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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices

Black Voices: Vote — for the ancestors

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An ode to my peers —

Roses are red

Violets are blue

I’m registered to vote

And you should be too. 

Voting. A matter that is being emphasized now more than ever. 

Why? People want change.

Change with longevity. Change that will protect Black bodies from being senselessly slain. Change that will pave the way to true equality and equity. Change that will set us free of the burdens Black Americans have been plagued with for centuries. 

Exercising your right to vote is a crucial step in the direction of breaking the system that marginalized, disproportionately incarcerated and oppressed Black people in this country. 

We must break the system down and rearrange it to benefit every American citizen no matter their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

In addition to marching, picketing, sit-ins, boycotts, mass demonstrations and signing petitions — some may not recognize that legislative action is also a form of protest. 

Black Live Matter advocates, such as student leaders in the IU chapter of Black Student Union, have been heavily focused on educating their peers on voting and how they can take action against racial profiling and police brutality during these trying times. 

During the organization's first mass meeting of the school year Sept. 3, sophomore and political action chair Tateana Cutter led her colleagues in dissecting different ways you can effectively protest and raise awareness. 

“Many people, including myself at times, don’t consider legal action to be a passive form of protest,” Cutter said. “It is for that reason that we tend to take to streets in forms of marches or mass demonstrations. But unless we transfer that energy and ensure that we are being heard by those authoritative positions, we are not going to see systemic change.”

Cutter encouraged attendees to make sure you are registered to vote in the appropriate county.

The BSU executive board created a presentation that included different forms of protest. They also discussed well-known historical events such as the Greensboro Four and the revolutionizing sit-ins. 

Prominent activists in history have proven to us that protesting and activism are indeed effective — even if the results don’t show immediately. 

During the 19th century, Black suffragists such as Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, Frances Ellis Watkins Harper, Nannie Helen Burroughs and Mary Ann Shadd Cary fought for the ratification of the 19th Amendment. 

Change comes from generations worth of work. Without these leaders, the fate of the Black vote may have been doomed. 

Use your voice. Exercise your constitutional right to vote and honor the leaders that came before us. Don’t let their contributions and sacrifices become meaningless. 

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Uplifting Black stories, perspectives and art from IU and Bloomington. Reach out at blackvoices@idsnews.com.

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