule Charter through the efforts of the newly formed organization, Our Community, Our Schools. Housing in South Dallas has been a concern since middle-class families have moved out of the city of Dallas. We have been keeping a watchful eye on the federal housing investigation.

We must free ourselves from police violence by voting.

If we exercise our vote as much as we exercise our thumbs texting nonsense all day, we would take control of the power structure that controls and sets policing policies.

We did it once, we can do it again.

In the 2012 presidential election, 17.8 million Blacks voted (thank you, President Barack Obama for inspiring people to go to the polls). The 66.2 percent of registered Black voters who cast ballots in that election exceeded the 64.1 percent of registered White voters who went to the polls. It was the first time that Blacks in this country voted at a higher rate than Whites since the census began keeping such data. Keep in mind that for most of this country’s history it was illegal for Black people to vote in the United States.

We all must play a vital role in making and maintaining democracy in Dallas.