I think there are three reasons people need to vote. 

One, it is important to vote to honor the ancestors. All those people that came before us, who fought for our right to vote. People like John Lewis, the congressman who passed away this year. Who said, let’s get in good trouble. John Lewis, who shed his blood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge for our right to vote. John Lewis, who knew this was a matter of civil rights and dignity. John Lewis, who understood that it was also a matter of civil rights and dignity to fight for same sex marriage. John Lewis who also knew it was also a matter of civil rights and dignity to fight for protections for Dreamers and for a pathway to citizenship. 

So, it is important to vote to honor the ancestors. You know this year we celebrated the 19th Amendment, which allowed women to vote. We celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment. All those suffragettes who, 100 years ago, marched and fought for our right to vote. Now, it is important to remember history. Because, it was not until 1965 that Black women could vote. So, we still have work to do. But, it is time to vote to honor the ancestors. That is reason No. 1.

Reason No. 2. Everything is at stake. When this administration has orphaned 545 children because of a policy that has been about separating children from their parents at the border, everything is at stake. When we are looking at the fact that 200,000 of our frontline workers have been Dreamers who were promised DACA protection, everything is at stake. Everything is at stake when we need to create a pathway towards citizenship. Everything is at stake when we talk about equal pay for equal pay for women. Everything is at stake. So that is reason No. 2.

And, then, here is reason No. 3. So, I have been traveling the country and I will tell you, just like here in Texas, there are powerful people around our country that have been making it really difficult for people to vote. They have been passing laws. You know in North Carolina they passed a law that the court that reviewed the law said it was written with surgical precision to prevent Black people in North Carolina from voting. We have seen this around the country where laws have been put in place to make it difficult for people of color, for students, for our Native American brothers and sisters to vote. Laws like here in Texas where they have taken the drop boxes, other places where they are shutting down polling sites, where they are requiring people to fill out two different envelopes so their mail in ballot is going to count. The president who took the debate stage and in front of 70 million Americans openly solicited a suppression of the vote. 

So, we have to ask why are so many powerful people trying to make it so difficult and confusing for us to vote? Why are they, for example, messing with the Post Office. I mean, the Post Office; like the nicest people work for the Post Office. Why are they doing this? And I believe it is because they know our power. They know our power. And we know our power. And we will not let anyone take our power from us. 

And that is the reason that we are all here today.

Editor’s Note: The above commentary was made by Kamala Harris, the Democratic Party’s candidate for vice president of the United States, during a speech at UT-Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, Texas, on Friday, Oct. 30.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows Kamala Harris at a campaign rally at UT-Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, Texas, on Oct. 30, 2020. (Photo credit: UTRGV/Vaquero Radio).

Editor’s Note: The podcast below features Kamala Harris’ speech at UT-Rio Grande Valley and the analysis of Rio Grande Guardian editor Steve Taylor:

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