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Archive for June, 2014|Monthly archive page

Freedom Summer Redux

In Uncategorized on June 4, 2014 at 7:58 am

In the wake of the 50th anniversary of the Mississippi Summer Project or Freedom Summer, yesterday I was faced with showing my state issued identification to cast my ballot in the primaries. A flood of thoughts rushed my mind – from thoughts of listening to my grandmother speak about paying poll taxes to cast her vote to recalling many of the readings and audio and video images where Blacks and Whites alike stormed Mississippi so that people who looked like me could fully participate in this democratic society. And so, in the spirit of Fannie Lou Hamer, I dressed the part yesterday – put on my finest clothes and with my freedom in my hands (or in my pocket because that is where I keep my identification) – only to arrive at the precinct to be told I could not vote because the poll worker could not verify my residency – “can you show me your bills? Something that let me know you indeed live at this address?” As I recall, the state of Mississippi’s voter identification law is to verify that I am who I say I am – and that I am indeed listed on the books, so what’s the problem? The problem is the voter identification law can lead to voter suppression, can limit a people’s right to fully participate in democracy. Contrary to Fannie Lou Hamer, the law was on my side; he was corrected by an older white female poll worker…

We have indeed come a very long way in a very short period of time – 50 years – and there is still room to grow; still battles to fight, still hills to climb and victories to grab. The potential for voter suppression exists, and still we march, maybe not as before, but we march via social media, spreading the message through Twitter, Facebook, and any other media we can find. We march through the communities with information sessions, community and church meetings, we march, perhaps more behind the scenes, but the key is that we all continue to march toward freedom…