The right to vote is something that was denied many in this country for a long time.
The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1870 prohibited states from denying a male citizen the right to vote based on "race, color or previous condition of servitude." Nevertheless, in the ensuing decades, various discriminatory practices were used to prevent African Americans, particularly those in the South, from exercising their right to vote.
It was not until 95 years later in 1965 that a voting rights bill was passed that targeted and banned these discriminatory voting practices.
Women did not get the right to vote until August 18th, 1920. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote, a right known as women's suffrage which finally ended almost a century of protest.
African American women, however, would not be afforded that right until the 1960's
I mention this, not to dredge up unpleasant memories but to remind us that we should not take for granted the opportunity we have to vote and influence government in our country and our community.
Today in many parts of the world there are still those who are not able to participate in a democratic process by voting their choice. It is a privilege we should not squander or take lightly.
On Tuesday, June 5th, we have an opportunity to exercise this hard-won privilege once again and elect local leaders. I am not here to influence your voting choices but to simply remind you to vote.