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Exercise your rights: Vote!

MARC H. MORIAL | 10/28/2016, 1:25 p.m.
“In a democracy such as ours, the vote is precious, it is almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent ...

National Urban League

“In a democracy such as ours, the vote is precious, it is almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have. Those who sacrificed everything – their blood and their lives – and generations yet unborn, are all hoping and praying that Congress will rise to the challenge and get it done again.” – Congressman John Lewis

In less than a month, the nation will conclude what is likely to be remembered as one of the most contentious presidential campaigns in modern history.

The campaign has been fraught with racially divisive rhetoric as the nation continues to struggle with issues of racial hostility and social inequity, as demonstrated by the wave of violence that has taken so many lives over the last year.

A lack of social and economic opportunity is at the root of the unrest. The troubling divisive rhetoric that has characterized the 2016 presidential race has fed the unrest. And only a historic, targeted mobilization of resources can address the unrest.

The National Urban League has a plan to elevate urban communities through targeted public investment, called the Main Street Marshall Plan.

The National Urban League has a plan to hold police and communities accountable for unjustified violence against unarmed citizens, called the 10 Point Justice Plan for Police Reform and Accountability.

But plans on paper, written in the most compelling prose, with the most prescient rationale, mean nothing if we do not put in place responsible, forward-thinking governmental representatives with the power to put these plans into action.

The responsibility to put these plans into action lies with this generation.

That responsibility boils down to just one almighty action: We must vote.

The National Urban League is part of a nonpartisan Election Protection coalition formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. Election Protection provides Americans from coast to coast with comprehensive voting information on how they can make sure their vote is counted through a number of resources including a voter helpline 866-OUR-VOTE.

If you or anyone you know experiences any irregularity while trying to register or vote, please call the helpline. But please, vote.

If injustice outrages you, if this recent cycle of violence grates at your inner core as a human being, then we must vote.

If we want to fund urban infrastructure and build schools instead of juvenile detention facilities, build libraries and community centers instead of prisons, we must vote.

If we want universal early childhood education, we must vote.

If we want a federal living wage, tied to inflation, we must vote.

If we want to fund urban infrastructure and build schools instead of juvenile detention facilities, libraries and community centers instead of prisons, we must vote.

If you want to see our tax dollars go to rebuilding West Baltimore and Inglewood, Chicago and Athens, Ohio, and Boone, North Carolina, as they have in Baghdad and Kabul, we must vote.

If we want to see our urban youth working at summer jobs instead of floundering in hopelessness, we must vote.