Raising A Responsible Citizen
Most everyone knows that I, along with all the other women in my family, am a staunch Democrat. Women in my family have been exercising the right to vote even when it was dangerous to do so. My great-aunt told me about voting for FDR & Kennedy, Carter and Clinton, having that powerful feeling that her vote helped seal their election. Being an American Black Female with an opinion about who the best candidate was for her family could have cost her and my great-grandmother their lives. However she told me that you make sacrifices for your family, and exercising her right to vote was a way to protect her family. It was more than, her right and freedom to do so. My aunt believed that in order to have change, you have to make it. Be apart of life! Everyone has a part, and everyone will make a difference. She believed in her God, her government and in the goodness of people. She truly believed that we were put on this earth to help one another and that there were people put here to lead us and help us in the right direction. She believed that things needed to be done for her family and her people. She knew in her heart that placing certain people in office would help. In essence she was right! The Roosevelt & Kennedy administrations played a large part in progression & modernization of this country. Both in industry and civility. So I figure if a young black girl can walk from work after scrubbing floors all day in the middle of Jim Crow in New Orleans and go vote… I better make sure I’m registered and I get to it! Yesterday, I did that. In honor of my great-grandmother, great-aunt, great-grandfather, grandfather and all my other relatives that fought for my right to vote, I took my son down to Norwalk to early vote. I took my first born, who was nothing but a twinkle in his daddy’s eye last election, to vote for the first black President of the United States to a second term in office. I did that!
In my heart, I feel that I know what I know and believe what I believe because of how I was raised. Informed, active and respectful. We knew where we came from so that we could understand how to get where we were going. I’m raising my son that same way. What does my three year old know about his government? Well, that we have a President. That the President is now Barack Obama. He understands that Mommy and Daddy like Barack Obama. He understands that The President is in charge and a leader. He understands that we have to say we want to President Obama to be President again or we have to say that Governor Romney should be President by voting. He understands you color in the bubble with a number to vote. He believes that President Obama is his BFF and that he should come over and play in his power wheels with him, but that’s a different story. He understands that like President Obama, he too can be President one day. I know people say that we as black people put a lot of emphasis on our children knowing a black President. Well, because WE now have a source of pride. He’s not just a black man in the White House. He shares a story like so many other Americans. Black or White. He is a representation of Black America… and really just America. He has a true American story. And so by making a person of color a representative of all people, it allows us as Black Americans to stop being Black Americans and just be Americans.
I took him and showed him how we vote. It makes me proud to see my son get so excited over this process. He was excited when he saw how many came to there to vote. It didn’t matter who they voted for and he didn’t ask. He didn’t even ask me if they were all voting for President Obama, he just asked if “all these peoples going to votes?”. It was like a light bulb flickered on when he realized that with that piece of paper you had the power to say that you wanted so and so to become President and no one could tell you no! We let him drop the ballot in the box and the look of empowerment that washed over his face was electric. He knew he had just done something great! He was apart of something great and he loved it.
Yesterday, Nannie and Jodie were looking down on little Jaxxy. I could almost hear their applause and laughter as they watched a new generation begin. Without a fight. Without any issue. Without reservation their little one was able to help his Mommy cast a vote. As a young black single mother with a pre-existing condition, you know why I voted for Obama. Now as Josephine James Boleman Collins’ great-grandmother & Roberta Charity Boleman Paul’s great-great niece, you understand why I had to take my 3 year old down to vote for the new face of Democracy. They fought for me before my grandmother was even thought of. They fought for Barack Obama before his mother took her first step. They fought for Jaxon’s vote before they could even walk into a polling place without getting spit on. Yesterday, made the fight worth it and the victory sweeter!